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Putting pizza stone on charcoal grill

There are tons of recipes for grilled pizza, but they almost all suggest putting the pizza directly on the grill, usually after prebaking it to firm it up a little. Is there any reason not to use my pizza stone in the grill? My thought is that if I get enough charcoal in there I can fire that baby up way past any temp I could get in my electric oven. The grill owner's manual warns against getting the temp too high as they claim it'll wear out the bottom of the grill faster, but it's not as if it's going to eat right through it all at once like acid, so why not? If it means I have to buy a new grill next spring, OK.
The only other concern I can think of is that it may get so hot that I won't have any idea what the temp is inside the grill - the built-in themometer only goes up to 500F - but as long as I keep an eye on the pizza, so what? Thoughts? Anybody tried this?

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  1. There's a discussion of this topic about halfway down this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532454

    1. jfood does not think it would be an issue. Some people leave them on the floor of their ovens and when heating that gets really hot.

      If there is a concern, elevate the pizza stone on some bricks, and if there is a concern with regular bricks, use the fireplace bricks.

      Jfood uses a baking sheet on two bricks on the grill. He is too lazy to go buy a new stone since his cracked.

      1. Unfortunately yes. The stone broke :( I even heated it up in the oven and then put it on the grill and gradually added more coals to increase the temp. No luck. If you try it and it works, let me know how you did it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: krisrishere

          6 years and oven and grill no problem. I just put it on and let it heat up. never had an issue.

        2. I've been grilling pizza frequently with a stone. No problem with the grill yet, but I'm with you- if I have to buy a new grill that's OK. My biggest challenge has been sliding the uncooked pizza on to the pre-heated stone, and I use a paddle. It was more manageable when I cut it into quarters, but not as much fun to present to enthusiastic guests. Yes, just keep an eye on it and it's great!

          19 Replies
          1. re: chrystiescott

            Try putting parchment/baking paper underneath the pizza when you're "dressing" it. Cut the corners off so the paper is pretty much the size of your stone. You can then slide it right on and off the pizza peel.

            1. re: amini1

              If I read christy correctly, the problem it not getting the pizza onto the paddle, it's getting it from the paddle onto the hot stone. You only have one shot, there's no room for error and you can't use your hands because of the heat. At least that's been my problem in the past. It's much easier in a commercial oven because you just need to get it in there somewhere and can then move it around. With a stone it has to hit dead center.

              1. re: BobB

                After my last pizza catastrophe (did you know it only takes a drop or two of sauce to make a crust stick to a peel like a limpet to a rock?) I've had my eye on this baby:

                http://www.superpeel.com/

                Check out the videos. If it works as advertised, I may be able to serve pizzas that are actually round.

                  1. re: BobB

                    I've been talking this up since buying one over 2 years ago. I especially like the fact that there is NO mess in the oven from corn meal or whatever one uses to make the pie slide. Plus, I hate that crap cooked to the bottom of the crust. It works exactly as advertised and you can place the pie right where you want it. Now, prepare for the naysayer purists.

                    1. re: grampart

                      Hey, it's a tool, not an ingredient, so any naysaying will come not from purists but from Luddites!

                      1. re: grampart

                        I have one too. It's great, and great for moving fruit pie dough.

                  2. re: BobB

                    the corn meal on the paddle and the bottom of the crust makes it easy to slide off. No problem. Just a little shake and it slides right off. Never had a problem with mine. I do it a lot.

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      I think that the cornmeal ruins the crust.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        I agree with you flourgirl re the corn meal. I use whole wheat flour to dust my peel. It seems to provide the slide without changing the flavor.

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          I love the flavor of corn and cornmeal, but not on pizza. Has no place there in any styles that I make.

                          1. re: flourgirl

                            You can accomplish the same thing and avoid the cornmeal flavor by using grains of semolina.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              I just use parchment paper - but thanks.

                              1. re: flourgirl

                                I hate cornmeal on pizza too. I use the superpeel. Sticking is not an issue.

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    I keep intending to remember to ask for one of those for a birthday or Christmas or - wait, Fathers' Day is coming up!!!

                                  2. re: sbp

                                    I have a superpeel, too. But I don't like getting tomatoes on it - I'm not that careful.

                                    My peels slide the dough off easily anymore. They must have been used enough over the years so that the flour has sunk into the wood, thereby they don't stick anymore with just plain a-p flour or bread flour.

