I was nearly 30 before I made a pizza on the grill, and now I can’t imagine a better summer meal. Grilled pizzas are light and crispy, using less crust and toppings than a traditional oven pizza. Cooking on the grill also keeps the heat out of your kitchen during the warmer months.
Makes 4-6 small/medium pizzas
- 1 batch of super dough (see recipe)
- Flour for kneading surface
- Olive oil (for grilling)
- Toppings, according to taste (see combinations below)
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10-12 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep dough from being sticky.
- Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a damp towel.
- Place in a warm place to let dough rise (one easy way to make sure you have a warm area is to dry a load of laundry during this time and put the bowl on top of the dryer). Allow dough to rise for one hour. It should double in size.
- Punch down dough. If preparing dough for later, store in a container with lots of extra room – ziploc bags with all of the extra air squeezed out have worked well for us. The dough will expand, even in the refrigerator, so check it every once in awhile to let out extra air. We have kept dough in the refrigerator for 3 days – it may keep longer, but I don’t want to guarantee it.
- Divide dough into portions according to taste. It should be divided into at least 4 small crusts for ease of use on the grill
- Roll each portion of dough into a circle or short tube (we do tubes because it creates a longer rectangular pizza, which allows us to fit more pizzas onto the grill at one time). Stretch the dough until it is very thin. Thick pizza crusts don’t work well on the grill.
- Turn on grill to low heat. The goal is for the temp to be about 375 degrees when the crusts go on. It will drop when you open the grill for placing, flipping and dressing the crusts – that is fine.
- Using a fork, pierce each crust multiple times to prevent air pockets. Then, brush the top of each crust lightly (but thoroughly) with olive oil.
- Very quickly, transfer crusts to grill, oiled side down. Grill the pizzas in batches – we never do more than 3 at a time, regardless of size – you’ll see why once the crusts are flipped. Don’t try to adjust the placement of the crusts right away – they stick like crazy for the first few minutes. Close the grill cover.
- After a few minutes, check the crusts by gently lifting the corner of the crusts. They are ready to flip when they lift as one rigid piece. Try not to let them overbrown before flipping – you end up with a charred taste underneath your toppings. Ew. Crusts may be ready at different times, depending on width and placement in the grill.
- Before flipping, brush the uncooked side with olive oil. Then, gently flip the crust. Have all of the toppings ready to roll nearby – seconds matter here.
- Dress the pizzas. Small amounts of toppings go a long way on grilled pizzas, especially in the cheese and sauce departments. Because of the crust width and the cooking method, there will not be much time between when the toppings go on and when the crust starts to burn. Work quickly, preferably with a friend in a well-coordinated effort. Some of our favorite combinations are listed below
- Close the grill cover as quickly as possible. Give it 2-3 minutes, then start checking the crusts for doneness. They should be golden brown, with lightly melted cheeses on top. The cheese will continue to melt for a few minutes.
- Remove, cut into pieces (if only to force yourself to wait a few minutes for it to cool), and enjoy!
Some great toppings for grilled pizzas:
- Tomato sauce, chopped fresh basil, veggie sausage crumbles (or “fauxsage,” as it is called in our house), a little whole milk mozzarella* and some grated parmigiano reggiano.
- California cheeseburger: tomato sauce, veggie sausage crumbles, sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese, topped with crispy bacon and fresh baby spinach or arugula on the grill, then chunks of avocado and tomato at the table.
- BBQ sauce, chicken, grilled red onions and bell peppers, mozzarella, gouda, crispy bacon.
- (From Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”): Olive oil, fresh herbs, prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano
*Whole milk mozzarella. It has one more gram of fat per serving than part skim mozzarella. That single gram of fat (yes, it’s saturated, but it’s ONE GRAM) buys you much better flavor and texture. Whole milk also melts much better, so you end up using less cheese – it’s a wash. Use whole milk mozzarella, especially for grilled pizzas. Part-skim just can’t melt fast enough during the short period the toppings are on the grill.