Cooking Pizza 101
Thanks to the Big Green Egg, you don’t need a wood-fired brick oven to get the best pizza – backyard grillers as well as renowned chefs around the world know that, when set for indirect cooking, the EGG performs like a super-efficient fire brick oven. In fact, EGG owners know a secret … that the Big Green Egg bakes better than wood-fired ovens ever could, because heat from the natural charcoal radiates in a convective flow within the thick ceramic walls of the dome, allowing your pizza to cook very evenly.
Our complete line of flat and deep-dish baking stones makes it easy to perfectly bake a variety of recipes, from pizza, artisan breads, casseroles, quiche and lasagna to pastries, pies and desserts. Our baking stones are made to the same specifications as the EGG itself, so they distribute heat evenly for better baking and browning, and the ceramics pull moisture from the outer surface of the pizza dough for delicious brick oven crispiness. And, because the stones retain heat so efficiently, your food conveniently remains warm longer.
How to set up the EGG for Pizza
Pizza works best using the indirect cooking method, which means adding a barrier between the direct heat and the food, turning your EGG into a convection oven. To set the EGG for indirect grilling, add natural lump charcoal to the top of the fire box and light. Open the top and bottom vents and let the EGG rise to the desired temperature. Place the convEGGtor in the EGG with the legs up and place the cooking grid on top (if you have the EGGspander, you can use a baking stone in the bottom piece – the convEGGtor Basket – to create the same effect). Add a pizza stone to the cooking grid, and allow it to come up to temperature with the EGG. Adjust the top and bottom vents to maintain the desired temperature.
Cooking a Pizza on the Big Green Egg
Dough: Whether you use store-bought, homemade or frozen dough, it will always taste better on the Big Green Egg! If you are using a ball of dough that needs to be stretched, take the dough out of the refrigerator 3 hours before you plan to start cooking to make it easier to work with. The cooking temperature of the EGG depends on what kind of dough you are using. For doughs that contain sugar, a lower cooking temperature should be used to avoid burning; doughs made with little or no sugar allow for higher temperatures. We always recommend following the product’s cooking instructions when using store-bought dough.
Sauce: There are many different sauces that can be used on top of the dough, such as pesto, red, white … or just olive oil and herb. Using too much sauce on your pizza will lead to a soggy crust; a light coat is all you need! Place the sauce in the middle and spread outward; be sure to leave about ½ inch for the crust.
Vegetables: Get creative with any vegetable that you like! A great tip is to dab the vegetables with a paper towel to draw out any moisture before adding them to the pizza. Another option is to cook the vegetables before putting them on the pizza. There is no wrong answer here; figuring out your preference is half the fun of it!
Herbs: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! You will thank us later! Fresh basil, oregano and thyme are some of the favorite herbs for pizza.
Meat: Never use raw meat on the pizza. If sausage or ground beef is used, be sure to cook it before it goes on the pizza.
Cheese: Shredded or sliced mozzarella is the favorite cheese for pizzas, but let’s be honest … any cheese is delicious! A few popular options are Romano, Asiago, Parmesan, Dry Jack, Provolone or Gruyere. Have some fun pairing different cheeses with different ingredients … Buffalo chicken blue cheese pizza, anyone?
When making a pizza for the Big Green Egg the key is to have fun with your ingredients and use the ones that make you happy!
A pizza peel is a useful tool for moving the pizza in and out of the EGG.
Spreading semolina flour (doesn’t char as easily as other flours) or cornmeal (can leave a gritty texture on the dough if you use too much) on the pizza peel and pizza stone makes it easy to get the pizza on and off the stone without sticking. Remember to put down more flour or cornmeal as needed if you are making more than one pizza.
Using parchment paper under the pizza also prevents the dough from sticking. Use a piece of parchment paper under the dough when making the pizza and, when it’s ready to cook, place the parchment paper with the pizza directly on top of the pizza stone. The parchment paper can stay the whole cooking time or you can pull it halfway through the cook when the dough is firm.
A pizza screen is yet another option to prevent the crust from sticking. Place the pizza on the screen once built and then put the screen on the baking stone. It is very easy to remove once the pizza is cooked.
As the pizza is cooking, be sure to rotate it every few minutes to ensure an even cook.
And of course, do not forget to burp the EGG when you check on the pizza!