Easy Kamado Pizza's

The weekend is the time when i get to cook on my kamado joe due to working all week but this weekend i had to work on Saturday morning too, so i had to find something i could cook quickly and easily during the afternoon/evening after i'd got home and the quickest thing i could think of was pizza!

Now i'm not talking about heating up a shop bought affair on the grill this is take out quality, homemade from scratch pizza, and from start to finish its done in almost the same time it would take for your delivery order to arrive!

Pizza is truly a hot and fast cook so its essential that the kamado joe is cleaned out to ensure no ash or small pieces of lump from previous cooks are blocking any of the air flow, also its best to use fresh lump in my opinion but as i'm cleaning the kamado out i put the old lump in my chimney starter so not to waste any then light it
By the time i've cleaned the kamado out and refilled with fresh charcoal the chimney starter is ready to be added to get everything heating up

The set up for pizza is different and requires a good quality ceramic pizza stone too, i use kamado joe's official one but there are many other brands available that will work just as well.

The way i set this up is to have the heat deflector in the upper position, then i add the grill grate, then i place the pizza stone on top of the grill so it creates a sort of air gap between the heat deflector and the pizza stone
My Pizza Setup

The above picture shows my setup with the grill grate between the heat deflector and the pizza stone
Now you just close the lid and open both the top and bottom vent all the way to make the kamado get really hot, i was personally aiming for 350-400c (650-750f approx) and then hold that temperature for a while to let all the ceramics soak in the heat.
Now some people cook pizzas hotter and some cooler each has its pros and cons but i've found the above temps to be the sweet spot for myself

Now the grill is heating its time to make the pizza bases 
I first measured out my ingredients 
Pizza base Ingredients 
  • 1 tsp of instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g of strong bread flour
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 200ml of warm water

First with the flour already in the bowl you add the yeast and the salt and stir it to ensure its mixed in well
Next make a well in the centre and pour in the water and the olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon untill it all comes together to form a wet dough
Lightly flour a surface for kneading on and turn out the dough onto it as shown below
Pizza Dough Ready For Kneading

Now knead the dough for around 5 minutes until it becomes smooth then cover with a clean dry towel and set aside while we make the pizza sauce
I was making 3 pizzas so i repeated the above again but doubled the ingredients then simply halved the dough at this stage 

The sauce is simple and so easy to make, i again got my ingredients together
Pizza Sauce Ingredients 

  • 1 500g carton of tomato passata
  • 50g double concentrated tomato puree 
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning 
  • 1tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic

With the passata in a container that will accept a lid, mince the garlic cloves then add them and the rest of the ingredients to the passata and mix well to make sure its all combined, pop on the lid and set it aside and your done! easy eh?
This will be more than you need for one pizza (it was more than i used for 3!) but keeps well in the fridge (hence the container with a lid)

Now check the grill, by this point it should be near our target temp of 350-400c (650-750f approx), so start shutting down the top vent to hold it there (i leave the bottom vent wide open for the entirety of this cook) if its not there yet then let it rise before closing the vent, if its over its no big deal we are shooting for a high heat cook so just close the top vent a little and the temp will fall

We need to hold it at this temp while we finish the pizza as its the absorbed heat in the ceramics that cooks the pizza here not the actual fire, the heat of the pizza stone is what cooks the base and the absorbed/reflective heat of the dome lid is what cooks the topping

Now its time to make the pizza up 
Get you pizza dough ball and on a floured surface give it a quick knead for a minute then roll out into a rough pizza shape and turn up the edges as shown below
Pizza Dough Rolled Out With Edges Turned Up

The pizza peel id ordered online hadn't arrived yet (thank you Mr Delivery man) so a little trick to help with transferring the pizza to the hot stone is to place the base on some baking paper which is placed on a large plate before adding the toppings then the baking paper is used to slide the pizza on to the stone and will simply pull out from under the pizza once the base is cooked

Now for the toppings 
Add some of the pizza sauce to the base and spread it around with the back of a spoon, you want a thin layer from edge to edge then sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella 
Now for the rest ill leave that up to you, the world really is your oyster with pizza, you want veg? mushrooms, onions and peppers are all great
After a meat fix? pepperoni, sausage meat, bacon or even pulled pork from a previous cook all work very well
The best piece of advice i can give when it comes to the toppings (especially if your new to pizzas on a bbq) is to not over load the base, if you do you end up with a burnt base with toppings that still need to be heated thru

Now its time to cook your creations, take them out to your grill and get your self ready for some conveyor belt action, as i said before at this temperature the pizzas cook quick!

