Wednesday, 26 September 2012

035 - Quick Baby Back Ribs


There is one type of BBQ food that always seems to cause debate about the best way to cook it. So far, I’ve not come across another cut of meat where opinions differ so greatly on how to get the best end result. I’m talking about ribs. And whether you foil them or not, want a dry bark or saucy glaze, melt in your mouth meat or a little bite – there seems to be a multitude of different methods. And everyone thinks that their method is the best, and that every other method isn’t “Real BBQ”…!

In a series of posts, I’m going to try a few different methods of cooking baby back ribs, and try to describe the different result each gives. The first method, and number 36 in the list of 100 things to BBQ is Quick Baby Back Ribs.

I say “quick”, because some methods can take hours of slow smoking, whereas this method makes use of foil wrapping straight from the start, to speed up the cooking process.

UK butchers, or at least the ones I have visited don’t seem to stock racks of ribs. They consider them an off-cut from the loin, and generally seem to be discarded or possibly sold individually and pre-glazed. I’ve actually had better luck finding them in supermarkets. If you can find them, “baby back” ribs may also be called pork loin ribs. Don’t buy the individual ribs that have already been cut, you’re looking for a whole rack.

Regardless of method, the first step is always to remove the white membrane from the back of the rack. If left attached, this can be quite tough and it will stop any rubs, sauces or smoke from penetrating and flavouring the meat. To do this, start by gently feeding a small sharp knife under the membrane until you have enough to get a grip of. Then, gently pull the membrane back – it should come off neatly in one piece.

When the membrane has been removed, you’re ready to apply the rub. I used a mix of paprika, garlic granules, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Although I have since been advised that celery salt can be a tasty alternative to sea salt in a rub.

Ensure the rub is evenly distributed over all of the ribs, including the sides and ends. Then, double wrap in some heavy foil. It’s important to get a good seal on the foil, because you don’t want any juices escaping from the parcel while the ribs are effectively being steam-baked. The secret of this recipe, and other foiling methods, is that by sealing the ribs in an airtight parcel, they cook quicker without drying out, which results in tender and juicy meat.

The ribs are then moved over direct medium heat where they will be left for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. To give you an idea of the heat level, I used two thirds of a chimney charcoal starter of briquettes spread out in a single layer and closed the top vent roughly half way. Cooking over direct heat really speeds the process up and is only possible because of the foil, otherwise the ribs would quickly dry up. I also flipped the ribs about 3 times during cooking. Be careful not to tear the foil when you flip the parcel.

After the time is up, remove the parcel from the grill and let it relax for a few minutes. In my case, I need to leave the BBQ lid off to let the charcoal get back up to a decent grilling temperature. When you’re ready, open the parcel and move the ribs back to the grill over direct heat. Don’t be too concerned about the “grey” appearance of the ribs at this point. They are actually cooked at this point – however unappetising the may appear! Now it’s time to create a sticky glaze…

Flip the ribs every few minutes, and baste with some of your favourite BBQ sauce each time – being sure to replace the lid each time. After 10-15 minutes of repeatedly basting, you should be left with a much more appetising looking rack of glossy mahogany ribs. Yum!

Remove from the grill, carve into single rib portions and serve immediately.

When I first read about this method, I was sceptical. Having read about the “slow & low” methods, I thought these quick-cooked ribs were going to be tough and chewy. But they weren’t – the meat slid clean off the bone and melted in your mouth. They were probably lacking a little bit flavour wise, because most of the flavour came from the sauce and rub. But overall, I was really impressed.

Next up, the 3-2-1 method. 6 hours of cooking compared to 1.5 – it had better be worth the wait! :-)

Have you tried this method? What’s your favourite way to cook ribs? Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

034 - Grilled Apricot Dessert


When I made the switch from pre-soaked bags of flinty-charcoal, to decent briquettes – one of the first things I noticed was how much longer they kept their heat. It meant that even after I had finished cooking, the BBQ was still roasting hot. So, if you don’t think it’s worth shutting down and relighting the remaining charcoal at a later date, but also don’t want to waste all that heat, what do you do...? Cook even more food of course! BBQ Desserts! :-)

Number 34 on the list of 100 things to BBQ, is Grilled Apricots served with ice cream, caramel sauce and shortbread. This is from Weber’s Barbecue Anytime book.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler – there is hardly any prep. The apricots are halved, stones removed and placed on the grill. Be sure to clean the grill first with a decent brush – nobody wants burnt bits of meat in their dessert! Flip them every few minutes to make sure they don’t catch - you’re really just warming them through and removing some of the raw-ness from the skins.

