Kamado Joe "MoJoe" Newscast September 2012   

Kamado Joe Company
4034 Enterprise Way
Flowery Branch, GA 30542
(877) 215-6299


A Guide to the Perfect Pizza

Making authentic wood-fired pizza

The pizza we all know and enjoy today originated in Naples, Italy during the 16th century. Bakers used wood-fired stone ovens to bake pizzas at up to 1,000°F. It's no wonder that the word pizza comes from the Italian word "pizzicare" meaning "to pluck" referring to how quickly pizzas needed to be removed from the oven due to the heat.

The latest trend in pizza restaurants is to go back to pizza's roots by baking on stone surfaces in wood-fired ovens. Fortunately, you can get that same authentic taste at home on your Kamado Joe. A few simple tools and this step-by-step guide will get you on your way to becoming a master pizza chef.

Tools Needed

1. Pizza Stone/Heat Deflector
For the purpose of this article a Kamado Joe ClassicJoe was used with the Pizza Stone and Heat Deflector. Do not use the heat deflector without a pizza stone or the pizza bottom will burn. I have used third party stones, however, I do not get the same results. It may be due to the varying thicknesses and materials of the stones.

2. Pizza Peel
There are hundreds of pizza peels available in a variety of materials, sizes and configurations. For two reasons, my preference is a wooden 12" wide peel with a short handle. First, the pizza stone is 15" in diameter, so a 12" peel is ideal for sizing the pizza. You want to keep the sides of the crust away from the edge of stone to prevent burning. Second, wood is more rigid than aluminum or stainless steel peels, which is important when you are transferring the raw pizza onto the pizza stone.
3. Parchment Paper
The trickiest part of baking pizza is transferring it onto the pizza stone. Even with generous amounts of corn meal on the pizza peel, the raw pizza is difficult to move and the pizza often gets deformed in the transfer. Using parchment paper eliminates that problem. Parchment paper is available in white and unbleached versions if you are concerned about chemicals in the white version. Finally, paper burns at 450°F, but the method used in the instructions below prevents the possibility of burning or igniting the paper.
4. Corn Meal
Corn meal works like wheels under the raw pizza when it's time to move it off the pizza peel and onto the pizza stone. Some people do not like the grittiness of coarse corn meal, but most of it stays on the pizza stone. To avoid this, just use a polenta grind corn meal which is a fine grade, and it still offers the same transfer benefit.
5. Common Kitchen Items
Rolling pin, rubber spatula, flat-edged wooden spatula and kitchen tongs.
Recipe: Pizza Margherita
A timeless old world recipe.

The Margherita pizza was invented in 1889 when a local baker in Naples, Italy made three varieties of pizza for King Umberto and Queen Margherita. Her favorite was the one that represented the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella) and green (basil leaves). It was named in her honor and became known as "Pizza Margherita". Pizza purists consider it to be one of the only two "true pizza" recipes.

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Baking Time: 7 minutes

1 ball raw dough (available at grocery stores)
1 can pizza sauce
2 cups or 8 oz mozzarella slices
1 bunch fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced)
Loose flour
Corn meal

Step-by-step Instructions
1. Remove the raw dough from refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature (about 90 min).
2. Light grill, wait 5-7 minutes, then insert the heat deflector and pizza stone and close the dome with the top vent and draft door fully open. Heat the grill to 500°F. The pizza stone and heat deflector plates will heat up in correlation to the rise in temperature. There is no need to allow extra heating time after reaching the target temperature.
3. Sprinkle loose flour on a cutting board or kitchen counter and over the dough ball. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin until the dough is an even thickness and shape it into a 12" circle. You can place some corn meal on the pizza peel for shaping and sizing the dough. Build the pizza on the peel if you are not using parchment paper, and skip to step 5.
4. Use a sheet of parchment paper larger than the flattened dough and sprinkle with corn meal. Place the dough on the paper and use a scissors to trim off the excess paper within 1/2" of the edge of the dough, leaving one area as a "tongue" for removing the paper with tongs during baking (see step 7 photo).
5. Use a rubber spatula to spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the dough. Coarsely tear 3 basil leaves into about 9-12 pieces and distribute them evenly on the sauce.
6. Evenly spread shredded mozzarella on top of the sauce. If you are using slices (my preference), cut 6-7 slices in half and evenly cover the sauce. You do not have to cover every area of the sauce.
7. Place pizza on the stone (baking time: 7 min).