With that being said i think its only prudent to add a little warning here, The kamado is obviously Very Hot, so when opening the lid at these kind of temperatures the best practice is to open the lid slowly at first, open the lid an inch or two and hold it for a few seconds to allow some of the super heated air to escape then open fully and add the pizza, doing this, if nothing else saves you from instntly removing all the hair on your arms and possibly face quicker than you can say That's amore

I generally put a pizza on the stone then shut the lid and leave it for around 5 minuites 
Heres a picture showing my pizzas on the grill

At the 4 to 5 minute mark lift the lid and check on you pizza, depending on the thickness of your base and the amount of toppings you've added it should be about ready the if the cheese is melted and bubbling its a good sign but i like to lift the edge of my pizza with a spatula to double check the underneath of the base looks nice and browned, if not close the lid and give it another minute, at these temperatures its really all it needs

Here's a pick showing my finished pizzas
3 tasty finished pizzas 

The top pizza took the longest to cook as the base had risen a little more than the other two while resting, but at 7 minutes its nothing to complain about!

So what do you think? any amazing topping combinations i should consider for my next venture into the world of pizza? 
Feel free to let me know in the comments
See you next time

Backyard Pulled Pork

With the weekend getting closer and the week being a busy one i rushed into my local supermarket to get some supplies for the grill for the next few days

One of the items i picked up was this

A 3.4Kg (around 7.5lb) pork shoulder which was on offer so decided to pick it up for some pulled pork
Now this is a boneless shoulder with the skin on but it's perfectly good for what i need, i'm not going for any competition entries with this after all
As you can see from the picture the shoulder is rolled and tied already with the skin deeply scored so ill leave it as it is to save time and keep it simple

I applied some oil to the shoulder and then a good helping of dry rub ensuring i got it all in the cuts of the skin then decided to put it all in a vacuum seal bag and into the fridge until the next day to fire up the grill
Rubbed and vacuum sealed

Saturday morning arrived and the 6am alarm sounded which meant it was time to go make a start on what could be a long cook
The first thing to do was to remove the shoulder from the fridge to allow it to start warming to room tempeature
Next was to light the grill, i set up the kamado joe for a long low n slow around 110-120c (approx 225-250f) with the heat deflector in the low position

I added my wood pellets to the cast iron pot
BBQr's delight Cherry

I used cherry pellets for this cook as it goes well with pork, i set this aside untill the grill was almost upto the temp i required

when the kamado joe reached 100c (aprox 210f) i added the cast iron pot to the coals
then the meat to the grill at just after 7am
Pork shoulder On the Kamado Joe

This is going to be an all day affair so as you can see from the picture i have my maverick remote thermometer with both the grill temp probe and the meat probe set up
I inserted the meat probe as deep as possible into the thickest part of the shoulder then closed the lid, other than making sure the grill temp didn't wonder by casting my eye on the maverick every now and again this will be the last i see of the shoulder for some time....

At 3:15pm the internal temp of the meat was 74c (165f) and seemed to have been there for some time, in the world of BBQ this is known as the stall, its a period when the temp of the meat will seem to take an eternity to rise.

8 hours in

It will get thru this with enough time on the grill but as i've already been cooking this for around 8 hours and id like to eat at a reasonable time, i ve employed a method many refer to as the Texas Crutch,

This is simply to wrap the meat in foil to help tenderize it and to help speed up the cooking time

Texas Crutch

I double wrapped the shoulder in foil and reinserted the meat probe, closed the lid and said goodbye to the meat for at least a few more hours.

At around 6:30pm the maverick showed an internal temperature of 93c (200f)
I was aiming for ideally around 95/96c (203-205f) so i got my cooler and filled it with water from a fresh boiled kettle to warm it ready for the meat to rest in

When the internal temp hit 205f i removed it from the grill and wrapped it in towels and placed it into my cooler (after emptying the water out of course!)

The meat can stay here for a few hours as it will stay warm and it allows the juices to redistribute thru the meat

I left the meat to rest for around an hour and when i removed it from the cooler and opened the foil this is what awaited me!

Shoulder after an hours rest in a cooler

I removed the skin and strings then used my bear claws to shred the meat
Bear Claws

These are by no means a necessity as this pork shoulder is so tender it could be pulled apart with two forks i just find these to be a little easier to hold and control making the job faster, also the fact that they are dirt cheap on amazon (or anywhere else on the net for that matter) there definitely worth the purchase

After a few minutes work with the bear claws the shoulder was pulled to perfection and looked like this
All Pulled!

Perfectly juicy and well worth the work put in
Served on a soft roll with coleslaw and bbq sauce is the best way for many but this meat is so good that it can be eaten almost any way you could want!