While they’re on the grill, scoop a couple of balls of ice-cream into each serving bowl. For the caramel sauce, I used Nestle’s tinned Carnation Caramel and beat it in a bowl until I achieved the desired consistency.

Then, add your apricot halves to the bowls (3 or 4 halves per serving is about right), drizzle over the caramel sauce and crumble over some shop bought short bread.

A really simple dessert, that with a little effort on presentation, can give really good results. And a great way to make the most of the heat your BBQ is still kicking out :-)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

033 - Asparagus and Parma Ham

A year in to this project, and I’m roughly a third through :-)

Number 33 in the list of 100 things to BBQ is a side dish that I’ve turned to a few times throughout the summer… Asparagus with Parma Ham.

Asparagus is very seasonal, and at its absolute best during the summer. Simply grilling it with a little olive oil over medium heat brings out its unique flavour, and in my opinion, doesn’t need to be over-worked. The recipe I use, from Weber’s Complete BBQ, uses a quick and simple vinaigrette along with parma ham to complement its subtle, fresh taste.

The vinaigrette contains lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, finely chopped shallots with a little seasoning and can be made way in advance and stored in the fridge ready for when you need it.

The asparagus itself doesn’t need much prep. Just wash gently in cold water, and then snap off the woody bases from the stalks. Most of the vinaigrette is poured over the asparagus directly before grilling, but keep some back to be used before serving.

I tend to use a medium direct heat to cook asparagus. Hot enough to cook it quickly, but not so hot that it dries out the delicate tips before the thicker stalks are cooked all of the way through.

The parma ham can be added to the grill at this point to. Make sure that your grill is nice and clean otherwise you risk it sticking to them. It’s very thin – so if it sticks, it’s going to tear. It really doesn’t need much cooking time on the grill because it is so thin – just a minute or so on either side. Then remove from the grill and leave to continue to crisp up and cool down.

Once the asparagus is cooked, move them to a serving platter and pour over the remaining vinaigrette. Then, tear and crunch the parma ham into smallish flakes and sprinkle over the top. Voila!

I’ve served this with pork loin, prime rib and more recently tuna steaks. But I think it’s a great accompaniment to most summer BBQs.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

032 - Sausage Calzone on the BBQ


I really enjoyed making pizzas on the BBQ with weber’s pizza stone so in this post I make a folded version. Number 32 in the list of 100 things to BBQ... Calzone!

I chose to make a sausage calzone as a nod of acknowledgement to the staple product of most British BBQs (and still one of my favourites...), the sausage in a bun :-) These were cooked on the BBQ while some peppers and onions were fried in olive oil until soft.

The bread machine was dusted off and put to good use again to produce the dough. I actually made enough dough to make garlic pizza bread as well. But after an experiment using the pizza stone without the included baking tray – these had to be binned! That stone gets hot..! And my anticipated thin and crispy garlic pizza bread quickly turned into a burnt mess without the protection of the tray… I won’t be trying that again :-)

After shaping the dough, I spread passata over most of the surface, leaving a border around the edge. Then arranged the sliced cooked sausage, peppers, onions and mozzarella balls over one half of the bases before folding over the other half and crimping the edges with a fork.

After the garlic bread incident I was sure to use the tray to cook these. I also planned to flip the calzone half way through to try and get an even colour on the crust. Normally, I don’t think flipping would be required – but I found that I struggled to get a decent colouring on top of my pizzas last time as the vast majority of the heat comes from underneath.

After a few minutes on each side these were ready to eat. Hot sweet peppers and onions, meaty sausages and gooey cheese all mixed with a tomatoey sauce and wrapped in a crispy and doughy shell... what’s not to like really? :-)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Pulled Pork Omelette - BBQ Leftovers


Left-overs at the BBQ… surely an oxymoron right?! :-) But on the rare occasion that I have BBQ left-overs, it’s nice to do something a little different with them. For this, I actually cooked some extra pork shoulder when I’d fired up the water smoker one day to make sure that I had some spare pulled pork to bag up and put aside in the freezer.

