After a few months of use, I’ve learned what not to do and how to use Expert Grill charcoal pizza oven. First, the pizza oven is easy to use and pretty lightweight if you remove the stone. So far, it has taken a lot of abuse from me and the fires I create. There is some paint chipping at the back of the oven, where you make the fire. This is probably from me accidentally throwing fuel on the metal and catching it on fire. Besides that, the stove still looks good, and the handle did not melt or fall apart.
Tips on How to Use Expert Grill Pizza Oven
After assembling the pizza oven, you want to clean it up and start your fire. I start my fires with charcoal and then build them up with a few small wood slices. I also left the charcoal outside in the rain a few times and used only wood to build a fire. No matter what you use, the fire will get hot and heat the oven. The highest temperature we’ve reached is 800F but we don’t want it hotter than 700F.
I like to cook my pizzas in the Expert Grill charcoal pizza oven once it reaches 600-700F. One thing I quickly learned is that the stone needs to get hot. While the oven temperature can promptly reach 700F, the stone requires a little more time to heat. Give the oven a good 15-20 minutes to heat up, making sure to keep loading the back with charcoal or wood. So while you work on slicing your veggies and prepping your dough, have someone else mend the fire.
After heating the pizza oven for 15-20 minutes or more, depending on your fire, you can place your pizza. Make sure that your pizza dough bottom doesn’t have too much flour. This will burn your pizza stone and won’t cook the bottom of the pizza either. Plus, who wants flour on their pizza?
After placing your pizza in the charcoal pizza oven, let it be for 30 seconds. If your fire is too hot, push the pizza towards the front so it doesn’t catch fire. Every 30 seconds or so, spin the pizza 1/4 way. Your pizza should be done to perfection in 2-3 minutes. Again, this depends on your oven temperature, pizza dough thickness, and the toppings you’ve added.
Once the pizza is done, place it on a surface where it can breathe from the bottom. We use a steel pizza pan screen, which we got for under $5 at Walmart. We’ve used it to make pizza in the electric oven, which helps cook the pizza more evenly. Give the pizza a minute or so to rest, cut it and enjoy it!
How NOT to Use Expert Pizza Oven
Some basic things not to do with your pizza oven are:
Placing the pizza in too soon – While no one likes to wait, you need to have patience and wait for the pizza oven to heat up. The pizza oven needs to heat up, and the pizza stone also needs time to retain the heat. A cold pizza stone will not cook your pizza from the bottom. Instead of perfectly cooked pizza, you can end up with raw dough and a white, soggy bottom.
Turning your pizza too soon – If you want to see that pizza dough rise and fill up with air, let it be. Leave the pizza dough to rise for at least 20-30 seconds before turning it. Turning the pizza too soon can prevent it from growing fully for an airy pizza. Instead, your pizza dough might end up chewier and dense.
You don’t need to close the pizza door – The pizza oven door comes off and should stay off when you’re cooking the pizza. It will release heat when you do this, but your pizza will be OK for two minutes. It will also make it easier to see the pizza rise and brown when you need to turn it.
Check your charcoal basket often– When it comes to charcoal pizza ovens or wood-burning pizza ovens, you need to ensure the fire keeps going. If the fire dies, the oven temperature will drop fast, and your pizza will not rise or cook evenly.