A couple weeks ago we joined Mike Senese (writer, TV host and builder/destroyer in the name of science) at his home to enjoy some fresh wood fired pizza cooked in his DIY outdoor pizza oven.
There’s no better way than to spend an evening prepping, cooking and eating pizza, especially when it’s made to order. We’ve got to hand it to Mike as he did all the prepping and cooking as we just helped with the eating. His specialty is Neapolitan pizza which is literally in his blood as many of his ancestors called Naples, Italy home.
Mike’s obsession with making his own pizza from scratch started with a prototype from the PizzaHacker dubbed the PizzaForge. It’s a half-dome concrete kiln that sits atop a standard 22.5″ Weber grill. Here’s how he set it up to cook the pizzas.
1. Light it up
Just fire up the charcoal until they are hot coals. A charcoal chimney really makes this process easy. Once the coals are nice and hot, spread them evenly around the base of the grill.
2. Ready the grill
Place a metal grate over the coals. Make sure it fits solidly as the pizza stone will sit on top of this grate.
3. Stone in place
Place pizza stone atop grate and try to center it as evenly as possible.
4. Top it off
Then gently place the PizzaForge on top of the grill making sure all edges around the grill are covered.
5. Wood is good
For flavor take wood of your liking and place it inside the PizzaForge around the edges of the pizza stone. You don’t want the wood to sit directly on the coals and you also don’t want wood ash getting on your pizza.
6. Pizza time
Flour the stone and the peel and insert pizza and in 3-5 minutes you’ll have a piping hot pizza ready to eat!
The first two pizzas of the night literally cooked in 2-3 minutes as the stone was so hot and as the night wore on the heat began to radiate evenly throughout the PizzaForge creating a cooking vortex on the pizza stone.
Mike was not only prepared with the DIY pizza oven but he also created his own perforated pizza peel which not only looked professional but performed just as well or better than what you’d buy off the shelf. He’s provided instructions on his website on how he made the pizza peel.
The PizzaForge is currently not in production but hopefully these steps will inspire you to consider an outdoor pizza oven. Check out PizzaHacker for updates as to when the PizzaForge might become available for sale and follow Mike Senese over at his site DOIT for more great projects, not all of them pizza related.