To defrost the pork, I took the advice of @RacksofRuin and added the sealed freezer bag to a saucepan of warm, but not hot water. You could also do this in a slow cooker full of water, and activate it with a wall socket timer. Imagine getting home from work, and having hot BBQ waiting for you!

For the omelette mixture itself, I lightly mixed 4 eggs with a little milk and seasoned with a good amount of Byron’s Butt Rub.

When the butter in my medium-hot pan started to gently bubble, the egg mixture went in. I don’t like to meddle too much with omelettes, just gently move a spatula across the pan at the start to break up the flakes of cooked egg that start to form. Not too much though – I didn’t want scrambled eggs with my pulled pork :-)

Once the eggs have cooked most of the way through but still have a little runniness on top, I added the thoroughly defrosted pulled pork and a generous portion of grated cheddar on top. Then folded the omelette and continued to cook for a couple of minutes, flipping it over half way through.

And there we have it! A Man vs. Food style plate of BBQ good-ness. And also, a great way to get your fix of slow smoked BBQ flavour mid-week.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

031 - Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


Number 31 on the list of 100 things to BBQ is Shredded BBQ Chicken. Piled high on a toasted bun, with home-made slaw, this is a treat and quick to make. The recipe I used can be found in Weber’s new book.

Sometimes called “pulled chicken”, this recipe mimics some of the deep BBQ flavours of the frequent favourite, Pulled Pork. But because it doesn’t benefit from the slow and smokey cooking process, the flavour comes from the addition of seasoning and spices. In this case, one of my favourites, smoked paprika.

The first step is to apply the butterfly some chicken breasts and apply the seasoning. I love the colour of paprika! Some varieties can be quite hot, so use wisely ;-) These can be left out of the fridge while the seasoning does it’s job, so that the meat is up to room temperature before you start to cook.

While I waited for the charcoal to get up to temperature, I got on with the job of making the slaw. In this case, it was a mix of grated carrot, finely sliced white and red cabbage, a little sugar and a mix of 4 to 1 with mayonnaise and cider vinegar. This gives you quite a mild flavoured coleslaw, which for this recipe is perfect – because the flavour of the chicken and paprika will be the stars of the show, the coleslaw is mainly there for freshness and texture.

As with most small grilling jobs, I used my Smokey Joe and set it up with the briquettes under one half of the cooking surface. This gave me sufficient space to grill the chicken and later, enough room to keep the chicken warm in a foil tray while I toasted some buns.

Butterflying the chicken allows them to be safely cooked over a high direct heat without fear of burning the outside before they’re fully cooked inside. Just be sure to turn them occasionally, and keep the lid closed as much as possible. Once cooked, I moved them to a foil tray and shredded them with a pair of forks before adding just enough BBQ sauce to moisten the mixture.

The chicken is then piled high on a toasted bun, with lashings of coleslaw mounded on top. The result? Really quick, and really tasty BBQ chicken! If you have a hankering for a good ol’ smokey BBQ sandwich, but just don’t have the time to smoke some pork shoulder – this is a great alternative.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

030 - Souvlaki Lamb Skewers


I love cooking on the BBQ…

Nothing like stating the obvious! But as much as I love letting large cuts of meat cook on the BBQ for hours, tending to the coals, topping up the wood and basting the meat… sometimes I just don’t have time. So number 30 in the list of 100 things to BBQ are quick and simple lamb skewers with corainder and garlic. This recipe is from Weber’s Complete BBQ book.

Prepping the skewers can be done while you are waiting for your charcoal to get up to temperature. So if you only use half a chimney of briquettes, you can have these skewers ready to eat within half an hour of starting!

I prefer to use the Smokey Joe for quick grilling cooks, since it uses a lot less charcoal – which means it takes less time for all of your charcoal to get up to temperature.

The recipe called for a whole leg of lamb, which is then diced into bite sized pieces. But since I was only cooking for 2 people and didn’t need a whole leg I just bought some pre-packed diced lamb. The cubes of meat are threaded on to skewers, alternating with cherry tomatoes and pieces of green pepper. The whole skewer is then brushed with a mixture of chopped fresh coriander, garlic, olive oil and seasoning.

