Book Review: Build Your Own Barrel Oven

Thanks, @FredipusRex. I saw where @Andrew said "much higher than 500...", so I wonder why the discrepancy.

Book Review: Build Your Own Barrel Oven

@shuboyje: "cannot produce Neapolitan pizza"? Where does it say that? Have you read the book? (@Andrew: what is the upper temp limit?)

Regardless, there could be a lot of reasons to have an outdoor oven. To reduce the heat put into one's house (warm climate, cooking in summer). Or maybe some people like entertaining outside, being outside, cooking outside. Or recovery time--maybe someone likes doing big sessions of lots of pies. Most home ovens hobble along after the first couple of pies. Etc.

Frozen Pies and The Uncanny Valley of Pizza

@Adam, you're welcome. What I do ain't perfect, but it works. There is probably a better method, but it's the best I've come up with from many trials and errors.

Truth be told, usually when I have dough, etc., at the end of a session, I just crank out one last pie and then cut it (party cut, of course) and store in the fridge. Then I eat a few lil' squares at a time over the next couple days.

Frozen Pies and The Uncanny Valley of Pizza

HRI takes some coaxing in the oven to cook just right. For my oven, I usually cook at lower temp (415) than what the box says (450) and then cook it for much longer. Gotta let the dense, oily, flaky dough cook all the way through and let the cheese get nice and browned on top (like a true Chicago thin).

And yes, they do parbake them. They even use a heated press for the dough, supposedly, which begins the process.

For freezing homemade pizza, I've had good luck with parbaking or even fully baking my pizza. I do make a couple of adjustments, though.

First, I brush oil on the dough before saucing, to help keep the crust from absorbing too much sauce after it's cooked. Secondly, I go extra heavy on the sauce for this same reason--that even if the crust does absorb some sauce/moisture, it will still be a saucy pie.

Another major consideration is storage. Most people don't have a shrink-wrapper or such (I sure don't). I get those 2-gallon ziplock bags (or are they 2.5-gal?) and then figure out how big of a pie they can hold. From my recollection, it can hold something slightly smaller than my usual pies. I may sometimes wrap the cooked and cooled pie in foil before putting in the bag. And think about where you're gonna put it in the freezer. Do you have a cardboard disk or something to keep it from bending? Putting it on top of another boxed, frozen (store bought) pizza already in the freezer works pretty well, but plan ahead.

If parbaking, it's pretty much *just shy* of full baking. I'd say right before the cheese browns.

Reanimate on a stone, and keep an eye on it.

Is it as good as fresh? Nah. Of course not. But it's your pizza--or a version of it. Tastes like leftovers. Good leftovers, but leftovers nonetheless. The only time I really bother with something like this is when I have dough, sauce, and cheese remaining at the end of a pizza session. I'd never do this from scratch, with the sole purpose to make frozen pizza. I'd rather eat HRI, actually.

Frozen Pies and The Uncanny Valley of Pizza

Dude, Home Run Inn on the left side of the graph, next to the Jeno's 99 cent krep? You're high.

HRI is a fine pizza. Not a fine frozen pizza, but a fine pizza, period. It is better than 99% of all restaurant pizza here in my city Down South, and I would gladly have HRI any night of the week.

Closings: Great Lake in Chicago Is Moving On

Re-reading this thread, and reconsidering everything about Great Lake, their biggest issue is the fact that knowing how to make tasty pizza isn't the same thing as knowing how to run a business. It's that old adage--I'm paraphrasing--"quality, price, or customer service, pick any two." Well, GL decided to just pick one. And really, only hipsters can abide by that kind of thing, a reverse/perverse cred thing, to put up with such awful service as a badge of honor.

And cpd007 nails the bigger picture: that the elevation and veneration of Great Lake is nearly always done sneeringly, at the expense of the Chicago thin crust parlors that are beloved by generations of Chicagoans. So the outsiders come in and declare, in full chauvinistic glory, "There is finally a pizza worth eating in the whole city of Chicago!"

Closings: Great Lake in Chicago Is Moving On

Preach it, brother cpd007! We need to eat some tiny little squares of pizza together someday when I'm in town.


Closings: Great Lake in Chicago Is Moving On

Hipsters wept.

The Food Lab: How To Make Carne Adovada (Chili-Braised Pork)

"Pope of chili town."

Don't quit your day job, Chief...whatever that is...

Roast Goose Help

Save the drippings!!! And believe me, there will be a couple quarts of the stuff. It is pure flavor.

Name of a type of pizza crust

Check out the forums at Could be cracker. Could be midwestern thin. But I bet the someone over there knows the very place you're talking about.