(Option 1) Parchment Paper Method
A. Use the tongue to pull the pizza onto the pizza peel. Gently push the pizza with the parchment paper under it onto the pizza stone.

B. Bake the pizza for 2 minutes, then use a pair of tongs to lift and grab the tongue area of the parchment paper and gently pull it out from under the pizza.

C. Bake the pizza for an additional 3 minutes, then coarsely tear 3 basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the pizza and close the dome.

D. Bake an additional 2 minutes and remove from the grill by sliding the pizza peel underneath it.

E. Let stand for 2 minutes, slice and serve with minced garlic.
(Option 2) Standard Method
A. Gently push the pizza onto the pizza stone using a flat-edged wooden spatula and by mildly shaking the pizza peel up and down to help transfer it onto the pizza stone.

B. Bake the pizza for 5 minutes, then coarsely tear 3 basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the pizza and close the dome.

C. Bake an additional 2 minutes and remove from the grill by sliding the pizza peel underneath it.

D. Let stand for 2 minutes, slice and serve with minced garlic.

Tips on Adding Other Toppings
There are a couple of things to consider when making pizza at home. First, you will have a tendency to add higher amounts of toppings than those found on restaurant-style pizza. That's OK, but be aware that is will lengthen the cooking time by a few minutes, and it will be more difficult to transfer the raw pizza from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. The parchment paper method is highly recommended for "loaded pizzas".

Second, restaurant-style pizzas are baked for a longer period of time, so raw vegetables have time to cook thoroughly. For high water content toppings it is best to sauté them before being added to the raw pizza, so most of the water is removed. Examples of vegetables that need to be sautéed and include: onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and zucchini.

Making Pizza from Scratch
Become a true pizza chef.

If cooking is more of an adventure than a chore for you, the satisfaction of making your own dough and sauce awaits you.

Dough Ingredients

1/2 cup warm water (110°F)
1 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
   (keep 1/2 cup to side for dusting/kneading)
1 tbsp olive oil

Dough Instructions
1. Place the yeast and water in a large measuring cup, stir and let stand for 5 minutes to should foam up.

2. Blend 1 cup flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp olive oil and the yeast mixture. Stir until thoroughly blended. Gradually stir in the remaining flour until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the mixing bowl. You may not need to use all of the remaining flour for this to occur.

3. Sprinkle flour on the area for kneading. Remove the dough and knead about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

4. Sprinkle the dough all over with flour and place it in a clean dry mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a small towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size (about 90 minutes).

Sauce Ingredients
12 large ripe red tomatoes (seeded)
6 cloves garlic
1 onion (quartered)
1 cup fresh basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Sauce Instructions
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Place tomatoes, garlic and onion in a casserole dish and brush the ingredients with olive oil.

3. Bake covered for 1 hour.

4. Remove tomato skins. Place ingredients with fresh basil in a blender and mix thoroughly.

5. Place ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer until the mixture is reduced to the desired thickness.
    Add salt to taste.

6. Allow to cool, then use as sauce for your favorite pizza. Freeze any extra sauce for future use.
Get Creative with Pizza Toppings
Over 100 toppings to choose from.

Pepperoni, mozzarella, onions and mushrooms are just four to the top 10 toppings for pizza, but you don't have to stop there. Pizza is the top food item when it comes to restaurant fare, and one reason is that you can create an unlimited amount of toppings combinations.

Check out the list of the toppings below for some inspiration the next time you make a pizza.

Alfalfa Sprouts
Artichoke hearts Avocado
Baby leeks
Black Beans
Cherry tomatoes
Dried tomatoes Eggplant
Green peppers
lamata olives
Porcini mushrooms Portobellos
Red beans
Red onions

Red peppers
Roasted cauliflower
Roasted eggplant
Roasted garlic
Snow peas
Sun dried tomatoes
Sweet corn
Yellow peppers
Yellow squash

Blue Cheese
Goat Cheese Gorgonzola
Monterey Jack
Port de Salut

- Hamburger
- Steak
- Skirt steak
Pine Nuts

Herbs & Spices
Bay Leaf
Jalapeno peppers

Learn more about us and our products online at  KamadoJoe.com >
©2012 Kamado Joe Company. All Rights Reserved.