These were then grilled over a medium to high heat, keeping the lid on as much as possible but turning once or twice, for 7-8 minutes. Served with a tzatziki-style cucumber salad, these make a really tasty and really quick summer evening meal.

Since the grill time was so short, I was able to extinguish the briquettes and re-use them the next time I got the BBQ out… which was the very next day! :-)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

029 - Pork Belly Ribs


I realised yesterday that it’s been over a month since I added something to the list of 100 things to BBQ… what a slacker! If you follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that it’s not because I haven’t been using my BBQ – quite the opposite. I guess I’ve just been too busy BBQing to write about it :-)

So, with that in mind – number 29 in the list is a Rib-in Pork Belly Joint.

Back in April I visited one of the town’s butchers and asked if he had any ribs in stock. Apparently, it was too early in the summer for him to start stocking them fresh but he did have some in the freezer. The rack he offered me still had the belly cut attached, which wasn’t really what I was looking for, so I just took half of it (about 5 ribs worth).

One of the most popular items on the list so far, based on visits to that page is the Roasted Pork Belly with Crackling I posted in January. I decided to cook this in pretty much the same way, although since this joint already had the skin removed there would be no crackling.

I started by scoring the fat on top of the joint to help it render down during cooking and then removed the membrane from the bone side. Then I used some California Ranch Wild Hog rub to season the meat liberally on all sides before leaving it at room temperature for half an hour while I set up the BBQ.

I piled a chimney full of briquettes against one side of the BBQ, and placed a foil tray with some water in on the other side. The tray helps to catch any drips from the meat, and water creates steam which helps to keep your meat moist. Then I added a couple of chunks of wood to the charcoal, added the cooking grate back in place and placed the pork belly above the foil tray.

Total cook time was somewhere between 3-4 hours. I adjusted the top-vent to keep the temperature around 250F. I’d mixed some California Rancher Oaky Smokey BBQ sauce with a little apple juice and applied this all over the joint a few times during the cook – and added more wood after the 1st hour.  Most importantly, I let the ribs rest, loosely covered in foil after I took it off the BBQ.

These were juicy! We served with a baked potato, a simple green salad and some more of the warmed sauce on the side. The left overs kept us in sandwiches for the next couple of days!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

028 - Sausage-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

A friend recently asked whether pork was the meat I cooked most frequently on the BBQ. I replied in the affirmative! After all, the pig is the tastiest of all the animals... Being constructed of pork tenderloin (aka. fillet) stuffed with smoked pork sausage, this recipe is beaten only by the infamous Bacon Explosion on the porkiness-scale :-)

Number 28 in the list of 100 things to BBQ is a Myron Mixon recipe. If you haven't heard of Myron before, you really should check him out. He's a BBQ competition legend and the author of Smokin!, the book that this recipe was taken from. He can also be found on twitter.

The first step is to prep the tenderloin by removing any pieces of silverskin, and by creating a small hole along its length (ready for the smoked sausage to be fed through). To make the hole I used a very long, but narrow sharp carving knife and fed it through the length of the pork, before slightly twisting the blade round to open a large enough hole. You don't want the hole as wide as the sausage, since it needs to be a snug fit - just large enough to force it inside and feed it all the way through. I used a pre-cooked pre-smoked sausage for simplicity, but if you wanted to smoke your own sausage, I'm sure it would make this recipe even better.

Once the sausage is in position, the ends are trimmed to make it tidy and a rub is added to the outside of the tenderloin. I chose to use California Rancher's rubs and BBQ sauce for this recipe. At this point I left it in the fridge for a couple of hours for the rub to do its work.

This recipe required smoke and I chose to use apple wood chunks to complement the pork. Wood chunks give a longer smoke time than wood chips, which tend to release all their smoke very quickly. To turn my kettle BBQ into a smoker I simply piled all of the coals up against 1 wall, added some soaked wood chunks on top and placed a disposable foil tray directly above the coals to create steam. I also ensured the top air vent was positioned on the opposite side to the coals, to ensure the smoke was drawn across the cooking area. Piling the coals up against the wall limits the amount of oxygen to the coals, which controlls the temperature and lengthens burn times.

