I've been making pizza at home for years. I've always thought you need a pizza or wood fire oven at home - no way around it. I've read all the advice/methods I could find on the Internet. The outer crust usually is very good but the pizza has to cook so long the cheese completely breaks down boiling into a liquid mess, sometimes leaving the middle pizza crust soggy. The whole pizza winds up drying out and it’s just unbalanced.
I finally figured it out. I discovered how to replicate a pizza/wood oven. You will need an oven, a grill and 2 pizza stones
1) Using some tin cans or balls of tinfoil, raise the pizza stone a few inches off the grill.
2) Heat both the oven (with the other stone) and your grill up for an hour on their highest settings (yes, it's a lot of power / fuel but think about a pizza or wood fire oven - these may go for 2 hours or more before they're used).
3) Bake the pizza in the oven for 3-5 minutes. You'll have to experiment with this timing.
4) Turn the grill burners off 1-2 minutes before the pizza is done in the oven.
5) Take the pizza out with your metal peel and transfer to the stone on the BBQ for another 2-3 minutes, leaving the hood open.
You wind-up getting the pizza cooked just enough on top and getting the char on the crust without over-baking the whole thing. You should be able to successfully use fresh mozzarella this way.
- I followed Jeff Varasano’s recipe. Getting the ferment started and making the dough days ahead of time is a little extra work but I really think combined with this cooking method it’s as good as any restaurant. -
…The last thing to conquer is the cold smoker process (I have one attached to my grill). I think if you reversed the method, that is, started the pizza on the grill with the burners off for a few minutes and then closed the grill with the smoker going, you could finish the pizza in the oven, cooking it a minute or two less than you would have. I’m going to try this the next time..