A Pizza My Mind: In Praise of Delivery

Advice for take out or delivery: ask for the pizza uncut, and have a heated pizza stone waiting in your oven. Slide that baby onto the stone for a quick reanimation (3-4 mins), remove, and slice.

A Note About Discussing Middle Eastern Food on Serious Eats

This thread is disgusting. I thought overtly political stuff would be removed. WTH? The biases shown here are as laughable as they are predictable. One of the things I have liked about SE is the avoidance of politics. Instead, these big politically correct, leftist rants are now polluting things around here. Ugh.

New to Whole Foods

If you are a home pizza maker, I *highly* recommend the housemade Italian sausage. It is very much a pizza sausage and the recipe was developed in Chicago. As a Chicago expat, it is a huge help to be able to get genuine Chicago pizza sausage.

A Pizza My Mind: On Pizza-Like Objects

That foldable bread taco they call pizza in NY is pretty good if drunk enough.

Italian Sausage From Scratch - OK to sub sherry for the wine?

It turned out all right. A little more alcohol heat seemed to accentuate the fennel. Tasted like absinthe sausage. I wouldn't necessarily repeat this, but it worked in a pinch. Thanks, all, for the encouragement!

Italian Sausage From Scratch - OK to sub sherry for the wine?

Thank you, @Littauer. I just need to relax and assume the best! Will definitely report back. Cheers!

College Tours: Where to Eat Near Tulane University in New Orleans

Brought back some good memories! The Dough Bowl used to be called Dino's Pizza in my day. Nice place for a cheap, greasy slice. And as @aledort said, such a post will inspire everyone to chime in with faves, but I am surprised Brigtsen's didn't make the cut, given its proximity to campus.

A&S '92, baby!

Make ahead meat for 60

Pot roast. Use chuck. Braise until it's falling apart. Thicken the gravy. This would be easiest of all. Hard to beat pot roast for its beefy goodness and simplicity.

Sausage City: The Original Gene's Sausage Shop

Great write-up. What's the price differential between the old and new shops? I'd imagine the Lincoln Square place has a healthy markup.

Chicago Battles Chick-fil-A

So how do y'all feel about the opinions and laws against homosexuality that are found in the controlling members of OPEC? I assume everyone here stopped buying gasoline a long time ago, eh?

Selective outrage must be exhausting.

Fast Food: KFC's New Original Recipe Chicken Bites Are Very Good

Selective outrage must be exhausting.

Fast Food: KFC's New Original Recipe Chicken Bites Are Very Good

"a less homophobic alternative"

Guh. SE is now infected by politics? I was hoping the Two Minutes of Hate was over.

The Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know

"It's the bake time that defines the style."

Hyperbole at best. I'd say other things define the style more so. Plus, the home baker must make adjustments.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Pizzamaking

Go to and the forums there. I love SE, but that site is the real deal. Plus, you'll see all these same folks over there, discussing technique in great detail--with pictures!

Italian Sausage From Scratch - OK to sub sherry for the wine?

I'm making the Kenji Italian sausage for pizza, but I normally also add 3 Tbs white wine to the mix (for 2 lbs of pork). Tonight, I was out of wine, so I subbed in 2 Tbs dry sherry and 1 Tbs cold water.

Did I screw this up royally? Will 2 Tbs of sherry impart a radically different flavor to the sausage? I really don't want to ruin the pizza. Has anyone used sherry as a white wine substitute in small quantities like this?

Thanks for any help!

Freeze a Fresh Turkey? Am I Nuts?

I find myself with a fresh, farm pastured, locally raised turkey (read: freakishly expensive but delicious) that was slaughtered a few days ago and I did not cook I today. And I might not be able to cook it this weekend. (Long story.)

Anyway, can I freeze this thing and have it at Xmas? How much quality will it lose? It is cryovaced in my fridge right now, and I'm thinking of moving it to the deep freeze. I'd love to give it to my parents at Xmas, since I know they really want one like this. I just don't know what the freezing will do.

Ideas for SE Chicago site

In case you were lacking in ideas for the kinds of things you could include in SE Chicago, I wanted to start a list/thread on some of the foods and food topics that make Chicago special. As a Chicagoland ex-pat, I now realize how many things I took for granted that are pretty much unattainable elsewhere or just not part of the culture.

1. Hot dogs. I know Chicago dogs have gotten plenty of love on SE throughout the years, but they cannot be talked about enough. Hot dog joints outnumber all the McD's, BK, and Wendy's *combined*, according to the PBS doc, "A Hot Dog Program." Keep it comin' with the hot dog threads.