After about 45 minutes cooking time, it's time to add the sauce, giving it time to go nice and sticky. By this time the smoke was starting to fade, so I added a couple more wood chunks to the coals. 15 minutes before the end of cooking I added another coating of sauce.

The recipe itself talks about "showing off", and it certainly ticks that box, it's a great centre piece to a meal :-) Pork tenderloin is really easy to cook as well, so the hardest part of the entire recipe is creating the hole and stuffing the sausage through, and it's pretty much plain sailing from there. We enjoyed it with whiskey BBQ beans, baked potatoes and a few bacon wrapped peppadews.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

027 - Whiskey BBQ Beans

Beans, beans are good for your heart... The more you eat, the more you...

Quite a few ingredients needed for this recipe, and a little bit of prep required. But a great side-dish to throw onto the BBQ if you're already planning to smoke your meal. Number 27 on the list of 100 things to BBQ... Whiskey BBQ beans! :-)

Another recipe from Weber's Foolproof book, this recipe actually starts with Heinz baked beans which are first rinsed from their tomato sauce, before being added back to a rich dark sauce of your own creation. If you wanted to, you could experiment with different types of beans, and I might try that in the future (I'm thinking a mix of cannelini and borlotti...).


Onions and streaky bacon are fried off until crispy before all the other ingredients are added along with a good glug of whiskey (or 2...). This is then simmered for a few minutes before the rinsed beans are added to the mixture. The recipe calls for the use of a Dutch Oven but as I don't have one of these I found that I got good results by just using a disposable foil tray. Using the foil tray also saved me some space on the grill.


I was smoking a sausage-stuffed pork tenderloin, and some peppadew ABTs that day and the tray of beans slotted nicely beside them, ready for a good hour to hour and half of smokin! :-)

If you're wondering what the tray directly above the charcoal is for - it's full of water and creates steam inside the BBQ, helping to control the temperature and keep the meat moist. After about 1 1/2 hours of cooking, they were ready.


These were very very tasty, and I'll definitely be cooking them again! You can certainly taste the whiskey, and the smoke adds a nice deep flavour to the rich and sticky sauce. You'll think you're in the mid-west, tucking in to some cowboy beans fresh from the campfire!


Monday, 19 March 2012

026 - Steak Pizzaiola and Chips

Sometimes, you just can't beat a good steak cooked over flaming coals! And what accompanies a steak better, than chips? This was another weber recipe, from their Foolproof book. The steak is served with a spicy tomato based sauce, and even that is started on the BBQ...

Number 26 in the list of 100 Things to BBQ, Steak Pizzaiola and Chips!

The recipe calls for sirloin, but the butcher I use at my local market had sold out by the time I'd visited them that afternoon. He did offer some lovely slabs of rump steak though - so that is what I used for this recipe. I've absolutely nothing against supermarket meat, I buy a lot of it myself, and some of it is really good - but personally, I enjoy going to the butchers and selecting the cut I want. I like the theatre and the experience that picking up a pre-packed tray can't deliver.


Anyway, back to the subject in hand!

To make the sauce, the tomatoes first need to be peeled. To do this, they are placed over direct heat until the skins start to blacken and blister. Usually I would just blanch them, but this method is much more fun... because it involves fire! :-)


After they have been peeled, de-seeded and chopped, the tomatoes are fried off with some garlic and a little olive oil. Some herbs and chilli flakes are then added to give it a healthy kick.

Onto the steak next, which is very simply seasoned before being grilled over direct high heat for a few minutes with the lid down as much as possible and turning only once. A famous UK TV chef has recently proclaimed that this method is wrong and that the steak should be flipped every 15 seconds to avoid either side getting too cold during the cooking process. My steak tasted great, and I only flipped it once - no faffing required! :-) What I believe is more important than the cooking method itself, and this goes for any meat, is to allow the steak to rest properly before serving.


So while it was resting, lightly covered with foil, I got the chips cooking. The potatoes were sliced into thin french fries, coated with a little olive oil and seasoned lightly with sea salt. These were then cooked over direct heat using a perforated grill pan.


