Let me, please dare to assume that you love pizza and want to turn your Weber Smokey Mountain into your small Ooni Koda or wood-fired oven is your Everest.
Pizza making is about techniques, time, and temperature; the ingredients come second.
When you’re a pizza lover and know how your homemade Italian-style pizza should come out, you just want it to be blissful.
AWWW, you seem to agree with me; I apprehend it!
Why wait for the best part of your life — eating the artisan pizza at your dinner table that your Weber Smokey has cooked for you?
To help you enjoy that music of appreciation as a pizza master, I’ve come up with a list of the most important Weber pizza-making tips. These tips will help you cook as many pizzas as you want.
Why not begin, then?
Here we come!
Top 11 Tips for Making Pizza on WSM
Relax and reflect when reading the list of tips that can help you bake perfect pizzas without a pizza oven. You can also make a checklist of those for the future or save this article. Let us begin now!
1. Please Plan it!
Ruining a pizza is easy!
As soon as the thought of grilled pizza clicks your mind, make pizza dough or get a frozen pizza crust, top it with your favorite pizza toppings and cook it.
You’ll get a burnt or hard-to-chew pizza crust with the worst taste.
So, what to do?
- Get all essential tools, e.g., infrared thermometer for cooking, pizza stone, pizza peel, and enough fuel to power your grill.
- Choose the right pizza recipe, preferably an authentic Neapolitan pizza recipe.
- Make the pizza dough 24 hours ahead.
- Prepare the pizza sauce at home or get it from some best brands.
- Learn to handle your dough properly.
- Learn how you should stretch the pizza the right way, etc.
- Little preparations will save you time.
2. Get an accurate infrared pizza oven thermometer.
When discussing prepping, I’ll exclusively recommend getting an infrared pizza oven thermometer.
An infrared pizza oven thermometer is a must-have. Yet, the most crucial is to have an accurate thermometer to record the pizza stone’s surface without launching the pizza on the fiery “bed.”
3. Set up the Weber Smokey Mountain as a grill.
Weber Smokey Mountain has been designed for slow smoking, and it’s why it reaches 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit temperature—this temperature is lower than what your pizza needs.
However, pizzas usually need a higher temperature of 500-800 degrees Fahrenheit. The 450-500 degrees temperature range is achivebale on electric ovens or gas grills. In contrast, the wood-fired oven, gas-fueled pizza makers, or charcoal grills can prove more efficient. So you should aim for a higher temperature of 700-900 degrees.
It’s pretty simple.
Just place the charcoal ring in the pan section and light the charcoal, keeping all vents open. When the charcoal has been fully lit, the WSM is ready to cook your pizza-first, you need to preheat the pizza stone. You can follow this video tutorial to set up your WSM as a charcoal grill.
4. Preheat the pizza stone first.
The biggest mistake after the wrong pizza dough recipe is not letting the pizza stone/pizza steel get hot. The science of pizza making demands a balance between time and temperature—I call it science, not art.
When your charcoal grill is ready, place the pizza stone over the grill grates by creating a gap between the grates and the pizza stone. And let it preheat for 30-45 minutes with a lid on the grill.
The key is that your infrared thermometer must record a temperature above 600 F to mimic the actual wood or gas-powered pizza oven surface.
When using a WSM as a charcoal grill, you can easily hope for a higher temperature of about 900F with the lid over it. And if you remove the lid, it can be up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, preheating a pizza stone topped with a lid will reach the optimum temperature to cook the pizza.
5. Place a pizza stone on your Weber charcoal grill correctly.
Naa! You aren’t allowed to place pizza stones directly on the grill grates! Not only will it cause direct heat to burst your pizza stone but uneven heat for the pizza as well.
So, you’ve to get convection heat for your stone.
Place fire bricks underneath (The image is for pizza steel, but if you’re using a pizza stone, then use small pieces of fire brick, placing them horizontally to lift the pizza stone over the grates by 1.5 – 2 inches).
Place another pizza stone under your pizza stone with some nuts on the second pizza stone to create a gap between both of them.
When heated this way, the pizza stone won’t have hot or cold spots, and eventually, your pizza will cook evenly.
6. Record the pizza stone temperature at different spots.
You’ve preheated the stone, you can prepare it and put it on the stone!
First, take the pizza stone temperature readings from the middle and the other spots, e.g., near the outer ring. If it’s above 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ve got a stroke of luck to enjoy pizza.
Place your pizza on the pizza stone. But if it’s not hot yet, wait until it’s.
