Pizza Stone in Gas Grill - What's the trick?
I decided to try making pizza in my new Napoleon gas grill to take advantage of the ultra high heat. I put the stone in the infrared side (I have the Gemini), preheated for 1/2 an hour, and tried a pizza. Slid it in, closed the lid. Well, the bottom crust burned charcoal black within 2 minutes, with the top of the dough still somewhat raw.
I figured the infrared was simply putting out too much heat too close to the stone, and not diffusing enough around the chamber. So, I next tried putting the stone in the tube burner side of the grill. This time, cranked all 3 burners to high, put the stone in, closed the lid, and preheated for an hour. Slid in the pizza. Not quite the disaster the infrared side was, but still the bottom crust was getting too charry before the top cooked (and I LIKE a few char spots).
So, what's the trick? I can't imagine it's lowering the temp -- that puts me right back to indoor oven temperatures. What about cranking on 2 burners, positioning the stone over the third for more indirect heat? or cranking all 3 to get the temp up, but killing the heat over the stone when I actually slide in the pizza)?
Before I try these alternatives (and waste some more beautiful Mozzarella, sopressata, fresh basil, etc...), has anyone got this down?
You're not getting enough reflected / convected heat on the top of the pizza. Your grill's lid is much too high above the grate surface to do that job effectively.
So improvise a low lid that fits over your pizza. Try an inverted aluminum turkey roasting pan. Or invert a terra cotta drain pan, the kind that you put under your flower pots to catch the runoff. Obviously, hot terra cotta will be tricky to handle without welding gloves or something like it.
Any reason you need to use the stone? I cook pizza all the time on my gas grill with no pizza stone, works perfectly. I think I actually enjoy it better than in my oven.
oil the grill and set to medium heat. throw the dough on, it should take about 2-5 minutes for the first side of the dough to cook enough to be flipped and hold its shape. then throw on the toppings (tomato sauce, cheese, etc) and let it finish cooking.
I'd almost bet that the stone is acting like a big heat sink and sucking most of the heat that your grill is putting out. Do you have an infrared thermometer or does your stone have a thermometer attached to it. I'd be really interested to see what kind of temperature it's putting out. I can put a precooked pizza crust pizza on my charcoal grill with a cooking chamber temperature of over 600 degrees and let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes and not have it burn sitting on just the grate exposed to the fire.
The stone will get hotter than your external thermometer will display. Buy a little oven thermometer and place it on your stone. My best results occur when stone temp is about 700 degrees f. I back off my infared to below medium and need about 21/2 minutes to bake a tasty pie