· The Hot Line - Newsletter
January 2008 Grilled Pizza

 

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 January 2008

 
      

This issue of the Hot Line is all about grilled pizza.  That’s right; pizza cooked outside.  In Canada.  In January.  Dear reader, is there nothing that we are not prepared to do for you?

Pizza is like…well, pizza is like a lot of things.  But for the purposes of this particular discussion, Pizza is like a best friend; it’ll never let you down.  Even when Pizza is bad – it’s good.  It’s tasty, it’s economical, it’s flexible, it’s reasonably portable, it can potentially, allegedly, supposedly be healthy to eat.  It’s the perfect food.  And barbecued pizza is even better because you combine the beauty of pizza with the beauty of the barbecue; sweet smoky taste, reduced clean up and faster cooking.

However, cooking pizza on a barbecue is not as straightforward as a lot of grilling.  You should know a couple of tips and tricks.  So read on, make some notes and get outside to cook your next pizza.

Happy Grilling, Barbecues Galore

 

 

 

   

Pay attention, this one is important:  When you’re cooking pizza outside on a barbecue you need a  ceramic cooking stone.  Ok, you don’t really ‘need’ one.  Not like you ‘need’ oxygen or water or red wine.  You can, after all, get a pizza completely cooked on a barbecue without a cooking stone.  BUT, your pizzas will taste way better with the stone than they will without it.  You see, the stone absorbs a terrific amount of heat and transfers it to the pizza without burning it.  The result is a crust that is evenly baked and uniformly crispy.   Cooking your pizza on a baking sheet or metal pan does not give you the same results.  Trust us on this one – it’s just a better way to cook pizza.  These ceramic pizza stones are available at most cooking stores and, of course, at the galaxy’s premier barbecue stores.  

Make sure that your pizza stone is in the barbecue or oven before you turn the heat on.  You cannot put a cold stone in a warm barbecue as it might crack on you.

Sliding fresh, wet pizza dough onto the pizza stone can be difficult and sticky.  Make sure that you try to slide the pizza quickly off of your cookie sheet or pizza paddle in one swift motion.  Coating the bottom of your pizza with cornmeal will reduce sticking and will also reduce your chances of the bottom of your pizza burning.

  
 

 

 
 
You can make pizza on any barbecue.  The high heat produced by a barbecue is ideal for quickly melting cheese and baking crust.  HOWEVER, a ceramic pizza stone (see above) makes the process easier and the pizza tastier.  For this recipe we used an outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven which are available for purchase at the world’s best barbecue stores.  The pizza oven has a large, rectangular ceramic stone in the middle oven.  The middle oven is completely insulated and provides an ideal, high temperature environment for cooking pizza. We’re assuming that you’re all capable of picking some tasty toppings for your pizza without our help (we like feta cheese, basil and dry pepperoni).  The recipe we use for our pizza shells is as follows: This dough is easiest to make in a food processor. You can, however, make it by hand (there's just a lot of mixing and kneading that way). 3 1/2 cups flour 1 cup warm water (between 95° and 115° F.) 2 T yeast (2 tablespoons, I like my dough a little yeasty. You can use less) 2 T honey 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp. salt Pour in warm water. The water should be about 85 to 115° F. Test it with your hand. It should feel very warm, but comfortable. Add the honey and salt. Mix on low for about 20 seconds. Add the yeast and mix on low for another 5 seconds. Add 1 cup of flour, mix on low for 10 seconds. Add the olive oil and mix until blended (about 15 or 20 seconds more). Add the rest of the flour (and any other additions) and mix on high for about a minute or two. The dough should turn into a ball and roll around the processor. If the dough does not ball up because it's too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts. Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This builds the gluten which helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked. Place the dough in a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise. After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. Show it who the boss is and punch it down. That's right; give it a good smack so it deflates. Let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out. You can punch the dough down one more time if you want and wait another hour or two before rolling out. The choice is yours. You're now ready for the next step: Rolling out the dough!

  Build a fire in the firebox of the oven.  Start with small, dry pieces of wood, let them catch fire and then add the bigger pieces.  Long, thin pieces of wood work the best.  DO NOT use soft woods such as pine and spruce as they will leave your foods with a resiny taste.  Sort of like retsina but without any of retsina’s redeeming qualities.

 

  Allow the unit to heat up.  Look closely at the picture to the right to spot a few “don’ts”.  Firstly, make sure that the damper in the chimney is left in the ‘open’ position.  Whent the damper is closed you get a LOT of smoke coming out the front of the oven.  Also, open the door on the top, secondary oven as it is not sealed and the fire will draft better if there is some air in that oven.  Thirdly, can you see the aluminium pan in the middle oven?  It’s an aluminium pan that is stamped with “Do not leave in oven during use”.  Read that warning.  We didn’t.  The pan warped. The oven will take about half an hour to warm up.  Mind you, we’ve only tried using it when the temperature is firmly below zero.  It will probably heat up a lot faster when the ambient is more comfortable.

  While you’re waiting for the fire to heat up the oven, move back inside and get your pizzas ready.  Start by sprinkling a liberal dose of cornmeal on your work surface.  The cornmeal makes it easier to slide your raw pizza onto the ceramic cooking surface.  It will also help prevent burning.

