Pizza Cooking On The Big Green Egg

Pizza On the BGE – with PlateSetter (conveggtor) and Pizza Stone

We’ve made the crust dough and the sauce so now it’s time to make a Pizza Pie. In this post we will look at how to set up a Big Green Egg to cook the pie. Actually, I’ll tell you about two methods of setup that will turn your BGE into a perfect oven not just for pizza but other baked goods as well.

The Pleasant Lady and I are really pretty basic with our pies – we like lots of cheese, ground beef & sausage, onions, green peppers and pepperoni. Now you feel free to get as creative as you like with toppings for your pies – I’ll try to not get angry that you’ve messed it up something awful.

The PlateSetter & Pizza Stone Method

Gather your ingredients and have fun creating pizza to bake in your BGE or oven.

Gather your ingredients and have fun creating pizza to bake in your BGE or oven.

First, set your dough puck out to come to room temperature. It can sit in it’s plastic for several ours – especially if it started frozen. Then let’s look at how the set up the BGE.   Build your fire and light the lump in 3 or 4 places and let it get going.   I then insert my PlateSetter (now known as a Conveggtor) with it’s legs down – I know that’s backwards but trust me it works turned this way too.   I then use 4 copper plumbing tees (1/2 inch) as spacers between the PlateSetter and my pizza stone. Put it all together, close the lid and adjust for a 450° dome temp. Let everything get hot all the way through. Besides, you’ve got to go construct the pie anyway!

I use 4 copper plumbing Tees to create a space between the platesetter and the pizza stone.

I use 4 copper plumbing Tees to create a space between the platesetter and the pizza stone.

The copper Tees will create a slight air space between the PlateSetter and the stone for a more even and indirect heat.

The copper Tees will create a slight air space between the PlateSetter and the stone for a more even and indirect heat.

The Pleasant Lady and I are really pretty basic with our pies – we like lots of cheese, ground beef & sausage, onions, green peppers and pepperoni. Now you feel free to get as creative as you like with toppings for your pies – I’ll try to not get angry that you’ve messed it up something awful.

Our well-stocked freezer (a cousin to Natalie Dupree’s well-stocked pantry) always contains a zipper plastic bag with a 50/50 mix of Italian sausage and ground beef. We brown them together in a large pan, let it cool and then freeze it. It will break apart easily and we can pull as much as needed as we desire. (side note: this meat is great sprinkled on Mex chips with queso cheese and nuked in the micro-zap for a quick warm lunch)

We brown together our Italian Sausage and Ground Beef. This stores great in zipper plastic bags in the freezer.

We brown together our Italian Sausage and Ground Beef. This stores great in zipper plastic bags in the freezer.

Crust time!!! First you need to put that stinking rolling pin back in the cabinet – there’s no need for that foolishness here. Sprinkle some flour rather liberally onto your counter or smooth work surface and then put your dough puck on the flour turn it a few time and dust it with flour too. Then start pressing in the middle to spread the puck out into a flat & round piece.   If it’s been at room temperature for a while this will be easy. Your can then begin pulling lightly to stretch the dough out into a larger piece. Your pizza stone will determine the size circle of dough you create – just because you have a honking-big pan don’t go making your pie any bigger than your stone.   Well, make it as big as you want if you really like char-black edges on your pizza crust – but that will usually make you angry.

Begin by pressing out the dough puck to make it larger. No need for a rolling pin - just use your hands. If you are brave and have someone else to clean up the flour mess then try tossing & spinning the dough.

Begin by pressing out the dough puck to make it larger. No need for a rolling pin – just use your hands. If you are brave and have someone else to clean up the flour mess then try tossing & spinning the dough.

This crust should stretch out easily once you have flattened it a bit by pressing. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to you work surface.

This crust should stretch out easily once you have flattened it a bit by pressing. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to you work surface.

Holy-moly – you need a pizza pan with holes in it. There are several brands out there but air-bake makes a great one and we have several. Grease that pup well before you put the dough on the pan – I spray with cooking spray. (oh, those holes let the spray go through so be careful again or this can really make one big oily mess)

Use a pan with lots of holes in it. Be careful when spraying it with cooking oil.

Use a pan with lots of holes in it. Be careful when spraying it with cooking oil.

Construction time!!!   I put 3 large cooking spoons of sauce on the dough and spread it around. Since I like cheese and goodies more than a crusty edge I spread it out close the edge – but if you want lots of crust exposed then just leave it bare naked on the edges.

Remember that your crust size is determined by the size of your pizza stone and not by the size of your pan.

Remember that your crust size is determined by the size of your pizza stone and not by the size of your pan.

Pepperoni hints:   The Pleasant Lady and I do two unusualy things with our pepperonis that you might want to consider. First, we usually pre-cook them a bit to render a lot of the fat from them. A few minutes in a 450° oven will cook out an amazing amount of fat that won’t be in your pie. We hate to see veggies swimming in pools of sausage grease…   Then we put the pepperoni directly on the tomato sauce below the cheese.   The cooked peps can get dry and this really keeps them moist. Plus it provides a lot of uninterrupted space for pepperoni.

Precooked pepperonis resting on the sauce on our pizza. We like to hide these way down in the pie.

Precooked pepperonis resting on the sauce on our pizza. We like to hide these way down in the pie.

Arrange your toppings as you like - sometimes we want a lot and other times we add only a little.