2. Eastern European foods. The prevalence of Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks, etc., in Chicago has permeated the food culture to an extent that I think most Chicagoans take for granted. I know I did. It was a rude awakening to go to a potluck and not see sausage and sauerkraut as a staple. And kielbasa/kolbasz/kolbasa at every cookout. Lightly dressed homemade slaws that taste nothing like the crap turned out by supermarkets. Dark ryes. SE Chicago could spend weeks on Bobaks, Joe & Franks, Gilmart, and other fine purveyors of Eastern European meats. And the holiday foods? Where's the nutroll, kifli, etc., etc. In fact, that leads me to...

3. Holiday foods. When I go home to Chicago at Christmas, every party has the same goodies that are found in no other city. The aforementioned nutroll and kifli but also pierogi and so much more.

4. Gyros. Yes, gyros. They were invented in Chicago. And a Chicago gyro is without peer.

5. Butcher shops. For those who live in old cities in the North, do you realize that butcher shops are not found everywhere? I think there's one in the entire city where I live now in the South, and I've never even been (far away, high prices). In Chicago, you have butcher shops everywhere, serving up great meats at great prices.

Pizza dough: why make individual dough balls?

I've been making homemade pizza with the same recipe for 10 years this summer, and since only one month ago have I ever bothered to break up the dough into individual balls--after the first rise, for the rest of the cold ferment.

I really like it breaking it up into ready-weighed portions, but besides this convenience aspect (i.e., as opposed to breaking off pieces from a giant dough ball to make individual pies on the day of baking), is there any real reason to do the whole dough balls thing? The convenience is undeniable, since it offloads one task from baking day, but are there any other benefits to the dough itself?

The Pizza Lab: Foolproof Pan Pizza

I've got a confession to make: I love pan pizza. I'm not talking deep-dish Chicago-style with its crisp crust and rivers of cheese and sauce, I'm talking thick-crusted, fried-on-the-bottom, puffy, cheesy, focaccia-esque pan pizza, dripping with strings of mozzarella and robust sauce. If only pizza that good were also easy to make at home. Well here's the good news: It is. This is the easiest pizza you will ever make. Seriously. All it takes is a few basic kitchen essentials, some simple ingredients, and a bit of patience. More

The Food Lab's Top 9 Tips For Perfect Apple Pie

The perfect pie is equal parts science and art, and there are few things more intimidating in the American culinary repertoire than pie crust. How many of you have slaved away at a crust only to have it crumble upon rolling? How many of you have pulled a beautiful pie out of the oven only to realize upon slicing into it that the perfectly golden brown crust is leathery or tough? Or that your apple pie filling has turned mushy in the oven? Here are the most essential tips and techniques that will guarantee a perfect pie for your Thanksgiving table. More

Top 10 Most Popular Thanksgiving Posts from Last Year

Easy Pie Dough

This makes enough for two single-crust pies or one double crust pie. For a slightly more tender crust, replace up to 6 tablespoons of butter with vegetable shortening. Pie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking. More

The Food Lab Lite: Ultra-Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

The other night, I accidentally woke my wife up at two in the morning. "I couldn't sleep so I decided to make a lasagna."

She stared at me blankly for a moment, turned around, and shuffled back to the bedroom, muttering "what did I marry?" under her breath. If she had given me a longer chance to explain, I would have been able to foist the blame squarely on the shoulders of Serious Eats community member KarmaFreeCooking, who started up a Talk thread titled, "Vegetarian Lasagna Throwdown—Ideas To Win Over Any Meat Eater", explaining that she'd been issued the challenge of bringing a vegetarian lasagna good enough to compete with a meaty lasagna to a lasagna party.

I was not invited to this party, nor was I officially challenged, but challenge accepted anyway.


Perfect Brownies

These brownies are not a mocha-macchiato-molten-center brownie, a death-by-triple-truffle brownie, or a cheesecake-chocolate-crack brownie. They're just a good 'ole basic brownie. No hoopla, nothing fancy, but soul satisfying good. More

Classic Potato Salad

How does the tang get in the tater? Read all about it here. Note: Cornichons are small salty pickles that can be found in most grocery stores. If unavailable, regular dill pickles or pickle relish can be used in its... More

Chicago: Obbie's Pizza is a Garfield Ridge Institution

In the food world, Garfield Ridge on the southwest side of Chicago is fairly unexplored territory. But the locals there swear by Obbie's Pizza, a delivery and carry-out only hole in the wall that's been making customers happy since 1977. While my hope that I'd stumble on a place that should be a city-wide legend did not materialize, I did have some solid pizza. More

Standing Room Only: Scooter's Frozen Custard

To order from the walk-up window at Scooter's Frozen Custard, just pull the string next to the window. It is connected to a bell inside, which clanks back and forth a few times, alerting the staff inside that you're ready. This is an operation built almost entirely on frozen custard, and it's a silky smooth foundation. More