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Neapolitan style pizza without the clay oven

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

For a long time I have been experimenting with various grills, the oven, using a pizza stone, etc. always trying to replicate authentic neapolitan style pizza. The biggest problem is I don't have a 4 thousand dollar clay oven! Well, today I tried something new and I believe I've probably come as close as I can so I wanted to share the technique.

 

Recently my father has been firing up my offset firebox smoker, and he's been using seasoned oak that he split last year. I was out there for one of these events when the smoker temp went over 500 degrees and a lightbulb went off. Today, using a combination of charcoal and oak I tried it out for pizza. Using an industrial style pizza screen such as this:

I formed the near room temperature dough out. For a classic margherita style pizza I used sauce I cooked the night before and fresh mozzarella. Then with the fire going good I placed the screen as close to the fire box as I could. This is not something you can really walk away from, by peeking at the edge closest to the firebox you can rotate the screen to get an even cook.

 

I was very happy with how this turned out, it is much closer than any of my other attempts. The flavor really is different when you are able to cook the pizza in a matter of minutes with natural wood fire, there's just a hint of the smoke and char in it and the crust is extremely crisp outside while perfectly cooked on the inside.

 

post #2 of 13

Thanks! I never thought about using an offset smoker to cook a pizza (I don't think mine would get hot enough), but yours looks good.

 

If you want to be even more authentic, stop cooking your sauce.  Just use lightly seasoned crushed tomatoes or canned plum tomatoes that you crush yourself, I think you will find a big difference in the "freshness" of your final product.  Also, with authentic Neopolitan, since it cooks so fast, you can put the basil on before cooking instead of after (just put it under the cheese).

 

For me, pizza making is a journey with no actual final destination in sight...  :)

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I agree on the sauce, and I had thought I got italian crushed tomatoes, but I ended up with tomato puree :( and it tasted rather nasty so I had to add garlic, olive oil, oregano, etc. and heated it to try to marry in those flavors. Next time I will definitely forgo that!

 

I cooked one pizza with the basil on but it was the first try and there was too much smoke so it got discolored some. Also, I was following the lead of someone from Napoli Italy who posted a picture of their margherita pizza on reddit.com which did not have basil on it. Here's the one I did with basil.

 

The heat also wasn't high enough which is evident in how the outer crust cooked more like it was in a regular oven.

post #4 of 13

Have you thought about preheating a pizza stone or steel, instead of using a screen? 

post #5 of 13

I'm due for another fresh tomato pizza, I'll consider using the smoker for it.  That's a nice looking pie!

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Cardenas View Post
 

Have you thought about preheating a pizza stone or steel, instead of using a screen? 

 

Not in this particular application yet. I have done a pizza stone on both a kettle charcoal grill and on a gas grill. Both times the bottom was too well done for my liking. I really have no complaints on using the screen this time. I was able to form the pizza on it which helps getting it in there quickly and it was easy to turn. The bottom crust came out perfectly (the char was only on the outer crust closest to the fire) so I'll probably stick with this for now.

post #7 of 13

While I now use screens 100% of the time when baking pizza in my regular electric home oven, I think a stone in your offset smoker application might be worth trying (especially because you already have one).  The upside would be that when you open your smoker to turn the pizza, you will have greater heat retention with the stone and the pizza would probably end up cooking a little faster.  You could even cook it on a screen on a stone.

post #8 of 13

my home oven goes to 550 and I have a heavy duty stone. Turns out good pizza

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
 

my home oven goes to 550 and I have a heavy duty stone. Turns out good pizza

 

Let's see it! I've heard of people using the "self cleaning" mode on the oven to go past the normal temp.

post #10 of 13

Thin cracker style crust pizza, I have a gas oven and I tweaked the thermostat to go past the 490 it peaks at, just have to remember for the rest of the baking it is 60 degrees off

 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Looks good! :)

post #12 of 13
Electric oven, Rig to open door in the clean cycle and cook on a stone during the clean cycle. Abour 900 degrees
post #13 of 13
Go check out pizzamaking.com. Absolute geniuses over there when it comes to Neo.
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