                                  3. re: flourgirl

                                    I have yet to master sliding it off the paddle without disrupting all the toppings, even if I use cornmeal!

                        2. re: chrystiescott

                          all you need is a little bit of cornmeal spread on the bottom of your paddle,or pizza peel. the dough will "roll" right off no problem

                        3. The stone might crack, though I would hazard that if you wouldn't getting a new grill you may not mind getting a new stone if it comes to that.

                          The real reason I would suggest not using a stone is....I love getting the crust a little charred on the bottom.

                          1. The pizza stone works great on the grill - IF it can tolerate the temperatures involved. Charcoal burns at around 2000F, so make sure you have a stone that can stand the heat. Also, put the stone on the grill as it heats up - the thermal shock of going from room temp to very hot can cause cracking.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              My stone must not have been able to handle that much heat. How would I know that when using another stone?

                              1. re: krisrishere

                                Some have temperature ratings. Mine doesn't, but it's never given me trouble. It's made by Best Manufacturers, FWIW.

                            2. My stone cracked, too; don't know if it just got too hot, or if I heated it up too fast, or what. I think I'd made a couple pizzas on it on the grill successfully before the stone split in two, and they were fine, but since then I've been doing it directly on the grate. And I like it better directly on the grate, now; the crust absorbs more smoky flavor, and it's easier to get a nice char on the bottom. Just tastes better to me.

                              1. Can you use a pizza stone on a grill? Yes, absolutely.

                                Should you use a pizza stone on a grill? No. At least not in my opinion.

                                Part of the appeal of grilling a pizza is to have the crust take on a nice char, and some of the smoky flavor from the charcoal. Using a stone sort of defeats this purpose IMO.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  ipsedixit wrote:
                                  "Can you use a pizza stone on a grill? Yes, absolutely.
                                  Should you use a pizza stone on a grill? No. At least not in my opinion.
                                  Part of the appeal of grilling a pizza is to have the crust take on a nice char, and some of the smoky flavor from the charcoal. Using a stone sort of defeats this purpose IMO."

                                  Thanks for all the responses - as to the char, it seems to me that if the stone is hot enough, the crust will get charred, it just won't have grill marks. Also my purpose would not be to get a smoky flavor but to bake the pizza at a higher temperature than I can get in my home oven, closer to what you would get in a coal- or wood-fired oven, or a commercial pizzeria-type gas oven.
                                  My thought on the cracking issue would be to put the stone on as soon as the coals have turned ashy, with the lid open at first to give it time to heat up more gradually, then close the lid and let it heat up the rest of the way.
                                  Well, I haven't seen anything to dissuade me from at least trying it. If anybody's interested, I'll post the results. Probably won't be for a few weeks, I'm just thinking ahead.

                                  1. re: yankeedave

                                    To prevent cracking of your stone, I would suggest placing your stone on the rack as soon as you light up your coals, and not when when they have already turned hot.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Agree, no problem with the stone as I stated. Put it on when heating up. Mine was a Walmart stone and paddle for 20 bucks. It has been a favorite. Sometimes I do grill pizza right on the grill. "Depending on what is on the pizza. Some toppings just some precooked shrimp, arugula and mozz go very fast. I put right on the grate. Others were more sauce and cheese take longer to cook so I use the stone. Just depends. I also used it for heating breads and grilling whole stuffed zuchinni and eggplants. But just me

                                    2. re: yankeedave

                                      First, as for char, one of the PROBLEMS with pizza stone on my grill is that my grill gets SO hot that the bottom crust chars completely in less than 2 minutes. Jfood has it right -- I need to elevate the stone to get it further from the blazing heat source. As for smoky flavor, being on the stone won't hinder that -- the charcoal smoke is still filling the entire chamber.

                                      1. re: yankeedave

                                        I am interested in cooking pizza on my weber grill on a pizza stone because:
                                        1.) I think I can get it hotter than my oven.
                                        2.) In the summer, I'd rather heat up my grill than my kitchen.

                                        I was warned not to start with a wet stone as the water in the porous can boil, and the expanding steam can exert pressure that can crack the stone.

                                        p.s. the super peel looks pretty neat. I make a lot of free-form bread loaves on my stone too. I put a piece of parchment paper under my loaves before the final rise. It allows my peel to pick up loaves easily. The parchment browns a bit, but comes off easily when it's all done. It's probably work the same for pizza.

