I got excited when I first read about the release of a grill component that claims to turn your standard 22.5” kettle grill into a neapolitan-style baking oven. The product is called the KettlePizza. It’s a pretty simple design. Weekend warriors have been making homemade components and augmentations like this for years. But the slick design of the KettlePizza stands apart from those DIY efforts. It’s available in several models at tiered pricing. This is the base model.
It costs around $150. That’s a lot to pay for $20 worth of sheet metal. If you want the model that comes with a pizza stone and a wooden pizza peel, you’d better be prepared to pay $220. Or you could go all out and pick up the KettlePizza Pro for $300. That’s on top of the cost of the grill.
Several bloggers reviewed the benefits and limitations of the product. They found that there was a flaw in the design of the KettlePizza. The extended dome height in a standard kettle grill lid allows for heat to rise well above the surface of the pizza. As a result, the bottom of the pizza cooks much faster than the top.
These product testers modified it with varying tricks to finally get a pie that has the char spotting on the crust and the gooey melt and browning of the cheese. To his credit, the creator of the KettlePizza took the insight gained from those and other reviews to heart. The good news is that he brought an improved product to market. It’s called the Serious Eats KettlePizza Special Edition Kit. The bad news is that it costs $475.
If I was going to spend that much money on a pizza oven, I’d build the real thing. But I’m not that big of a homemade pizza enthusiast, so I decided I’d create my own modified kettle wood-fired pizza oven.
Since the big problem with hacks/accessories like the KettlePizza is that they raise the dome height too much, I decided that I didn’t want to make an extender for my grill’s lid at all. And since I think pizza stones are overpriced and prone to cracking, I decided that I could make my own kettle-grill-to-wood-fired-oven conversion kit with just a new grill lid, a kiln shelf, and some hardware.
I put this ad on Craigslist.
The next day, a guy in town told me that he’d sell me one for $25 on the condition that I take the whole kettle grill. So I dismantled it, put it in some trash bags, and tossed it into the trunk of my car. Now I just have to figure out exactly how to make this work.