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I have a charcoal grill (Big Green Egg) that has a ceramic insert that can be used as a heat shield or as a pizza stone. My stone is black from drippings and smoke. I'd like to cook some pizza on it, but I'm not sure what I should do to clean it.

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5 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Perfect. Sounds like your pizza stone is nicely seasoned. Scrub it with your stiffest brush, rinse with water, no soap, done. If you're paranoid about germs, cook it before cooking on it. Throw it in the oven at a few hundred degrees, for 15 minutes or so.

Ideally, you're supposed to heat the stone (thus sterilizing it) before slapping the pizza upon it anyway (although that requires a pizza peel).

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The other reason you should pre-heat the stone is to get it nice and hot so the crust cooks rapidly. –  ceejayoz Jul 17 '10 at 20:24
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My pizza stones explicitly say to never use water on them, as it can cause them to shatter in the oven. The other safety option is to put them in a cold oven, and let them come to temperature so any trapped moisture escapes gradually. –  Rowland Shaw Jul 21 '10 at 20:51
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@Cinque: We also learned a hard lesson when we got our first stone. A pizza should not be the first thing you cook on it. The dough will fuse to the stone and you will need a chisel to remove it. Season the thing. Coat it with oil and bake it, cook a few strips of bacon on it the first few times you use it, etc. Anything but a pie until it is properly seasoned. And yes, even when it's seasoned, coat it with cornmeal. –  raven Aug 31 '10 at 3:29
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I scrape any crusted-on stuff (like pizza cheese) then rinse with water to get any soot off.

Never use soap on a pizza stone - they're porous, so it'll pick up a soapy taste that'll take forever to get out. Nothing wrong with it turning black - it's just becoming seasoned.

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I concur with all of the people above that the black burned on parts aren't at all a problem.

However if you want that buff color back, I got it back on one of mine accidentally. I had a pizza stone that basically lived in my electric oven. During some holiday or another I stuffed it under the lower burner of the oven, and forgot it.

Later I ran the electric oven self cleaning cycle. When I opened the oven I was shocked to see a big buff colored disk in the bottom of the oven! It had been black for so long I hadn't seen it when I pulled out the thermometer before cleaning the cycle and had forgotten it was down there.

I don't know that it won't break your Big Green Egg Plate Setter. I use the aforementioned pizza stone on top of mine to keep the BGE part cleaner.

I have used this technique a few times to clean up pizza stones others thought were "ruined' or "finally seasoned." But with an Egg part I suppose I would worry that it might break, and I would have to replace it. Pizza stones are much cheaper than Big Green Egg parts.

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I second this. The self-clean on my oven cleaned up all the caked on stuff off the stone and turned it to fine white powder. Anything remaining is assuredly inert. –  Naseer Aug 24 '10 at 15:42
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As long as the black stuff won't rub off on the pizza, blackness shouldn't matter.

You should probably heat it for a while to burn off any rancid fat that has been sitting on it since you last used your grill. After its cool, a putty knife and a Brillo pad should clean it up enough.

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I've had many disasters on my stone. I used to freak out and would spend a lot of time trying to clean it.

All you need to do is scrape off the crusted on dough/cheese once the stone has heated off. The rest will burn away next time you heat it up.

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