Simple Spatchcock Chicken

I had the day off on Tuesday and took the opportunity to use my trusty Kamado Joe to cook some chicken for the family for our evening meal

i started off with a plain chicken weighing around 1.5Kg (approx 3.3lb)
simple plain chicken

I decided i was going to spatchcock this chicken,
some people i've spoken to don't know what that is or are simply a little intimidated by it but it really is a simple way to cook a chicken.

The only tool needed are some good quality heavy duty scissors
My Meat Shears
I bought the pair pictured above from my local supermarket for around £4 about 2 years ago and they are great for the job of spatchcocking a chicken

The first step is to make 2 cuts from the front of the chicken to the back, one either side of the chickens spine to enable you to remove it from the bird.
Chicken with spine removed

Once the cuts are made and the spine is removed your chicken should look like the above picture, and that is the hardest part of spatchcocking a chicken

The next step is to turn the chicken over and flatten it 
Spatchcok Chicken!

You may need to pull the legs and wings slightly to each side so they are not directly below the chicken
Then simply press down on the bird untill it is flat and looks like the picture above.
And thats it the chicken is now spatchcocked, not as intimidating as it seems!

The chicken could be cooked as it is, or with some salt and pepper ect but i like to add a bit more flavour 
Dry Rub Added

I gave the chicken a heavy coating of dry rub and set it in the fridge while i set the kamado joe up for the cook

I decided i was going to cook this over orange wood smoke
Wood chunks have been a little hard to get a hold of at a reasonable price but these BBQr's delight pellets seem to be a good alternative, I put them in the cast iron pot and set them aside until the grill was up to temp
BBQr's Delight Orange wood pellets 

To get the grill ready i lit the charcoal and let it get to a temp of around 190-200c (around 375 to 400f) and set up for a direct cook with the grill in the raised position
As it reached the correct temp i added the cast iron pot with my wood pellets and waited for it to start to produce smoke
Pot of wood pellets in the hot coals

When the smoke started it was time to add the chicken!
I shook off the excess rub and placed it on the grate breast side up, cooking this method really doesn't require you to turn the bird over mid cook so this is how it stays for me until its done
Chicken on the grill

I set up my trusty maverick remote thermometer so i could keep an eye on the grill temp while preparing the rest of the meal
I wasn't too concerned about the internal temperature as i know this will take around an hour to 1 1/2 hours to cook and ill check it for internal temps using my thermapen around that time

Approximately 1 hour and 20mins later the chicken looked done and ready to eat
I checked the internal temp of the chicken using my thermapen instant read thermometer looking for a min temp of 71c (160f) in various places around the bird 

Chicken removed from grill and resting

While 71c is a little under the recommended done temp ive found it is the ideal temp to remove from the grill as the chicken continues to cook and the temp still rises a few degrees while its resting

With this chicken the internal temp was a little higher than id planned but due to the nature of the kamado joe (and ceramic cookers in general) it was still nice and moist!

After it had rested while i plated the rest i again used my meat shears to cut it into quarters 
Chicken Quartered

Now it was time to eat!
All served up with a little salad and some garlic bread for a nice easy meal
The finished product

Weekend Ribs!!!

Just a quick post about my antics at the weekend

im quite a big fan of cooking bbq on my Kamado Joe ceramic cooker and at the weekend found some ribs id had vacuum sealed and put in the freezer

After getting them out to defrost i applied an awsome dry rub i purchased from https://www.fireflybbq.eu and let it sit while i set up the grill

i was going to cook these ribs over an indirect heat, low 'n' slow at around 225f using the 3-2-1 method for ribs (3 hours on the grill, then wrap in foil with a little apple juice for 2 hours, then unwrap and back on the grill for a final one hour)

And here's a picture of them just on the grill and ready to go!

its not in this picture but i also used my maverick remote thermometer that allowed me to monitor the temperature whist doing other things and not having to hover around the bbq all day keeping an eye on it
the lid went down, i set a timer and that was it for 3 hours!

when the timer went of it was time to check on the ribs

3 hours into the cook

3 hours into the cook and everything is looking good!
i removed the ribs from the grill and put them in an aluminium tray, added some apple juice, covered tightly with foil and returned the ribs to the grill for another 2 hours after resetting the timer

the timer sounded again and we a now 5 hours into the cook and its time to open the bbq again

i removed the ribs from the foil and placed them back on the grill and applied sauce to both sides (not everyone applies the sauce now, many wait until the last 10 minutes or so of cooking but my kids prefer it this way)

All sauced!

the lid was shut and the time was set, were on the last leg now!

the timer sounded for the final time and that was it all done!

All done and ready to eat

I removed them from the grill and divided them up for the family

we were looking forward to them so much after i forgot to get any more pictures!
but i can assure you they were tasty and moist and the meat came away from the bone with ease

just writing this post is making me hungry again so ill look forward to my next cook followed by my next post

see ya next time!