                                        1. re: Fraser1025

                                          It's very unlikely that your grill will give you consistently high heat like your oven. Grilling a pizza isn't duplicating oven baking. If you use the same approach to cooking, with a stone, you will end up with an underdone pizza with a burnt bottom.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        Agreed with both answers...

                                        If you do choose to use the pizza stone on your grill, put the stone on as soon as you light the charcoal, so the stone will heat up as the coals burn and turn ashen.

                                      3. Here's what the folks at Fibrament have to say about it.
                                        http://www.bakingstone.com/grilling.php

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: grampart

                                          Since I have a barrel-type grill another alternative might be just to try to keep the stone to the side so that's it's not directly over the coals, at least initially. I have no proof but I can't help thinking that as long as it heats up gradually enough, the stone should be able to withstand some pretty high temps without cracking.

                                        2. I guess I'm just curious - what benefit do you get from using your pizza stone over grilling the pizza directly on the grill? I throw the pizza directly on the grill, no pre-baking required, and it comes out fine. However, it cooks so quickly that I sometimes pre-cook any crunchy veggies I'm placing on top.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: leanneabe

                                            I use the pizza stone when I need to cook something longer.

                                            For instance say I cooked a couple of steaks or chops or a pork loin. Hot coals. Or I want the grill to be indirect as with many times with pizza with a few toppings. I find that pizza ... not being able to be turned gets too brown on the bottom when it has several toppings. So I like the stone.

                                            I just cooked one with sauce, cheese, and 3 toppings. The stone did the trick, otherwise i would of had to wait until the fire burned down to cook, the stone made it possible. I also did bread sticks on it and grilled zucchini that same night. Some times needed other times with thin crust and simple toppings ... the stone I wouldn't use. Depends and most is trail and error which works for you and your grill.

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              if your fire is too hot and your'e burning the crust, Just bank the coals off to one side - you'll get indirect heat, that way - no need to use a stone rotate the pizza gradually once the crust "sets up"
                                              I have a 37" diameter charcol grill and have cooked massive pies this way

                                              1. re: malabargold

                                                I do, I use both oven and grill. Never had burnt crust on a grill. Like you, just move the coals around. Works perfect. I usually use the oven for pizza just for ease. But now, I love the grill for pizza.

                                            2. re: leanneabe

                                              I'm just trying to replicate as closely as possible a commercial coal-fired oven, with higher temperatures than I can get in my home oven. A grilled pizza with grill marks on the bottom and a "grilled" flavor is not really what I'm looking for.

                                            3. It seems to me that you might want to put a piece of metal, maybe 1/4" thick, under your stone to facilitate even heating of the stone. It will come up to temperature, albeit more slowly. This should prevent cracking from uneven heating. Maybe a pizza pan?

                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  my grill surface is a few inches below the outside edge of the cooker. i elevate my pizza stone by putting it on my rib racks. putting it higher in the cooker allows for a higher heat from a smaller fire. maybe more important, it allows me to use the peel flat and not on a downward angle.

                                              1. I've broken too many stones. I bought a cast iron pizza pan on Amazon. It gets hotter than a stone. It is not as porous, so doesn't suck moisture out of the dough (which is preferable) but it gets pretty crispy all the same.

                                                1. I tried grilling a pizza on a stone this past weekend and thought I'd share some thoughts.

                                                  Like yankeedave I'm after the texture and results that only high heat can create. Something like NY-Neopolitan. Soft, with a little bite, good chew, some charring/leoparding, and no dryness.

                                                  I used a basic weber kettle with one chimney full of charcoal. I let the stone warm up with the chimney so it wouldn't crack. My pizzas are about 12" and thin.

                                                  The first one incinerated in a minute. The stone was far too hot and from reading about other experiences I'd guess it was in the neighborhood of 800+F. Googling indicates most charcoal briquettes burn at 900-1100F. I burned my fingers just grabbing the lid holder.

                                                  I used a wet rag to 'cool' the stone a bit and I cooked another 5 pizzas. I had to pull them all before the tops were finished but the bottoms were all done in under 2 minutes. I finished them under the broiler in the oven and they were by far the best pizzas I've ever made.

