KettlePizza kits promise to transform kettle-style charcoal grills into wood-fired ovens. How well do they really perform?
Published May 1, 2014. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 15: Spicing Up the Backyard Barbecue
Most ovens can’t reach the 700 plus–degree temperatures of commercial ovens. Enter KettlePizza kits, which are designed to turn 18.5- and 22.5-inch kettle-style charcoal grills into wood-fired ovens. All kits include a metal collar that elevates the grill’s lid and has a cutout that lets you insert pizzas without losing heat. We tried the brand’s most popular model, the Deluxe USA Kit ($239.95), which also comes with a round baking stone and aluminum peel. The results were underwhelming: The maximum temperature reached in the dome was about 650 degrees, and pizzas cooked unevenly. When the flames died down, we had to remove the hot equipment to refuel. The higher-end kit, the Pro 22 Kit ($299.95), performed better. A grate replacement holds the tombstone-shaped baking stone and features openings in the sides, which made refueling easy. A metal fire basket that holds wood chips alongside the stone helped boost temperatures in the dome to more than 900 degrees. Pizzas had evenly cooked toppings, perfectly charred crusts, and great wood-fired flavor. If you are serious about outdoor pizza, it’s still far cheaper than a backyard wood-fired oven.
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