One of the most intriguing methods of pizza making I have found is using a kettle grill with a pizza oven conversion kit. Not only does it look cool, but when you combine both the grill with the kit, you have an all-around grilling/baking machine with a virtually un-matched versatility and ability to make a huge variety of gourmet edibles. Let’s see what the kit is all about!
What does it do?
Put simply, it makes your kettle grill into a pizza oven! You can certainly make pizza on a kettle grill without an insert kit, but the kit simulates (pretty well I might add) an authentic, thin crust Neapolitan or New York style pizza made in an old world, Italian, wood-fired oven. Without such a kit, you’ll need at least a pizza stone on a grate inside your kettle grill, to even approach that style of pizza, and because you’d be using charcoal only (not wood), the temps can’t get high enough for authentic Neapolitan pizza. AND, if that’s not enough, a charcoal grill offers something that is not common to many other pizza ovens, and that is the flavor that comes from the burning charcoal and wood. Unless you have either a wood fire or charcoal, that smoky, fire-ish flavor is non-existent.
- the heat in the oven remains stable because you never have to open the kettle lid to access the pizza (to turn it, or even place and remove it)
- fully made in the USA
- can accommodate an extra grill to double the cooking space
- can bake nearly anything you can put on a pan or skillet
- looks cool enough that it will create a WOW factor at your next barbecue!
- Wood handles for easy moving
- Comes with a number of excellent upgrades
- it’s not a stand-alone pizza oven, so you’ll need to have or buy, an 18.5 – 22.5 inch kettle grill
- while most reviews from owners are VERY positive, the one negative common to several customers is that while it does a great job and looks good, you can get a good pizza by using just a quality pizza stone without the entire kit
- it’s possible to end up using lots of fuel to make just a few pizzas
- can take a bit of practice to bake the pizza “just right”
Because you’ve already got the grill, the price is not terribly high. Most owners are very satisfied at the price for what you get. The “Wow” factor and “prettiness” alone are worth the hundred bucks (that’s the price as of writing this review), but its functionality is undeniable. Even those who deem it unnecessary will acknowledge its usefulness and effectiveness in delivering what it promises. The only other price consideration is the cost of fuel (both wood and charcoal), AND whether or not you’ll invest in any upgrades to expand your baking options and effectiveness (not to mention your comfort and joy!).
It’s noteworthy to mention that you can use this insert without a pizza stone. You can use a pizza steel, a pan, a skillet or just the grill itself for a huge variety of foods. For best flavor, we’d steer clear of using briquettes (just use charcoal and wood chunks), and never use fire starter or other liquid igniters. Briquettes and liquid igniters will add a negative flavor component to your pizza (just you need right?).
What Say We?
While there were some comments from owners about how this entire unit may be unnecessary (just use the kettle grill with a pizza stone), there were dozens of comments from owners saying how their results from their kettle grill without this insert were disappointing, and with it, results were EXCELLENT! Lots of owners tell us that using briquettes resulted in wonderful pizzas. From this, we gather that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Personal tastes, preferences, and priorities all come into play. The bottom line for us is that we LOVE the look of the KETTLEPIZZA kit, and with its ability to offer constant heat (via the principle of constant and consistent, controlled heat loss through the opening), the pizza turns out more evenly cooked. Pizzas baked in the kettle with a stone and no opening, often tend to have an overdone or burned bottom, but the top is under-baked as a result of having to open the grill top to access the pie during the baking process (ie. to turn it, to place it initially, to remove it, etc.). We rate it as a definite buy once we saw the final results, combined with the manufacturer claims and how most owners confirmed that those claims are legit!
I’ve included a few upgrade options if you’re looking at going all-in on this kettle option for making pizza, instead of a full-blown oven costing thousands of dollars.
Here’s a really cool option for making your pizzas just “that much better”. It’s really a big pizza stone (just happens to be shaped a bit like a tombstone). It has a charcoal and wood holder designed right into it towards the back of the grill. This is a vastly superior pizza-making surface which is not only larger, but it has no grill area since it’s not necessary for pizza and would only add to the stuff you have to clean and potentially lose toppings through!
Pizza what? Yes, it is a “thing”. It does what it does really well too! These doo-dads are meant to efficiently and quickly turn your pizza while it is baking inside your oven. Without them, you can certainly try to jiggle your peel in there and hope you don’t shove the whole pie off the edge of the stone, or you can reduce the efficiency of the whole process by putting on your oven mitts and yanking the stone out of the oven and then turn the pizza with your hands (and risk burning or gooping up your oven mits). You’ll also waste time. These Pizza Spinners are meant to finish the job in about 3.5 seconds, plus they’re a lot more fun!
I know, I know, lots of extra things to buy right? Of course, you don’t actually need this to make a great pizza, but lest you wonder why KettlePizza even makes this, here’s the (good) reason;
Firstly, it’s similar to a steel skillet, which means you can bake your pizza AND other stuff at the same time. Also, because it covers most of the entire kettle from side to side, it makes the heating zone or chamber much smaller than if it were non-existent. Your baking surface will heat much quicker, and it’ll be hotter! Those are all good things, and they add up to a more authentic pizza, as well as an investment in your family’s culinary future!
You can also get a combination kit here for a great value. It does not include the spinners, but it does include a great peel, and buying everything separately would be a bit more pricey.