                                                  With this encouraging success I started reading more and found the following:

                                                  * An IR thermometer/gun is very, very helpful (~$50+).
                                                  * Charcoal grilling is difficult to manage unless you break it down to a two stage approach: cook the bottom crust on the stone, finish the top in the broiler. Results are great, just inconvenient.
                                                  * Aluminum foil on the top id will help reflect heat down onto the pizza.
                                                  * Mounting a pizza stone or aluminum disk inside the top lid will help heat the top.
                                                  * Cutting side vents in your top lid will pull hot air over the top of your pizza.
                                                  * Cheap stones will crack.
                                                  * Google Little Black Egg (LBE). This seems to be one of the best grill+stone approaches but it uses a gas burner and will require hardware modifications.

                                                  P.S. I used some parchment paper and it didn't burst into flames on the stone. However, it will char and disintegrate.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: amokscience

                                                    Some good thoughts there. In my experience I've gotten some excellent pizzas from my grill using a stone, but the biggest drawback is that, with a charcoal grill, you lose a lot of heat every time you open it. And the charcoal only maintains its maximum temperature for a short time, so closing the lid and waiting for it to get back up to full temp is not a great option because your coals are going to start dying down. It's not like a wood-fired oven where you can keep feeding the fire, or rotate the pizza without losing heat. Your window of opportunity is pretty short. So if you're doing multiple pizzas, which you probably will, since most grills will only hold relatively small pizzas, they're likely to be inconsistent - the first one will cook up really fast, the second one a little longer, the third one even longer and it may not have any charring at all.

                                                  2. Never tried a pizza stone, but I've used a terra cotta saucer, as one would put under a flower pot. successfully.

                                                    I use a weber kettle, start the briquets ib a chimney, the lit brix into the kettle and put the saucer on the rack. Let it heat then cook

                                                    1. Mine cracked too....I finally bought one of those stones with a metal base from WS....works great.

                                                      1. Usuing parchment paper to slide a pizza on a stone is the easy way. If you want to do it like the pizza patlors, I'm sure you know that using cornmeal on a pizza paddle makes it work like small ball bearings. The pizza rolls off the paddle quite easy. But you have to put the dough on the paddle and put your ingredients on quickly so that the moist dough doesn't make the cornmeal soggy - bad news! Get it on the stone or non-stick baking pan asap. As they say in golf, trust you swing. In the case of a pizza paddle, trust your thrust!!

                                                        Lucky B

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: luckyb444

                                                          Inevitably, with that method, some of the cornmeal ends up sticking to the crust and ruins the taste and texture, which is why I stopped doing it that way.

                                                          1. re: luckyb444

                                                            I always feel as if I'm cheating using parchment paper to slide the pizza onto the stone. Plus I don't want anything between the pizza and the stone. With practice, you can use flour quite effectively, you just have to make sure the peel is evenly coated, be careful not to spill any liquid onto the peel, and move quickly so the liquid doesn't soak through the dough.

                                                            1. re: yankeedave

                                                              "Cheating" who?

                                                              Also, I remove the parchment paper a couple of minutes after the pizza has been baking. And I'm getting better at getting the pizza on the stone with the parchment paper left behind. IMO, flour on the bottom of the dough never really cooks and just doesn't taste good to me.

                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                Maybe it's just a hangup of mine, but I'd like to do what a professional pizzaiolo would do, or as close as I can get to it within the limitations of my home kitchen. And they don't use parchment paper. As for the flour, as long as you don't overdo it, you move quickly, and you dust it off a bit when it comes out, it's fine.

                                                                1. re: yankeedave

                                                                  Many professionals do not flour the peel.

                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                                    Some do, some don't, some use corn meal. But I've never seen one use parchment paper.
                                                                    With practice, I may get to the point where I don't need the flour. But for now it beats having the dough stick to the peel.

                                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                                      yankee dave - I've never seen the guys at the pizza place we frequent flour the peel.

                                                                      True, they don't use parchment paper either - but than, I'm not kidding myself that I'm a "professional pizzaiolo" either.

                                                                      Yes, you're right, you have some major limitations in your home kitchen replicating what is produced professionally - the biggest one being the temperature issue. But my method, at least, doesn't add unnecessary flour to the crust, while yours potentially does. And while playing "professional pizzaiolo" is adorable, to me, the end product is what's important.

                                                                    2. re: yankeedave

                                                                      It got a mention above, but the SuperPeel is supposed to make it bonehead easy to peel and unpeel pizzas, bread, etc. Mine should arrive just as the weather heats up enough to preclude baking...

                                                                      http://www.superpeel.com/

                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        LOL - I doubt too many "professional pizzaiolos" are using SuperPeels either.

