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Mar 23, 2012

Turn Your Kettle Grill into an Outdoor Pizza Oven

created at: 03/23/2012

The Kettle Pizza extension is a stainless-steel sleeve designed to fit over a standard 22 1/2" Weber-style charcoal grill, turning it into a charcoal or wood-burning pizza oven. 

On first thought, I saw this, and immediately began to drool. And then I saw the price, and got to thinking, and flipped the other way towards complete skepticism. And now...

I'm not sure if this is a good value, or not. So, let's discuss. Pizza on the grill is my favorite method of cooking it at home. It allows you to create crust-cracking temperatures that are tough to get in a standard home oven. (Though Bruno's figured out a way to get it just right). So this contraption, which is essentially just a stainless steel sleeve with a thermometer on it, seems like an awesome solution to really get that pizza-oven effect on a consumer grill.

Except it cost a hundred and forty dollars. That's right, $140. Almost twice what it cost to buy the grill in the first place. (You can find them on sale for $80 all spring/summer long at home improvement centers). For a thin piece of curved steel, some handles, and a thermometer.

The real problem, for me, is that stainless steel is a poor insulator, right? All that high-end, shiny cookware works not because of it's outer stainless exterior, but because of it's layers of aluminum to which the steel is clad. I realize the grill itself is steel, but it's also enameled with porcelain, which helps retain heat.

So even though it creates a " 'consistent' heat loss that flows over the top of the pizza ensuring a properly cooked top," does it do so better than the lid that comes with the grill? It still relies on the included lid to trap some of the heat to melt/cook the toppings, not just the bottom of the crust, why is is much better than just using the lid in the first place?

But, many of the reviews on Amazon are stellar, saying that it totally works. I have no idea if these are folks who are just excited about cooking pizza on the grill in the first place, or if its actually a $150 improvement. I mean, I realize they're not claiming this can create the same kind of pizza at a $10,000 wood-burning pizza oven, but the question is: 

Can it make a better pizza than a standard wood or charcoal burning kettle grill? And if it can, is it a $140, unitasking improvement?

What are your thoughts? The way I figure it:

Pros:

  • It looks awesome, and nothing is like sliding a pizza into a warm pit of pure fire
  • The increased height likely provides at least some air circulation, and therefore increased or more even heat for the top of the pizza
  • There's an obvious convenience factor, and the included thermometer is a bonus

Cons:

  • It cost $140. 
  • You can make great pizza on a grill without this item
  • Stainless steel doesn't add much insulation, so little to no increased "oven" effect

Now, of course I would use this thing if I had it, if only for the coolness and convenience factors. But, at $140, I'm thinking I could could invest in a lot more pizza-making gear...or actual ingredients to make pizza on the grill, which I already can.

Read more about the Kettle Pizza at Bless This Stuff

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Me on Apr 27, 2014:

Just a comment... I should thing that it would be a fairly simple thing to spread a coat of cement/mortar on the inside of the grill itself.  As for the lid, a coat of cement/mortar that "lapped" the rim of the lid should hold it into place.  With some chicken wire imbedded in the cement/mortar I would think it would hold together nicely.  Certainly it would increase the cooking temp range by a factor of oh/wow.


Kyle on Oct 17, 2013:

The problem with cooking pizza on a grill is you lose a massive amount of stored heat when you remove the lid. This is supposed to keep a constant temp for even cooking. For much money less you could buy some firebricks to space the lid up for the same effect.


Kyle on Nov 01, 2012:

Anybody use this yet? I want to know how it turned out.


Rob on Mar 24, 2012:

I don't see the point of it. I love pizza on the grill but I don't see what $140 dollars gets me that I don't already have. I love gadgets and new items but this does seem like a waste of $140 dollars.