Making Pizza has become my new addiction, I mean obsession. (Is an obsession better than an addiction?) I want to do it all the time. At work, I am plotting my next pizza making adventure. Before I go to sleep, I put some random ingredients into my mind so I can work on crazy new combinations in my dreams.
It started off as something I did every now and then. I only did it on special occasions. I guess you could say I was a “casual” pizza maker. I mean I liked making pizza – I just didn’t feel the need to do it all the time!
Then something changed. Something that would change my life forever. I started using pizza making paraphernalia. It totally changed my pizza making experience. It didn’t take too long before I was using all the time. Aaaaand by using, I mean making pizza all the time!
When we were unpacking our stuff into our new digs at McBoxHage Manor I found a unopened box with what looked like a tasty pizza being shoved into a weird looking box. “What the hell is this?”, I said to myself. At first glance, I thought – this looks stupid, why in the hell would you cook a pizza in a box on a grill outside? Apparently, I like to talk to myself and say hell alot.
I asked the husband aka “Monkey” (don’t ask) why there was an unopened kitchen gadget in the house that I didn’t know about? What was it?
He explained that the Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box is a magical device that you put on your grill to make delicious pizza just like you can get in a fancy schmancy pizzeria in New York City! New York City? Yes, New York City!! – he exclaimed. Whooooaa… duude! – muh’ mind is blown!
My struggle with making pizza had began in my childhood. As an adult, I could never get the crust crispy without compromising the toppings. (that means I they would get a little too crispy)
Sammy the “Monkey” explained the in’s and out’s of how it worked. I picked up the package and gazed at the wondrous contraption. Could this be the answer to my pizza woes?
It was December when I found the Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box. Umm, why hadn’t he given this to me yet? Turns out that he had bought the Bakerstone Pizza Oven for my birthday the previous year and was just too lazy to take it back!
My first thought was – This isn’t my birthday present for next year?! Haha.
The problem he ran into was our grill at the time wasn’t big enough to power the Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box. You need at least a 3 burner grill to make the magic happen. Luckily, we had recently bought a big ass 6 burner grill for our new house!
Moving is super crazy and things get lost in the mix sometimes. I sat the box down – it got shuffled around until it ended up in the pool house in a closet. I totally forgot all about it for several months. I found it (again) in April. It stared at me with loving patient eyes – I knew I had to use it.
I carefully opened the box to unveil a bunch of pieces that needed assembly. Ugh! I thought it would take me forever to put together! It didn’t. Actually, it assembled rather easily. The instructions warn of how fragile the stone is. It didn’t seem that fragile to me. I was careful – I didn’t want to break it!
OK! Now it’s pizza time! Woot woot!!
I settled on using a ready mix crust awhile back. I know, I know – true pizza enthusiasts roll their eyes and laugh at my feeble pizza making attempts!! I don’t care – I like the ready mix Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix. It’s pretty easy to use. Dump the ingredients into a bowl and add 1/2 cup of warm water. Let it set for 5-10 minutes in a covered bowl. Roll it out.
I will be posting some tips on how to do this. It does take a little finesse for it to turn out right.
I pre-bake (par bake) my crust for about 5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. I like to do this so the crust sets a little so I can easily add the toppings. I bought a set of 12″ restaurant quality pizza pans so I could use them to build the pizza and slice it after it cooks on in the Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box.
I have a very powerful 6 burner grill. It heats up super fast. I recommend having a grill that has at least 3 burners. The instructions tell you not to put the lid of the grill down. I am sure that there is a good reason for this – like melting the thermostat on the top of the pizza oven. I only do this to heat it up. So, if you choose to break this rule – stay close! I never leave mine alone. I keep myself entertained drinking wine.
It takes my grill about 10 minutes to heat up the pizza oven. I have read that it can take longer depending upon your grill. Keep an extra propane tank on hand – you will use propane faster than usual because of the high heat. The last thing you want to do is run out of propane in the middle of pizza making!! (I recently converted my propane grill to natural gas because I use this thing so much)
The top of the Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box has a handy thermostat that will let you know when it is hot enough to bake your pizza. It is pretty self explanatory – when the dial hits the little fire icon it’s time for pizza! Be careful and don’t touch the box when cooking. That thing will burn the holy living crap out of your hand.
On my first adventure using the pizza grill I didn’t have a few necessary things that will make your experience a lot better! The first is a pizza peel. You absolutely have to have this in order to use the pizza grill. It is nearly impossible to get in and just as complicated to get out. Don’t get me wrong, you can do it – it just isn’t pretty. A good portion of my pizza toppings ended up in the back of the pizza box on my maiden pizza making voyage.
Another tip – lightly dust your pizza peel with a little bit of corn meal. This helps the pizza slide off the pizza peel a lot easier.
The second thing (not as essential) is a “Pizza Turner“. No this isn’t Tina’s half sister. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Pizza Turner! Basically, it helps you rotate the pizza as it is cooking. Yes, it does make a difference to rotate your pizza. I didn’t do it the first time out and the pizza was more cooked in the back area than it was in the front where the opening is. You can use tongs – it’s just much harder because the tongs have a tendency to tear the crust.
I cooked my pizza’s for 5-7 minutes. I have to be honest – I timed them. I was drinking wine and socializing at the same time I was cooking the pizza’s. 5 minutes goes by super fast! The last thing you want to do is burn your pizza after all that hard work!
Remove your pizza with your pizza peel. Let the pizza set for a couple minutes before cutting it. If you don’t, your toppings are going to stick and pull away from the pizza as you cut it. Don’t ruin the dang pizza you just spent all that time on! Presentation is also important.
Now for the best part – eating the pizza. Yum!
My first time using Bakerstone Pizza Oven Box was so much fun that I made pizza again the very next day. It took me a couple times to master the little details. After 3 months of use I can make pizza like a boss!
This little device has been on my favorite toys in a long time. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!! I now make pizza every other Friday night for friends. The word has gotten out. There is a waiting list for Friday Pizza Night at McBoxHage Manor. Don’t call us – we’ll call you.