  Work your pizza shells into a thin circle.

  Add your ingredients.  Too many ingredients will make the pizzas heavy and hard to place on the ceramic cooking surface.

  Top with cheese.

  Have a look outside and make sure that the oven (or bbq) is warm enough.  About 300 - 350 degrees is what you need. Give the ceramic stove some extra time at this temperature to heat all the way through.  The pizza should start cooking as soon as it hits the stone.

  Slide the pizza onto the ceramic cooking surface (that’s the tricky part) and let it cook.  Once the inside of your oven (or barbecue) is up to temperature and the pizza stone is hot, the cooking process happens FAST.  Do NOT go into your house for a few tighteners or to  turn on the Xbox.  Stay with your pizza.

  Remove the pizza when the cheese has melted and the crust is brown.

  Enjoy.  If this isn’t one of the best pizzas you’ve ever had, we’d be truly surprised.
 
 
  

This is Keith Bain.  Keith is the assistant manager at our North Calgary store.  Keith has worked at Barbecues Galore for nine years and is one of the most knowledgeable people we have here.  Ask him a question about barbecues or fireplaces and he’ll likely know the answer. 

Keith is also an expert on eating.  He eats, at last count, about twenty meals per day.  Some people take smoke breaks; Keith takes snack breaks.  They are small meals – of course.  Often, one of those meals will be pizza.  He lists extra cheese, pepperoni and bacon as his favourite toppings – this is not a pizza that is currently on the “Heart Smart” menu at any restaurants we’re familiar with.  He will, if pushed, accept black olives, mushrooms and peppers on his pizza as well.

Keith and his wife Jan are currently cooking their meals on a BeefEater barbecue.  To be completely honest he rarely cooks his pizza on his barbecue – he’s more of a traditionalist and says that his favourite barbecued food is, you guessed it, ‘steak’.

  

 
 

Check this out.  An outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven.  It doesn’t take up too much room, is easy to use, makes the best tasting pizzas we’ve ever had and costs $1,350 which is about a zillion dollars less than an indoor pizza oven. See the recipe above for a few more pictures and photos.  

     ASK DR. MCGRILLEMUP

   Dear Doctor, I’m thinking of getting a new barbecue soon, what’s the best barbecue available? Chad in Toronto Chad, I get this one a lot.  And it seems like a weird question to me.  Would you ask; “What’s the best car available”, or, “What’s the best house I can get”?  Like cars and houses, barbecues are built in different styles for people with different needs.  Some barbecues are built for high heat grilling and some for low, slow roasting.  Some barbecues are built for cooking a wide variety of foods at the same time and some are built with only one controllable heat zone.  Some barbecues are built to look super cool on your deck while others look like they were designed by a bunch of myopic, shut-in engineers after an all night study session for their Fluid Mechanics finals.  So, what might be best for you might not be best for someone else.  In general, we feel that all the brands we sell in our store offer the best value available.  After we help you determine what your particular needs are, we can then tell you what’s “best” for you. Sincerely, The Doctor.     

 

     NEXT ISSUE

 

In February’s issue of The Hot Line we’ll be talking about fireplaces.  Yes, we sell fireplaces.  Lots of them.  And next month we’ll be going over some of the basic information you’ll need to know if you’re thinking about adding a fireplace to your house or updating your existing fireplace.  Plus, we’ll also feature a yummy barbecue recipe as we know that, warm or cold, you still have to eat.

See  you then.

  
 
       THE WORLD OF BARBECUE
  

Send us a picture and/or story of you (or a friend of yours, or an enemy of yours) grilling and we’ll send you a $25 gift certificate usable in any of our four stores.

Since none of you needed a hassle-free $25 sent to your mailbox, we’ve had to dig through our own archives for entertaining barbecue pictures.  The one below is of our good friend Stephen who has worked at our Calgary North location for years.  Steve is a pretty handy dude but even he had to work pretty hard to look after the customer who insisted on getting his big, new barbecue home in his little, old car.  Steve eventually got it to work and the customer got home safe and sound.

  

 
            
 
  

Pizza Prize Pack Prize pack includes a pizza stone and paddle set, thermometer, barbecue sauce, and pizza cutter. Congratulations to this month's winners:

Garett Barker (Calgary South) John Bowron (Calgary North) Patrick Keogh (Burlington) Marlo Drennan (Oakville)

 

Each month names are drawn from those collected at each store and online to win. Claim your prize by stopping by the Barbecues Galore in your area with your photo identification.

  

 

Finally, we want this newsletter thing to be a two-way street. We interrupt your work day with a barbecue missive of miscellany, and you get to call us and have your questions, queries and complaints addressed. Email us at:query@barbecuesgalore.ca Remember, an archive of our past newsletters can be found at www.barbecuesgalore.ca

North Calgary 3505 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, Alberta 403-250-1558 South Calgary 5875 9th Street SE, Calgary, Alberta 403-258-4440 Burlington 482 Guelph Line Burlington, Ontario 905-639-0436 Oakville 490 Speers Road Oakville, Ontario 905-844-3224
 

       
       
 

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