Earlier this month, our Boy Scout Troop camped on Whidbey Island at Fort Ebey State Park. We were in a group site located on a bluff with amazing views of Port Townsend, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, the Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Canada. Friday night, we had gale force wind gusts, which made it a bit challenging to get all the tents up, but we managed.
Saturday dawned bright and clear with only an occasional shower. It was a great weekend and I was cooking for the Scoutmasters, which is always fun. The menu included a few favorites like biscuits and gravy, and cornbread, but I also field-tested a couple of new recipes, so in the coming weeks I’ll have some winners to share. The menu also included personal pizzas for lunch on Saturday, thanks to one of our scoutmasters.
Recently, Mr. Weddle purchased an Italia Artisan Pizza Oven from Camp Chef. It’s a self contained unit that hooks up to a propane tank. It can run on a 1lb disposable propane bottle or a standard bulk propane tank. It puts out 17,000 BTUs and oven temperatures can reach upwards of 700°F. And, it only weighs 47 pounds so it was easy to move.
It was designed to replicate the performance of a wood-fired brick oven from its double walled construction and specially designed burners to its ventilation and cordierite ceramic pizza stone. I’d say Camp Chef nailed it. The pizzas came out great! We were all very impressed.
I have to preface this by saying, in the five years I have known him, Mr. Weddle has never cooked on a campout. So, it was so much fun to see him get all excited to use this pizza oven and he, literally, took over my camp kitchen and personally made pizzas for all 10 of us scoutmasters, including himself. And, yes, that is a little pink rolling pin in his hand in the picture below. It was a gift from his beautiful wife so he could roll out his mini pizzas.
He brought store-bought pizza dough and a couple different jars of pizza sauce. He brought a variety of meats and some shredded cheese. I provided more cheese and some vegetables because he doesn’t “do” vegetables. I’ve mentioned several times in previous blogs how I have to sneak them into whatever I am making. So, between the two of us and a couple of other scoutmasters, we had quite the variety of pizza toppings.
Mr. Weddle divided his dough and made personal-sized pizzas for each of us. He was able to bake two pizzas at a time, and they cooked pretty fast so it didn’t take long at all to make 10 pizzas. The dough was cooked, the toppings were hot, and the cheese was melted and gooey, just as it should be.
Because it was cold and windy, he did struggle a little with maintaining the air temperature inside the oven. As a result, the stone was a little hotter than it probably should have been. Some of the pizzas did get a wee bit black on the underside, but it didn’t affect the flavor too much.
Overall, I’d rule it a success and told Mr. Weddle his pizza oven was welcome in my camp kitchen any time!
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