How to season a pizza stone: get set for cooking on the barbecue
If you’re cooking pizza on the BBQ, you’ll need to know how to season a pizza stone. Get the lowdown
Wondering how to season a pizza stone so you can use it on your barbecue? Pizza is the perfect dish to add to your outdoor menus, widening the range of foods you serve up for friends and family outdoors.
What’s more, cooking pizza on the best BBQ isn’t hard to do. What you will need, though, is a pizza stone on which to put the pie so the base becomes crisp while the toppings cook beautifully, too.
Crucially, you don’t want the pizza to stick, which is why you might be asking about how to season a pizza stone – and our expert guide will give you the answers you need.
How to season a pizza stone
Before you think about how to season a pizza stone, be sure you have the right one. Always invest in a stone that’s made for use on gas BBQs or charcoal models, depending on what you own, or for use in a wood-fired pizza oven if you have built your own from scratch.
After that, seasoning a pizza stone – in other words, treating it so it’s prepared for use – is a cinch. Here’s how.
- When you’ve unpacked the new pizza stone, wipe it down with a damp cloth. Be sure never to immerse it in water, nor use dish soap. Wiping will remove any residue left over from the manufacturing process.
- Leave it to dry overnight so all the moisture has evaporated.
- Before cooking on the pizza stone, be sure you know how to use a pizza stone on a grill correctly and preheat it thoroughly. Fail to do this, and you risk cracking the stone.
Why isn’t a pizza stone seasoned like cast iron?
Cast-iron skillets are seasoned by heating oil to a high temperature. The baked-on oil creates a protective layer that prevents the pan from rusting and reduces sticking of food cooked in it.
A pizza stone isn’t in danger of rusting, so it doesn’t need that protection. And the way in which a pizza stone works is that it absorbs moisture from the pizza to leave the pie with a light and crispy crust. For this reason, the pizza shouldn’t stick to the stone, providing you use it correctly, preheating throughly before cooking a pizza at the correct temperature.
However, be aware that a pizza stone does become seasoned with use. This is the discoloration you see over time. ‘This patina becomes more and more non-stick as it develops,’ says the experts at Napoleon. ‘This is a natural process that will happen faster the more you use the pizza stone.’
Do you always have to season a pizza stone?
‘Seasoning a pizza stone really isn’t necessary, as your pizza will not stick to it like a piece of steak might on a cast-iron pan,’ says Derek Gaughan, owner of Pala Pizza. ‘When people discuss seasoned pizza stones, it’s really because after time, it will become darker in color.’
Joonas Jokiniemi, founder of Grill Smoke Love, agrees. ‘You should not need to season a pizza stone,’ he says. ‘The only kind of pizza stone that might require seasoning would be a cast-iron pizza stone, which of course is not made of stone.’
Note that a cast-iron pizza pan definitely is an alternative you could use as an addition to your outdoor grill station. The material needs seasoning, and it will require maintenance so it remains seasoned. Handily, cast-iron pizza pans are available to purchase pre-seasoned with oil. If you opt for one of these instead of a pizza stone, as with the stone, check before buying that it is compatible with a BBQ – we like the Lodge BOLD 14 Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan from Amazon, which can be put onto a grill.
What oil should I use to season my pizza stone?
You shouldn’t use any oil to season your pizza stone. Simply allow it to discolor through use, when it will become even more non-stick. You should, of course, clean a pizza stone between uses. If necessary, use a wooden or plastic spatula to remove any food debris left behind on the stone, then wipe with a cloth dampened with warm water. Always leave to dry for 24 hours before reusing it.
The other absolutely crucial process to prepare a pizza stone for use? ‘Always remember to preheat your grill and pizza stone so that they are very hot before you bake your first pizza,’ says Joonas Jokiniemi, founder of Grill Smoke Love. ‘This will ensure a fast cooking time and a crispy pizza just like in a real Italian restaurant.’
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.
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