The chips ended up a little under done, and to be honest, whist I'm happy I tried this method, I'm not sure if I'd bother doing chips on the BBQ again when they're so much better either fried or roasted in the oven. The steak was really tasty though and the sauce packs a zingy punch thanks to the chilli - yum! :-)


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

025 - Chicken Salad Pittas

So I'm a few months in to my quest to BBQ 100 things, and I'm already a quarter of the way through. Unusually for the UK at this time of year, the weather has been very mild – making me optimistic for a nice hot summer. This has put me in the mood for something a little fresher tasting, and this recipe fitted the bill perfectly. 

Number 25 of 100 things to BBQ – Chicken Salad Pittas. I found the recipe in Weber's Foolproof recipe book.

The recipe uses chicken thigh fillets, which with the help of the marinade hold up really well to the direct heat of the coals and stay really moist. If you're on a health kick, you could substitute these for chicken breasts, just be careful not to dry them out. Personally, I think thighs are much more flavourful.

The marinade is an tasty mix of lemon juice, olive oil, with a nice selection of fresh herbs and spices. The chicken is then left in the marinade for a few hours in the fridge.

The charcoal I'd used for the Chicken skewers I'd made the previous weekend had only been burning for about an hour, and I'd dutifully extinguished them by closing the air vents. As this recipe also only required a quick grill, I popped the briquettes back in to my starter chimney and re-lit them. 

While the BBQ was getting up to temperature I prepped the other ingredients. The salad is a really simple combination of sliced ripe tomato and a lettuce leaf of your choice. Personally I like the crunch that only an iceberg has, and I prefer mine to be shredded. And as I was cooking – that's what we had! :-)

The pitta breads are halved length ways, and then opened up, ready to receive their filling. 8 thighs will make roughly 8-10 portions, so you'll need 4-5 pittas.

The thighs needed roughly 10 minutes over direct heat, with the lid down of course, turning occasionally. They're done when they're completely opaque, and you can usually tell by their texture as they firm up during cooking.

After they had cooled for a couple of minutes, I sliced them into strips, added them to large bowl and added enough dressing to give the meat a light covering. This was then added to the pitta breads, along with the salad and presented on a serving plate for everyone to tuck in!

A brilliant meal for a long hot summer evening, here's hoping we have some this summer! :-)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

024 - Pizza on the BBQ

For Christmas my lovely girlfriend gave me a Weber pizza stone. If you haven't seen these before, it's a flat round tile that can be used on a barbecue's cooking grate and used to bake bread and pizzas. The stone distributes the heat more evenly, giving your dough an even bake and most importantly... a crispier base! :-)
The stone is also supplied with a metal baking sheet, which is useful for moving your raw pizzas to the grill.

However, mine seemed to warp slightly when I placed the 2nd pizza on to the stone so that not all parts of it were touching the stone. It didn't seem to affect the end result, but I'm wondering if using a pizza paddle to place the pizza directly onto the stone might give even better results.

Apologies for the quality of the photos in this post - as much as I enjoy winter night-time BBQs, my camera phone doesn't cope well with the light levels :-)

First things first, the dough. For a previous Christmas, my girlfriend bought me a bread-maker... can you see a theme starting to appear with our present choices? (...we both love food!) It has a pizza dough setting, so it was as simple as adding the ingredients into the mixing bowl and waiting a couple of hours for it to start beeping.

For the sauce, I combined a tin of chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic and oregano with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Then reduced it on the hob until it was the desired consistency. I would say a minimum of 30 minutes on a low rolling simmer, but the longer you leave it, the tastier it will be. And I chose to use mozzarella  as my cheese of choice, tearing it up into small chunks after draining.

The stone is placed directly over the charcoal, and needs to be pre-heated for at least 10 minutes before cooking on it. Weber advised that I should use a whole chimney of briquettes. I made a couple of pizzas on the night. One BBQ chicken, and another Veggie supreme... our favourites from the local Dominos! As you'll see from the photos... my dough rolling skills need a lot of work!

Overall I was really pleased with the results - the bases were nice and crisp, with a fluffy crust and gooey topping.

I did find though that I'd had to leave the pizzas in for longer than expected, mainly because the top of the dough appeared a little pale. So maybe I need to experiment with the position of the coals, and place a few around the outside of the charcoal grate to increase temperature on top of the grill (rather than focussing it all under the stone. Or maybe I hadn't rolled the bases out thin enough... I guess I'll just have to keep eating pizzas until I get it right! :-)