I shot this post at the very beginning of grill season, and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself for publishing it while it’s still barely relevant. My blog is so now.
So pizza is one of those things that’s really hard to pull off when you are at home. I mostly don’t bother making it myself because my attempts are pathetic compared to what I can eat at a restaurant with proper pizza ovens that run at a thousand degrees or whatever. That said, I have been known to grill a pizza from time to time, and it’s actually delicious enough and unique enough from delivery, parlor, and fancy pizza joints to merit it’s own event in my opinion.
When you decide to grill pizza, there are some things you need to do to make it a pleasant experience. You need to get your toppings pre-cooked and laid out next to your grill. You definitely need to pre-roll your dough (once you start grilling there’s no time to wait for dough to be rolled) and you must absolutely keep the dough from sticking to anything, which is easier said than done. My favorite method requires non-stick aluminum foil and copious amounts of spritzed or brushed olive oil between each layer of foil. When counter space is at a premium, it’s really helpful to be able to roll out a pizza, add foil, and lay the next dough sheet right on top.
Make sure you have a layer of foil under each piece of dough, because it makes the perfect dough carrier and you can literally slap the entire thing down on the grill and peel the foil away once the dough is slightly set. Trying to get a flimsy dough sheet onto the grill without a foil sling is kind of treacherous really, so I recommend you don’t.
I’ve heard people say that the best way to make grilled pizza is with a super hot grill to mimic the inside of a pizza oven, but I have to disagree. I go for medium heat (according to my gas grill, which is probably 400 degrees but it doesn’t matter too much), grill one side, flip, and add toppings. Medium heat should be hot enough to get some blistering and char on the bottom, but not so hot that the pizza is burnt before you’ve finished assembling it. And good luck assembling a pizza with your fingers that close to the grill grate when it’s super hot. Ha. Again, medium heat.
This gas grill is old and was frankly on the fritz when I made this pizza. The heat was all uneven and sputtery, but the pizza still turned out tastier than anything you can make in your home oven. If you have your toppings ready and your dough isn’t sticking to everything, grilled pizza is hard to screw up.
Coming along nicely there, eh? And check that charred crust below.
Another piece of advice, when you grill pizza don’t make it a sit-down dinner affair. You can only do one or two pizzas at a time on the grill, so think of it as a grazing night, with some appetizers, maybe a salad, and permission for everyone to swipe a slice of freshly grilled pizza as soon as it hits your cutting board.
I’m not really a pizza dough expert, but I’ve used the exact same artisan bread dough (in 5 minutes a day) recipe for pizza and I liked it a lot, though the dough was a little tricky to roll out. Use your favorite dough recipe or even buy some if you want. The grilling is what’s important here.
-lots of non-stick aluminum foil
-a rolling pin
-a pastry brush or oil spritzer
-pizza dough (use the google)
-all the toppings your little heart desires (here I used spicy marinara, pancetta, caramelized onions, wilted spinach, garlic olive oil, ricotta, and mozzarella)
1. Start by prepping your toppings. If you want to use sausage or bacon or veggies, get them pre-cooked. Shred your cheese, put your sauces in bowls, and get them all lined up on a tray that you can take out to the grill when you’re ready.
2. Roll out your dough into foil sheet-sized 1-2 person portions (oblong, maybe 12-14 inches). I like to go as thin as possible, but I’m not very good at it so I usually end up with pillowy crusts anyway. Just keep in mind that dough fluffs up a lot when it bakes, so you probably need to go thinner than you think. Use flour while rolling to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.
3. Make a resting place for your rolled-out pizza dough with one large sheet of non-stick foil on the bottom. Coat that piece of foil with olive oil and lay out your first piece of rolled-out dough. Coat the dough with olive oil and add another piece of foil on top. Continue like this, alternating foil and dough until all your dough is rolled out and stacked up.
4. Clean your grill and pre-heat it to medium-ish. Once the temperature is even, get your toppings set up near the grill.
5. Carry your first pizza to the grill by peeling the foil under it away from the dough beneath it. Slap the entire sheet of foil on the grill, dough-side down. If the foil lifts away immediately, great. If not, wait a minute for the dough to set up and peel the foil away.
6. When your dough is marked on one side, flip it over with tongs and start adding your toppings to the cooked side. Once it is topped, check the bottom crust for progress. Lower the lid if your cheese needs to melt further. When the crust is cooked to your liking (I like mine nice and brown with some blackish bits) use your tongs to slide the pizza to a plate.
7. Carry your hot pizza to a cutting board for dismantling and immediate consumption.