Pizza Oven Hack for Weber Kettle

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by humanshoes, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I bring you this thread in the spirit of good old fashioned ingenuity and self-sufficiency. I think I could probably live on wood-fired pizza; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We have a few really good joints here in K-Town that make excellent pizza in wood-fired brick ovens, but I'm too lazy and too cheap to frequent them with any sort of regularity. There are several commercial pizza oven inserts on the market, but, once again, my frugality came into play so the research began for an inexpensive Weber Kettle hack that wouldn't set me back too much dough(pun intended). I finally settled on this solution-a wood fired pizza oven that I made from the bottom third of a 55 gallon steel drum. It sits on a regular Weber Kettle grill, is capable of temps to 900 degrees, and supposedly will cook a pizza in 2 to 3 minutes. It hasn't had it's trial run yet, but I have high hopes. Welcome to The House of Pi.
    IMG_0545.JPG IMG_0547.JPG IMG_0546.JPG
     
  2. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,429
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Nice work and very creative love it!
    - I made one a few years ago using the traditional Roman Army method -pile a dome of sand to preferred size on a flat brick base (I used a leftover section of polished granite work surface), cover with ‘leaves’ (wet newspaper) thick layer of clay loam (sand clay mix), cut out a doorway when dried to leather hardness, remove sand, when dry- ish inside light a small hardwood fire and feed it gradually till clay loam hardens to terracotta ish shell.
    To bake push fire to back of dome and use as an oven.
    If cracks appear fill with damp clay sand mix. Don’t forget to make a rain proof cover.
    It broke after many uses. Last year I made one from an old food grade oil drum - bolted a cast oven door on a cut-out at one flat end filled up to bottom of opening with sand and then used bricks to make a cooking surface. I sold it on ebay when My wife Liz finally gave in and bought me one of these
    https://delivita.co.uk/item/our-ovens
    Lol
     
  3. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
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    Thanks for that robrinay. That DeliVita is a real beauty! I explored several commercial options here in the states, but, in the end, my frugality and do it myself nature won out.
     
    robrinay likes this.
  4. So after 2 yrs, how does it work & how well is it holding up? I've thought about building some type of pizza oven also, & wanted something where I could get temps high enough to try steaks Ruth Chris style. Cast iron sounded good so for a while I was on the lookout for a cast iron Cook N Kettle. They show up from time to time, & are still made in Tulsa, but very expensive.

    A friend has the big Green Egg with some sort of insert to turn it into a pizza oven but he said it's too easy to burn a pizza in just a couple min.

    I can't believe I just saw this thread! Need to cruise around more often.
     
  5. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Hey Jack, I'm happy to report that, after a couple hundred or so pies, the oven still performs flawlessly. I've also used it for Indian flatbread and roasted vegetables. I haven't tried steaks, but I did try to make tandoori chicken in it without much success. I finally gave up on that and built myself a proper wood fired tandoor oven from clay pots and vermiculite and lava rock insulation. With internal temps approaching 900 degrees it cooks the food to perfection in less than 8 minutes. IMG_1719.JPG IMG_1721.JPG Tandoor.jpg IMG_1722.JPG IMG_1724.JPG
     
  6. I'm not familiar with tandoor oven cooking but that looks great, Rick. I'm guessing the coals are dumped into the bottom pot when ready? How do you clean out ash?

    On the pizza oven I was wondering about the air flow but then I noticed you cut the bottom out of the drum? Also wanted to ask about the door & seal you have around it.

    Remember those old aluminum Coleman camping oven boxes that would just sit on a campstove? Good for canned biscuits but I don't recall what temps they would be good for.
     
  7. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Yep, the coals go right into the bottom. There are holes drilled in the bottoms of the interior and exterior pots with a catch pan underneath for ash cleanout. It burns so hot there is nothing but very fine ash left over.
    I did cut the bottom out of drum for the pizza oven. Air flow is controlled with the grill vents. I used stove gasket for the door, but only keep the door on to build up the initial heat. It works better with the door removed for cooking. I've been using a combination of charcoal and apple wood chunks with good results.
    Not only do I remember those Coleman camp ovens, I used to have one. Used it to make camp biscuits. One of those might work for steaks if you could get it up to 500 or so, but you'd miss out on the wood smoke flavor. Keep me posted on what you come up with.
     
    Hurricane Jack likes this.
  8. Rick, you've probably seen this done before but you can drill & make a mount on your pizza oven easy enough for a rotisserie. Nothing like rotisserie chicken. Weber has the same idea now but theirs is just a sheetmetal extension ring. Cook N Kettle is cast iron & they give you some flexibility with the ability to use double rings.

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    robrinay likes this.
  9. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,605
    Weber Kettle Collar!!!
    Better patent that quick.
    Total genius!!
    B
     
    humanshoes likes this.
  10. Great ideas Rick!

    Someone stole our vintage Cook ‘n Kettle 30 years ago. Just looked at their website. :eek: Think I’ll build a masonry oven. Recently came into a pile of firebrick.
     
  11. Seeing the pics of yours & thinking about being cast iron is what originally got me looking for one. A few have turned up but the shipping is the killer.
     
    BobHufford likes this.
  12. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
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    Thanks for that pic Jack. I've never seen these Cook N Kettles before. Now I want one. Damn it. I do have a rotisserie ring for the Weber. My buddy made it for me out of heavy stainless steel. Not as cool as the cast iron though.
     
    Hurricane Jack likes this.
  13. New Cook N Kettles and accessories are expensive. Vintage ones turn up from time to time but unless they are close by, shipping is a killer. And like most cast iron, they always need a good cleaning.

    I have a clean steel drum & I went out to my shop to measure the diameter today to see if it matches my 22" Weber. I'm ready to cut a 10" wide ring if it does. Unfortunately it's in the corner with about 4' of boxes stacked on top so I decided another time.

    I do have a question though; why does a pizza oven need so much height when it's really all about getting the temperature there & its retention? Why wouldn't a pizza stone on the cooking grill under the Weber dome top do the same thing?
     
  14. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Height in a pizza oven allows you to use it to cook taller food than just pizza. You can use it to bake bread roast meat etc etc.
     
    Hurricane Jack likes this.
  15. humanshoes

    humanshoes One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I'm no expert on the subject, but I think it's all about heat retention. You can cook a pizza on a stone in the Weber, but when you lift the lid to put the pie in, all the accumulated heat will escape and will take time to build back up when the lid is replaced. I have very little heat loss with the front door design as the heat builds up and stays in the dome. My pizzas cook to perfection in just under 2 minutes.
     
    Hurricane Jack likes this.
  16. I rhink there would be something to be said in the flavor imparted by a clay or masonry pizza oven too. In drinking good Tequila I'm convinced I can tell the difference between blue agave cooked in a clay oven vs a cleaner stainless steel oven. Much more flavor from agave cooked in a clay oven.
     
    Bamaboots likes this.

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