Jeff Krupman (aka PizzaHacker) is doing some very cool things in the pizza world. His oven, dubbed the PizzaForge (formerly called the FrankenWeber) is a true wood-fired pizza cooker that is ingeniously built onto a ubiquitous Weber 22.5″ grill. Even better than having designed a compact oven that can hang with the best of them, he’s sharing his creation by hitting the streets and selling his pies all over San Francisco. And, he’s fine-tuning the design and will be selling it commercially very soon. Totally awesome.
I first heard of Jeff in early 2010 when a few big blogs posted about his oven and pizzas (Make blog; Lifehacker). After exchanging emails and a quick meetup in LA a couple months ago, I got the chance to test Jeff’s pizza at an art event last Friday while visiting San Francisco. My excitement compounded when he asked if I’d like to be on oven duty for the night, as his regular helper was unavailable. Three hours of pizza making in San Francisco? A dream! I wish every Friday could be like that.
The pizzas cooked better than any I’ve ever made before, besting the one I made in the temporary oven last year. You just can’t beat the hot temperatures of burning wood and the convection of the shallow dome. 90 seconds per pizza, just like the best pizzerias do it. Jeff only uses top-grade ingredients as well, and the art gallery patrons were all quick to purchase and devour as many pies as he could make. The three hours passed by in a blink of an eye.
Jeff warned me that by the end of the night my mind would be swirling with thoughts, ideas, redesigns – he was right. He’s onto something phenomenal and his latest version of the oven shows some serious progress from the original version, and the next iteration should have some nice improvements that he described to me. I’ve got a list of ideas I’d like to see him add to it too.
One of my other discoveries was the excellence of the perforated pizza peel that Jeff uses to place the pizzas in the oven. Anodized aluminum construction, with slotted perforations that help the dough resist sticking (a problem that all pizza makers fear) and a knife-blade edge for ease of getting the dough on and off. The peels are expensive, and worth it. I’m going to be drilling my standard-issue metal peel to attempt a DIY version and will report back with results.