If you’re the owner of a Weber grill, you may already know these are also called kettle grills. You may also know that cooking on these grills is perfect for BBQ and grilled foods, but when it comes to baking a pizza, there are pros and cons.
Now, you can find out what’s the deal with baking pizza on a kettle grill, and how to pull off better results.
Where did it get the name kettle grill?
It’s an interesting story that dates all the way back to the 1950s when George Weber decided to tinker around in his dad’s metal shop that produced fabricated metal products. They carried a type of brazier that was often used to cook barbecued foods but wasn’t very efficient at keeping out moisture when it was stored outside. George Jr. took two halves of steel buoys used for floatation devices at sea and created the first rounded BBQ kettle.
It got the name kettle grill because it slightly resembled a rounded tea kettle, however, the first reactions from George’s neighbors said it resembled the Soviet Sputnik satellite. So George Jr. went back to the drawing board and redesigned the new kettle grill with a smaller and slightly shorter lid cover. After this, it was marketed to a whole new generation that was very keen on the emerging BBQ culture of the 1950s and 60s.
The kettle grill that was marketed by Weber was a huge success and was embraced by another cultural movement called Tiki culture. Most people who were born in 1930 to 1940s were in their prime when this new idealism grew from the BBQ-fueled lifestyle of tropical living and kettle grill culture. The addition of Hawaii as the 50th US state in 1959 was also a huge push in promoting Tiki culture which still thrives to this day.
When did pizza start being cooked on a kettle grill?
Long before KettlePizza had introduced their add-on pizza grill insert for the Weber kettle grill in 2010, most people were using the Weber grill with a pizza stone that sat above the charcoal and wood. It seems that as far back the very first mention that people were first cooking pizzas on a Weber kettle grill was in 2005. It’s hard to imagine that this concept was also a very new idea as early as 2001. People have developed their own hacks to recreate KettlePizza’s method of perfecting kettle grilled pizza.
Most people at that time were using aluminum foil over their grill rather than using a baking stone. It was haphazard and often too hot for the pizza dough. Most results would make the dough burn and some results were simply terrible. Certainly, the public interest had begun to peak in 2008, which is when the KettlePizza add-on grill insert started. The inventor: Al Contarino started selling this innovation on E-bay and since then gained a lot of commercial success.
This pizza oven insert has helped to give better results for those who already own a kettle grill but there are still some bugs that most grill owners already are facing. The problem is with the addition of hotter burning coals or wood will create cooking problems for any pizza that’s inside a kettle grill. There is another potential problem that many kettle owners are experiencing if they’re using ceramic or stones.
Why pizza stones are a big disappointment?
Whenever you use a pizza stone in your home oven, the results are very impressive. This is because the average temperature of a home oven rarely exceeds 550 degrees. Your home oven is also inside a room where the temperature differences aren’t going to be a concern. Taking out a pizza from a kitchen oven is a straightforward approach and opening the door to a kitchen oven radiates heat out the front, so there is very little incoming air as a result.
With an outdoor kettle grill, the temperature shock can easily crack pizza stones instantly, which is what often happens. At least with the KettlePizza insert, there is a small slot where your pizza can be taken out. Just like a backyard pizza oven, the rounded dome helps to circulate heat, but the biggest problem is the heat that resides in the dome. Then again, another great tip is to choose the right kind of pizza stone that will resist cracking from sudden temperature changes.
To get around this, it’s best to stick with Cordierite pizza stones that are highly resistant to high temperatures and thermal shock. If you have a standard Weber grill that you’re using as a pizza grill, then you’ll want to include one of these stones. There are also Thermarite stones that can also be considered. Both are ideal choices if you want to cook a pizza on your kettle grill.