Good pizza stones are not cheap, so cracking one is frustrating because it means you've got to buy another one. On top of that, you've probably gotten a bit attached to your trusty stone after using it for so many delicious pies.
There are many ways to avoid cracking pizza stones in general, but once you start cooking pizza outdoors on your barbecue, you need to start looking into pizza stones you can use on a barbecue grill to prevent heartache as well as wallet-ache.
In general, here are some common tips for preventing a cracked pizza stone:
- Don't heat or cool your stone too quickly
- Don't heat a wet stone
- Don't handle the stone too roughly
- Don't use direct heat or too high of temperatures
The last one is where regular pizza stones get in trouble with a barbecue. When working with charcoal, there's a good chance that you'll end up spilling some charcoal or wood chunks under the pizza stone, so it could be heated by direct flame.
When making pizza on a gas grill, hopefully you have an infrared setup, so it can evenly heat the stone, but even then, you'll have high heat coming from the bottom of the stone, without the option to raise or lower the stone like in a traditional oven with racks.
Unfortunately for me, I did not know any of these things when I started making pizza on the barbecue. I just tossed my stone on the grill and started cooking. Lucky for me though, I got a pizza stone that was made for the grill, so after 20 or so pizzas I still haven't cracked it. Only afterwards did I discover that you can actually crack a stone quite easily, so I did some research to find which brands of stones are grill safe.
The ones on this page have a variety of positive an negative reviews, and come in a range of prices. To get started, I'll just let you know which one I own and am happy with.
The pizza stone I own is designed to resist thermal shock (getting hot/cold fast), and can resist temperatures up to 1000ºF. These are going to be your main battles when cooking wood-fired pizza!
This stone is made of cordierite, which is the best material for pizza stones intended for the backyard grill. I am not gentle with this thing, and it's been used on both gas, as well as charcoal grills, in temperatures up to 1000ºF.
I also own several of their other products and am happy with the construction, so this pizza stone would be my #1 recommendation for those looking to barbecue their pies, regardless of gas or charcoal fuel. The downside to this stone is that it only comes in a 13-inch size.
It's good for a medium pizza, but for large pizzas, it won't work. For most people a “medium” size is good enough, especially if you're making your own dough and cooking in the backyard. Still, many other brands have 16-inch options that may be more suitable for your cooking needs.
For more size and options, then try this brand instead. They have 14-inch, 16-inch, plus some square stones.
Thermarite Pizza Stones
I looked it up, and thermarite doesn't seem to be a kind of special stone, as I previously thought. As far as I can tell, it's just a trademarked word that the Cast Elegance uses to describe a special style of, or way to specially formulate cordierite. This style of marketing is not uncommon, but it is a bit confusing!
Regardless, this particular stone has racked up numerous amazing reviews. Its marketed as being safe for ovens and grills, and many users have reported using it safely on their barbecues. It is a little more expensive than other brands though! It comes in a 14-inch or 16-inch round, or 14 x 16 rectangular.
Stopper AKA “No Spill” Stones
This is actually a really useful style of pizza stone particularly for people using accessories to turn their charcoal grill into pizza ovens.
I have found that bending over and trying to angle your pizza peel into the mouth of a grill insert accessory can be a kind of balancing act. More than once, I have accidentally pushed the pizza off the stone, and onto the grill grates, burning the crust on the wood/coal flames.
Using a “stopper” prevents this. It's basically a typical round pizza stone other than it has a raised edge on one side of the stone. This acts as a stopper, and prevents pizza from falling off the edge. This particular stone is 16 inches in diameter and almost a full inch thick, so it's a very robust stone. The reviews are in, and people love it.
PizzaCraft Rotating Pizza stone
OK, so this is pretty cool. It's a pizza stone made from a pizza company specifically intended for outdoor grilling. But the awesome thing is that it turns, so you can cook your pizza evenly, even if you have hot spots.
There's a stone on the bottom and top, with some metal between them. Then you take a long poker, and can push on the notched edges to get the pizza to turn. That's pretty cool.
Island Grillstone Brand
Island Grillstone is a brand that makes grilling stones made porous volcanic rock. The ideas is that fewer juices drip through the grilling grates, and smaller items won't fall through as well. For grilling things like veggies on barbecue, it makes total sense!
For grilling pizza, I'm not sure there's a real advantage other than the look. The stone doesn't impart any flavor, and it seems to be a bit finicky about how to heat it up so it doesn't cracked. Reviews are mixed, with lots of people complaining about cracking stones.
I have seen videos of people making pizza on these stones, but I'm not sure they are worth the extra cost and extra weight. ==> Get It Here
Colorful Pizza Stones
Emile Henry (Made In France)
Though most of the pizza stones on this list have that traditional “stone” look, these are glazed with various colors. You can choose from burgandy, granite, black, or red.
This one can stand temperatures of up 900 degrees so will be good for Neapolitan style pizzas. Available in a variety of colors, including black, red, granite, and gray. Comes with handles on each side for carrying, and surprisingly, it's made of clay instead of cordierite
Personally, I think it looks too fancy four an outdoor grilling session, but your taste may differ.
==> Get It Here