Several on the Virtual Weber Board asked if the door on the Firedome is really necessary? It's a question that I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't interrogate before embarking on this project. Let's say we configure the fuel and cooking surface the same and:
1. remove the entire dome and slide a pizza on or
2. open the little door of the Firedome to slide a pizza on - which is better?
In the earliest stage of this project, I simply assumed the temp in the dome, if we were to remove the dome, would drop so much the top of the pizza wouldn't cook adequately because the time to recover the heat would be too great.
I charged up the Firedome and ignited it. Took about 30 minutes to get to 500F or so, placed a probe in the dome and measured the following:
a. door closed on the Firedome for 10 minutes,
b. opened the hatch for 10 seconds,
c. closed it and let it ride for 10 minutes,
d. removed the dome for 10 seconds,
e. let it ride for 10 minutes - view temp profile
Pretty big drop in temperature removing the dome (opening the little door, 10°F drop, removing the lid, 100°F drop). I didn't try cooking on it during this expt., but I suspect if it takes too long for the temp to recover in the headspace, the food is in danger of overcooking on the bottom before the top gets cooked.
After the expt, while the grill was hot ... a little focaccia for lunch and dinner.
Firedome, part 1