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What, Pizza on a Santa Maria Grill?!!

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  • CaptainMike
    Club Member
    • Nov 2015
    • 2420
    • The Great State of Jefferson
    • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
      Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
      2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
      20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
      20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
      Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
      36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
      Fireboard
      Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

    What, Pizza on a Santa Maria Grill?!!

    When I picked up this snazzy little rig on CL for fiddy bucks it came with a very large steel lid that fit over the entire grill. At first I doubted the utility of the thing thinking the intent was for some kind of L&S cooking, which is not well-suited to how a SMG works. The lid was left outside my shop door for a while and I figured I would re-purpose it or eventually haul it off to the scrap yard.

    Then I started thinking pizza. I want to up my game so I got Ken Forkish's Elements of Pizza and started lurking around some pizza forums. We have a friend who built an awesome pizza oven and the wood-fired pies are delicious, as many of you know, but try as I might I just couldn't recreate that taste or texture in any of my other cookers (Traeger, W22, or WSCG). Then it dawned on me, would that funky lid thing trap and hold enough heat to make a truly wood-fired pizza on the SMG? The answer: Oh Yeah!!

    I did a little tinkering and came up with a temporary lid holdy-uppy contraption, made up some dough, started a fire, plopped a stone on the grill, and then did my version of pizza making. I used a dough recipe from Ken's book. He designed them for home oven use so the hydration is a little higher, everything else was pretty much standard pizza stuff.

    After about an hour of preheating the stone was hitting 800 degrees! I have to assume the ambient air in the chamber was going to be very hot as well, but that is purely anecdotal on my part. I might put a probe port in, but probably not because the pies turned out so well. I put the first pie on the stone and cranked the grate up into the suspended lid (I couldn't help thinking of the scene from Young Frankenstein when Gene and "The Monster" were being "elevated"). I checked the pie after 4 minutes and it was all bubbly and melty. I wanted a little more browning so I cranked it back up. After 6 mins I checked the crust and it was starting to turn black so I pulled it. It was a bit overcooked but delicious! I rearranged the fire for a bit cooler cook on the 2nd pie. When the stone hit 600 degrees I repeated the process and NAILED IT! Pie number 2 was as good as any I've had from my friend's oven. Man oh Manischewitz that grill is a fun cooker!

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    Last edited by CaptainMike; December 8, 2018, 08:21 AM.
  • CaptainMike
    Club Member
    • Nov 2015
    • 2420
    • The Great State of Jefferson
    • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
      Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
      2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
      20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
      20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
      Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
      36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
      Fireboard
      Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

    #2
    Oh, I almost forgot, your move tbob4!

    Comment

    • Frozen Smoke
      Club Member
      • Nov 2017
      • 1528
      • Northern Mn

      #3
      That's a great little rig CaptainMike my Santa Maria also had a cover that could be open or shut. I never thought of pizza but what a great idea. Mine was large enough I could set it up for indirect cooking. I would throw tri tip on the opposite side of the fire and close the lid and lay some smoke to em for about a half hour. Open the lid and stoke the fire and sear them on the fire side. Worked great. I'm guessing you could do the same thing! Great looking pizza!

      Comment


      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll give it a try. I'm still learning fire management with this rig but it's a fun ride.
    • Steve B
      Club Member
      • Jun 2016
      • 2935
      • Rockland county New York
      • Lonestar Grillz 24x36 offset smoker, grill, w/ main chamber charcoal grate and 3 tel-tru thermometers - left, right and center
        Yoke Up custom charcoal basket and a Grill Wraps cover.

        22.5 copper kettle w/ SnS, DnG, BBQ vortex, gasket and stainless steel hinge kit.

        Napoleon gas grill (soon to go bye bye) rotting out.

        1 maverick et-733 digital thermometer - black
        1 maverick et-733 - gray
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        Pre Miala flavor injector
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        chefs choice food slicer
        cuisinhart food processor
        food saver vacuum sealer
        TSM harvest food dehydrator

      #4
      Awesome Capt. And to think no one thought that lid had any purpose when you first got that rig. šŸ¤”šŸ‘ŠšŸ‘

      Comment


      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        Hahaha, including me Steve!
    • Skip
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 3243
      • Blue Earth, Minnesota
      • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

      #5
      CaptainMike you are having an awful lot of fun for a young Pit Member! Nice pizza.

      Comment

      • Donw
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 2977

        #6
        Genius! I would have probably just used the cover to hide a dirty grill.

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          It still works for that too, Don.
      • tbob4
        Charter Member
        • Nov 2014
        • 2256
        • Chico, CA
        • BBQ's
          _____________________
          California Custom Smokers Intensive Cooking Unit
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          Vision Grill

          Beer
          _______________________
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          Wood
          _______________________
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          Oak
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          Cherry
          Peach
          Apple

        #7
        That Jefferson Living cover has gone to your stomach! Ha. Iā€™m seriously going to have to figure out how to devise a cover contraption. That is a great looking pizza.

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          It was super easy, fun, and every bit as good a brick oven, especially the 2nd one. The crust had that crunchy veneer but still fluffy and chewy. I like a little more browning of the cheese, but ain't complaining. You might want to contact santamariagrills.com and see if it's something they made and still have. Or I could give you the specs and you can have one made up.

        • tbob4
          tbob4 commented
          Editing a comment
          Iā€™m thinking that if you devised a very small log holder that sat to the side at grate level with a solid under-carriage to protect the grill you would have a true pizza oven. The fire from the bottom and side would give you the melt you are looking for. Darn, Mike. My head is swimming with ideas now.

        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          I was thinking of banking the main fire to one side while leaving a bit of coals in the middle to keep the stone hot, then lower the whole shootin' match to take advantage of the radiant heat. Ideas a-swirling here too!!
      • Henrik
        Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
        • Jul 2014
        • 4246
        • Stockholm, Sweden

        #8
        Nice!! Smart move using the cover/lid!

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you!
      • Fire Art
        Club Member
        • Jan 2018
        • 988
        • Jackson hole Wyoming

        #9
        Luv it when a plan comes together šŸ˜Ž

        Comment

        • Huskee
          Pit Boss
          • May 2014
          • 14901
          • central MI, USA
          • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

            Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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            About me
            Real name: Aaron
            Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

            Occupation:
            • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

          #10
          That margherita is calling my name....wow. nice work.

          Comment


          • CaptainMike
            CaptainMike commented
            Editing a comment
            I couldn't stop eating it until it was gone. Made for a very restless night, but it was worth it!!

          • EdF
            EdF commented
            Editing a comment
            I've been known to have that problem CaptainMike . May even be happening tonight with some swordfish.
        • RonB
          Club Member
          • Apr 2016
          • 12569
          • Near Richmond VA
          • Weber Performer Deluxe
            SNS
            Pizza insert
            Rotisserie
            Smokenator 1000
            Cookshack Smokette Elite
            2 Thermapens
            Chefalarm
            Dot
            lots of probes.
            CyberQ

          #11
          Great thinkin!

          Comment

          • Spinaker
            Moderator
            • Nov 2014
            • 10535
            • Land of Tonka
            • John "J R"
              Instagram: JRBowlsby
              Smokin' Hound Que
              Minnesota/ United States of America

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            #12
            This is awesome! And to think.....you only got it for $50! That is a great deal. Cl strikes again. I never thought about making pizza on one!

            Comment


            • CaptainMike
              CaptainMike commented
              Editing a comment
              I wouldn't have thought that either, but seeing that dang lid every day must have planted the seed.

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