A lesson learned

MJP

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Today I tried to make pizza with SmokeFire. So here is the story and thing I learned (hard way of course) during the cook.

I used Glen & Friends cooking pizza dough recipe (it's my favorite pizza recipe for kettle pizza or other wood-fired pizzas). Look the recipe here: https://legourmet.tv/recipe/how-to-make-best-ever-pizza-dough


So first I set my SmokeFire as shown on the photos. I put pizza steel on the bottom shelf and the pizza stone upper (1st mistake, next time I do it opposite way). Then I started making the pizza from the dough I had taken out from the fridge few hours earlier.

...continue on next...
 

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MJP

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The next thing was to actually bake the pizzas. I have set the SmokeFire to 600f / 315c and it reached there quite fast (outside temp was around 0c/32f). I left the SmokeFire around 15minutes and then used an infrared meter to check steel temperature. The temp was around 300c/572f.

I put the pizza in the "oven" and checked it 90 seconds later. The bottom was burnt too much and the top of the pizza was still quite raw. So I put pizza on to the top shelf and tried to rescue what was left. I kept it a few more minutes and cheese started to melt and I removed the pizza from the smoker. Parts were just perfect and parts were burned.

For the next pizza, I put another pizza stone next to steel and started cooking with it. It started good but then I tried to put it on pizza steel which burned the bottom instantly (30seconds). So I went salvage mode again :).

While I was making third pizza I noticed that temps were dropping. The reason was I was out of the pellet. I added more but nothing happened. Pellets kept disappeared inside the smoker but temp did not recover. Then it hit me that the fire has gone out. So I started the shutdown procedure as there is no way currently start the smoker again (or if there is a way please tell me how). Weber should and that function to firmware in case you run out of pellets.

So the third pizza was out of the question. But what happened next was a bit of a surprise. The shutdown mode moved some pellets and the pellets which were piled up inside started to burn. First normally with a little bit a smoke, then a bit more. And around 1 minute later I heard a whooping sound (like a blast) and smoke was everywhere ( I think what happened was that every piece of pellet started to burn same time or something like that). It smokes like hell for 30 seconds or so and then gets back to normal.

Edit: This was due the user error. The I did the shutdown procedure wrong way (thanks goes to Abmet to point me this).

Correct way to shutdown from the manual

1. When your food is cooked to your desired internal temperature, using heat resistant barbecue mitts or gloves, open the grill lid, remove and unplug any food temperature probes from the food and cookbox, and remove all food off of the cooking grates (A).

2. With the grill lid open, push and hold the dial to shutdown your grill (B). Alternatively, you can push the main menu button . Using the dial on the controller, scroll through the main menu and push to select “Shutdown”.

CAUTION: Always engage the shutdown procedure with the grill lid open to properly shutdown your grill when finished cooking. Frequently interrupted cook cycles could cause component failure.

3. Your SMOKEFIRE grill will run through a series of steps in order to properly and safely shutdown your grill. Once the shutdown procedure is complete and the grill has cooled, power off your grill (C) and unplug from the power source.

4. Close the grill lid (D).

...continue on next...
 

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MJP

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Included photo was taken around 10 seconds after "heavy" smoke started.

So the lessons I learned when making pizza are (and other things as well)
  • At least with my 00 flour, this pizza dough does not work with the pizza steel. Bottom burns too fast.
  • Put the steel top shelf and the pizza stone lower shelf. That way you should get a nice top and bottom.
  • Double-check that you have enough pellets inside the hopper
  • SmokeFire eats pellets like crazy when temps are high (at least at 315c/600f). (I poured around 7-8 quarts of the pellet into the hopper when I started the smoke fire and there was little left from the previous cook)
  • When you started the shutdown mode let it go till the end until open the lid. I'm not sure what happened when my unburnt pellets started to generate a lot of smoke, but after seeing and hearing I do not want to open the lid until the shutdown has completed.
    Above was a user error, You should keep the lid open during the shutdown procedure.
  • These things happened due to the user error. The smoke fire is awesome pieces of tech and I really like it.
  • Next time I will check that hopper more often and start with much more pellet in the hopper.
So let me know how your pizza making has succeeded and share your pizza stories as well.

Have a nice weekend everybody!
 

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abmet

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Thanks for sharing.

Per Weber manual shutdown should be done with the lid open.

2. With the grill lid open, push and hold the dial to shutdown your grill (B). Alternatively, you can push the main menu button . Using the dial on the controller, scroll through the main menu and push to select “Shutdown”.

CAUTION: Always engage the shutdown procedure with the grill lid open to properly shutdown your grill when finished cooking. Frequently interrupted cook cycles could cause component failure.

3. Your SMOKEFIRE grill will run through a series of steps in order to properly and safely shutdown your grill. Once the shutdown procedure is complete and the grill has cooled, power off your grill (C) and unplug from the power source.

4. Close the grill lid (D).
 
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MJP

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Thanks for sharing.

Per Weber manual shutdown should be done with the lid open.

2. With the grill lid open, push and hold the dial to shutdown your grill (B). Alternatively, you can push the main menu button . Using the dial on the controller, scroll through the main menu and push to select “Shutdown”.

CAUTION: Always engage the shutdown procedure with the grill lid open to properly shutdown your grill when finished cooking. Frequently interrupted cook cycles could cause component failure.

3. Your SMOKEFIRE grill will run through a series of steps in order to properly and safely shutdown your grill. Once the shutdown procedure is complete and the grill has cooled, power off your grill (C) and unplug from the power source.

4. Close the grill lid (D).
Thank you very much for pointing this out. So there was another user error. So I need to re-read the user manual.
 

Deckwalker

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Looks delicious (and I won't comment on "Hawaiian pizza" :) ).

To my untrained eye, that crust doesn't look burned. Every wood fired pizza I've eaten has a similar look to yours.

What's the purpose of the pizza steel? I've never seen that before. I haven't done pizza on my EX4 yet, but when cooking on charcoal grills, I just made sure to get a stone good and hot, and then cook straight on that without the steel.

I broke three stones because I got my acorn grill too hot! I'd add a lump of wood to the charcoal just before cooking the pizza to give it some real wood fired taste. Then I left the grill to burn out while eating, and it got up above 750 F.
 
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MJP

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"Hawaiian pizza" was delicious :) so no comments on that topping :giggle:

The pizza steel can get a bit hotter or it transfers heat much faster (very good for home oven) I don't know actually. I found out that it might get too hot on the Smokefire and burns the bottom while the toppings are not cooked through:) so I get back to the stones when using SmokeFire. One bonus with steel is that it won't break down.

Nowadays I mainly use Ooni Koda for pizza making with real Caputo flour. It is much easier that way and the Koda bakes very nice pizzas (with or without pineapples ;)).

Pepperoni pizza from last weekend made with Ooni Koda for comparison. Same dough.

pizza-koda.JPG
 

Deckwalker

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"Hawaiian pizza" was delicious :) so no comments on that topping :giggle:

The pizza steel can get a bit hotter or it transfers heat much faster (very good for home oven) I don't know actually. I found out that it might get too hot on the Smokefire and burns the bottom while the toppings are not cooked through:) so I get back to the stones when using SmokeFire. One bonus with steel is that it won't break down.

Nowadays I mainly use Ooni Koda for pizza making with real Caputo flour. It is much easier that way and the Koda bakes very nice pizzas (with or without pineapples ;)).

Pepperoni pizza from last weekend made with Ooni Koda for comparison. Same dough.

View attachment 2214
That looks delicious. Now you've inspired me to do pizza on the EX4. (I'm jealous of the Ooni Koda!). I've copied the pizza dough recipe and will try that.
 

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