Arrange your toppings as you like – sometimes we want a lot and other times we add only a little.

I then put on a good layer of fresh grated whole milk mozzarella cheese. Really, use good cheese – you will thank yourself.   Then its all our other goodies: the sausage/beef mix, onions, green peppers and a couple of pepperonis for decoration. Now then, whip out the grater and top that pup with a layer of fresh Parmesan cheese. Now it’s time to bake.

Use a micro-grater and fresh Parmesan cheese to finish off the entire pie.

Use a micro-grater and fresh Parmesan cheese to finish off the entire pie.

Pizza ready to bake. Our pepperonis are mostly hidden down inside the pie.

Pizza ready to bake. Our pepperonis are mostly hidden down inside the pie.

Yes, I have one of those fancy peels in the cabinet – and there it stays unless I want to pull it out so I look super impressive for guests.   Just put the holy pizza pan directly on the hot pizza stone and close the BGE. After about 5 minutes open up and turn the pan 90 degrees – use good grilling gloves or you will be more than angry.   Give that another 3 minute or so and then you will want to slide the pie off the pan and directly onto the stone. You may need to use a spatula to loosen the pie and push but it will slide right onto the stone. Remember making the pie the same size as the stone – here’s where that counts.   Trust me here – you will be beyond angry if you made it too big, bigger is not always better!

Allow the crust to begin baking by placing the holy pan directly on the hot pizza stone.

Allow the crust to begin baking by placing the holy pan directly on the hot pizza stone.

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Here I’m sliding a pizza onto the stone at the GA Mountain Eggfest. A spatula helps!

Bake another 10+ minutes until the pie is picture perfect.   Use the spatula and lift an edge of the pie and slide it back onto the pan (or that fancy-smancy peel) to remove it from the stone.   Cut it up and serve with the cool beverage of your choice.   Mine was red wine until the doctor said “no” – now that made me angry!!!

Enjoy!!!

BGE with TurboStream Method

My friend Charles Roberts makes a BGE accessory called TurboStream that offers two special designed stainless plates that cover the fire/lump to create an amazingly even heat circulating through the BGE. It’s called the AirFlow Diffuser Plates.  There’s a ring that goes down between the fire ring and the the firebox to hold these plates (and other accessories) and once the fire is going you use the ash tool to lock these plates into position. I’m a baker and I’ve really enjoyed this accessory that really makes a nice baking oven of the BGE. Check them out at www.turbostream.net when you get a chance.

Rather than using the PlateSetter to hold the pizza stone we use the grill grate that came with the BGE.   The even heat from the TurboStream eliminates the need for the spacer Tees as well.   Here’s another look at how to cook:

Here is the TurboStream AirFlow Diffuser Plates in place after the lump has been going a while. They just slip into the Component Ring that is a part of the TS System. Do take a look at them online.

The TurboStream Diffuser Plates in place for indirect cooking in the BGE.

The TurboStream Diffuser Plates in place for indirect cooking in the BGE.

Build yourself a great looking pie with all your favorite toppings.   Again, this is my Whole Wheat Crust recipe in use here.

One great thing about pizza is that there are no wrong toppings - use what you really like.

One great thing about pizza is that there are no wrong toppings – use what you really like.

Don’t forget that fresh grated Parmesan cheese.   Cover that baby in it and you will never bake a pizza again without that cheese. I’ve pulled them back out of the BGE when I’ve realized I had forgotten it.

Oh my, don't forget the fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

Oh my, don’t forget the fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

Center your pie and holy pan on top of the hot pizza stone. Remember to give your stone plenty of time to get hot in the BGE.

Center your pie and holy pan on top of the hot pizza stone. Remember to give your stone plenty of time to get hot in the BGE.

Just like above, we are starting the pizza on the most holy Airbake pan placed directly on the stone.   Our BGE is at a dome temp of 450°.   Once the crust has set there’s no worry about it sticking to the stone so forget that parchment or loads of cornmeal tossed onto the stone.

Always use good cooking gloves to handle the hot pizza pan. A spatula under the edge along with a gentle push will slide the pie off the pan and onto the pizza stone.

Always use good cooking gloves to handle the hot pizza pan. A spatula under the edge along with a gentle push will slide the pie off the pan and onto the pizza stone.

You’ll get better with practice at sliding the pie onto the stone. If it isn’t ready to slide give it a few more minutes on the pan then try again. Remember that a little encouragement with a spatula is always good! The pie should retain it’s shape here – if it wants to tear or rearrange then you need to cook more.

Retrieve the pie when it’s picture perfect and serve it up to your adoring fans!

Another finished Pizza ready to be sliced and served.

Another finished Pizza ready to be sliced and served.

No BGE or other wood-fired cooker?

Well, you can still use this technique in the oven at home – you’ll just miss that bit of smoke infused flavor of a wood-fire pizza.   Heat your oven to 450 and let the stone get hot before you start to cook.

Enjoy!   Pizza making has always been a fun, family activity at our house and I hope this will be the case for you as well. Let me know if you use the crust or the technique. It will make me so angry if you don’t………….

Glenn

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2 Responses to "Pizza Cooking On The Big Green Egg"

  1. Robin Moreman says:

    You make the best pizza, hope you will experiment with a gluten free crust in the near future.
    Still haven’t purchased the BGE but we’ll definitely need the TSADP gadget when we do. Is this available through BGE or privately?

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