Remember, if you’re making a regular New York-style pizza, land the pizza on the stone when the temperature is about 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit on its surface and let it cook for 5 minutes before checking it.
Yet, if you’re aiming for a Neapolitan pizza, your pizza stone should record a higher temperature between 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit and cook in a few seconds. So, be careful with your traditional Italian-style pizza.
7. Stretch the pizza evenly.
Grilling a pizza on a charcoal grill itself is a hard nut to crack the first time. The reason is that you already have one drawback while grilling pizza—you can’t get those mesmerizing leopard spots on your pizza crust like a wood-fired oven. No flames are going to cook the pizza top dedicatedly.
And it becomes almost impossible to get a good pizza if you fail to stretch your pizza dough properly. And unevenness results in a burnt or undercooked pizza crust.
So, practice shaping your pizza dough into a perfect crust.
8. Hope for not get leopard spotting on your pizza, but some browns
If you’ve enjoyed a Neapolitan pizza, you might wish to have a similar pizza at home. But, when cooking pizza on a charcoal grill like Weber Smokey Mountain, it can be a bit diff. to achieve the same fluffy but fully cooked crust with leopard spots. You can still try out some tips:
- Get the pizza stone as hot as possible—above 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray some olive oil on the pizza crust’s outer rings so that the heated oil may raise the temperature of the crust’s top and help cook it faster.
9. Don’t Use parchment paper on your pizza stone, but only if it’s unavoidable.
Parchment paper can burn on the grill….
Parchment paper can reduce heat distribution for the pizza crust…
These are two primary reasons I’ll advise you not to use parchment paper to transfer the pizza on a pizza stone. But get a pizza peel and learn how to use it.
Little practice can make you a pro.
10. Let the pizza cook for 5 minutes before checking the crust.
Wood Fired or gas pizza ovens are the fastest to cook pizzas—they only take 60-90 seconds. However, the case is not the same as any other method.
When you place your pizza on the pizza stone with a surface temperature of 450-600 degrees, cover it for cooking, it’ll take 5- 20 minutes, depending on the crust and topping’s thickness.
It’s common to be eager and start checking the pizza crust, I understand it!
Please don’t open the WSM lid. Opening the WSM lid causes the temperature to drop by 150 degrees Fahrenheit—enough to ruin all your effort. Resultantly, you keep on waiting to cook the pizza, which will take more time, causing a hard crust.
So, before checking your pizza for the first time, wait for 5 minutes, then let your pizza cook until it’s done—if you see the toppings bubbling and the crust turning brown underneath, the pizza is done.
11. Let the pizza stone get hot before cooking the next pizza.
Congratulations, I hope you’ve got your dream pizza from your Weber Smokey Mountain. And you’re planning for the next one.
Stop for 10 minutes, please.
Let the pizza stone reheat again. Waiting for 10 more minutes is unnecessary, but you should aim for a suitable temperature. For this purpose, again, use your infrared thermometer. If the temperature is above 500 degrees Fahrenheit, cook the next.
Can you use pizza steel on a Weber Smokey Mountain instead of a pizza stone?
Yes! You can surely use pizza steel instead of a pizza stone to cook pizza on a Weber charcoal grill or any other grill. It’ll require less time to heat and also keep heat well. However, beware of following the same guidelines as for pizza stone:
- Raise it higher than the grill grates—you can better use fire bricks.
- Record the temperature over 500 before sliding your pizza over the pizza steel.
- YET, the preheating time will vary between 20-25 minutes–significantly low.
Do you need Weber pizza oven kits for pizza work on WSM?
No! You don’t need to get the Weber Pizza Oven Accessory, your Weber Smokey Mountain, or Weber Kettle (even). To me, those have been pretty unnecessary. You can’t rotate your pizza, and the opening, despite imitating the Ooni Koda, causes a fair heat loss.
Following the above-mentioned tips, you can get your best pizza from your Weber charcoal grill or any other egg smoker.
How long will it take to cook a frozen pizza crust on Weber Smokey Mountain?
The frozen pizza dough will also take almost similar time when you bake it on WSM. so you can look forward to checking your pizza after 5 minutes.
Which hydration pizza dough is the best for WSM pizza?
My vote is with 60-70% hydration pizza dough, which is ready for a Weber grill. If you’re a beginner with pizza making, use 60% hydration pizza dough—it’ll be easy to stretch and cook better.
However, using 80% hydration pizza dough can be challenging to handle and requires much time besides higher temperatures to come out fluffy and fully cooked.
GOOD LUCK with your First Pizza on Weber Smokey Mountain!
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