                                                                        I am considering getting one for myself though....

                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                          If I were making 50 pizzas a day I wouldn't need a cheat. But every "scrambled pizza" reminds me that I don't get nearly enough practice.

                                                                        2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          It does make it bonehead easy. I'm pretty decent with basic kitchen skills - I can do the wrist jerk on a saute pan and flip an omelet, potato pancakes, etc... But when I try to get the pizza off the regular peel, the toppings go flying to the rear wall of my oven and the crust only moves a few inches off the peel. Superpeel solved all that.

                                                                          1. re: sbp

                                                                            I've made my share of pizza which turned into ugly calzones too. Perhaps I gotta bite it and get a superpeel.

                                                                        3. re: yankeedave

                                                                          Just thought I'd chime in;

                                                                          1) Can't find it now, but somewhere on the internet I saw a video of one "pizza pro" say that he uses two peels - a metal one to help with getting the raw pie in the oven, and a wooden one for finishing the job. I have yet to try it because I really don't want two peels, but I thought the theory was interesting.

                                                                          2) While not all professionals flour their peels, all the ones I've observed do a couple of things:

                                                                          a. Flour at least one of the following - counter, dough ball, or peel.
                                                                          b. Have dough balls that have been exposed to room air a lot longer than the typical home kitchen. This makes the outer surface drier than the interior - when stretching, the drier/less sticky surface becomes the bottom of the pie.

                                                                          3) To me, it's not a NJ/NY pizza if it doesn't have a little corn meal on the bottom - it's a nationwide pizza chain pizza.

                                                                          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                            There's always flour on the counter, or "bench".

                                                                            Regarding corn meal, I was under the impression that the chains use cornmeal. Brooklyn's Pizza in Hackensack doesn't use it. Renato's in Ridgewood doesn't use it. I don't think Pizzatown USA in Elmwood Park uses it (that is semolina I think), Patsy's doesn't use it from what I recall. I don't think there's a valid blanket statement to be made regarding the use of corn meal in the NY/NJ area.

                                                                            1. re: tommy

                                                                              I have been using this method to great success. Lodge Logic L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned 10-1/2-Inch Round Griddle. Get your bbq nice and hot. Also, heat the griddle on the stove top until it is very hot. Oil lightly. Stretch the dough and put it on the skillet. Yes, it will start to cook immediately. Quickly put the rest of your toppings on the dough, and put the griddle on the grill. Cover. The pizza will be done within 5 minutes. The bottom of the crust and edges will have some nice char, and will not stick to the griddle. I learned this method from the LA Times. No corn meal necessary.

                                                                              1. re: 2intune

                                                                                Wow! Sounds fabulous. Definitely will try. THANK YOU!

                                                                  2. 4 years later, and I'm sure you have your answer, but I was reading through the comments and just getting annoyed at the stupid back & forth debates.

                                                                    You want to approximate a brick oven pie--a $30 stone that shatters when exposed to direct heat is not going to be able to handle the cooking fuel you're using.

                                                                    I'd just use a metal sheet for home pizza grilling. Yes, you can do complicated things with kiln bases and whatnot, but the reality is they are heavy and will take a really long time to get to temp.

                                                                    If you want to do *the real thing* at home, look up outdoor brick ovens you can build. They aren't that hard (friends of mine built a beehive oven a few years ago and it was amazing), and you can do it!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: streever

                                                                      Thank you, it's not too late for a good answer. I have mostly confined myself to my home oven with a stone or clay tiles. I got frustrated with the grill because I was losing too much heat every time I opened the cover. An outdoor wood-fired oven is something I've wanted for a long time but I just haven't done it. Instead I've come to accept the limitations of my home oven and now I just try to get the best pizza I can using it.

                                                                      1. re: streever

                                                                        Yes, my daughter borrowed my pizza stone for her barbeque and it shattered~! Now she just buys the pre-made and formed crust, grills it on one side then removes and flips it for topping, then returns it to grill the bottom. Pretty yummy and great to set up a table of toppings for a pizza party!

                                                                        1. re: streever

                                                                          The combination of the KettlePizza Weber insert and the Baking Steel produces a surprisingly good approximation of the coal-fired pies. Unfortunately, you gotta burn through A LOT of coal to arrive there. I'm sticking with my $40 Lodge Iron Pizza Pan.

                                                                          http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...