I haven't made pizza in well over a year, due to my dietary changes, but I would put a pizza stone in the often at 500 and let it heat for 45-60 minutes. Pizza would only take about eight minutes. I think beginners overlook this step for the most part. There is a big difference preheating your oven with the stone in to 500 and also preheating the stone. What you refer to is key in the process. When we cook on the grill we split between directly on the grill and using the stone. Since our apt is about 900 sq ft preheating our oven at 500 for 45 mins raises the temp significantly, especially in the summer. I feel I can get the Weber Genesis hotter than our Bosch gas range fwiw.