You should know by now that Kate and I are big pizza fans. Actually, we’re fans of most everything in the white-starchy-carb family and also the hot gooey cheese family. So naturally, pizza finds its way to our hearts. You should also know by now that I’m kind of obsessed with the grill and I’ll try to find a way to cook just about anything on it. Grilled pizza is waaaay up high on my list of favorite summer foods. Not only will it save you from heating your oven to 500 degrees in the middle of the summer, but it tastes AmAzInG. The dough puffs up and cooks to a perfectly soft/chewy consistency. The smokiness of the grill adds an extra dimension of flavor and the end product is something you won’t believe. It reminds me of the pizza that comes out of an old brick oven, or something you’d get sitting outside at a quaint Italian Bistro. Not that I’ve ever eaten at a Bistro in Italy- I don’t even know if that’s Italian, but it totally sounds like it would work, right?
I posted about this last summer, but I thought the tutorial could use some re-vamping and certainly some new pictures. I’m going to give you a ton of tips and show you how to do this step-by-step so you’re sure to have success on your first try! Here we go.
You’ll need pizza dough. Duh. You can use any pizza dough- whatever you normally use to make pizza at home. (What? You don’t make pizza at home? Shame on you! You need to read this.) You could also buy dough. Many grocery stores and bakeries sell fresh, raw pizza dough. I’ve never grilled the kind in the tube, but even that would probably work if you’re in a pinch. I use this recipe and it makes 2 medium/large pizzas or 4-6 smaller personal pizzas.
I suggest going a little lighter than normal on the toppings for a few reasons. 1. It will keep the pizzas easy to work with and easy to move around, etc. 2. The toppings will cook faster and be sure to be done if they’re not piled on heavy. 3. Probably the biggest reason- the grill adds so much flavor and texture that you don’t want (or need) to overpower it. Grilled pizza works great sauce-less, or try it with marinara, bbq, or garlic alfredo.
Alright- let’s do this step-by step.
First you need to preheat your grill. This is an important step. The rack needs to be nice and hot so the dough will start cooking immediately and the overall temperature needs to be hot in order to act like an oven when the lid is closed. I set my gas grill to medium-high heat, and leave the lid shut.
Next, get all of your toppings ready. You have to move very quickly while on the grill so everything needs to be prepared and easy to grab. I usually set up a platter with everything I need and keep it next to the grill.
When your dough is ready, roll it out with a rolling pin, or even just use your hands to press and stretch it. Now listen. Throw all of your preconceived pizza notions out the window. You don’t need to make round pizza. I did for these pictures, but normally, I actually make them more rectangular because I have a giant rectangular shaped spatula to flip them with. The irregular shaped dough is part of the rustic beauty of grilled pizza. No rules! Don’t you feel daring??
Size: I find it easiest to make several small pizzas, especially if you’re trying this for the first time. If you want to go big, don’t go much larger than 2 pizzas per this recipe. That’s about a 9-10″ max. I like to do 4 small pizzas. You get a good 6-8″ pizza that will easily feed one very hungry adult or a couple of hungry kids. Another benefit of doing several smaller pizzas is that you can try out a bunch of different topping combos. Kids love having their own!
Once your dough is flattened out, drizzle a little olive oil on one side and brush it around
You’ll want the heat to stay inside so it acts like an oven and cooks the dough. The timing all depends on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the dough. But it usually only takes about 5 minutes or less. Have a spatula handy to lift up the dough and check it. You’ll want to see nice brown grill marks, but avoid burning it. If you can tell that your dough is cooking too fast and too hot, you may want to use indirect heat. For a gas grill with multiple burners, turn off the burner directly under the pizza, but leave the others on. For a charcoal grill, move the charcoal to one side of the grill and place the pizza on the other side.
Look at this picture:
Can you see the difference? If you look closely (you can click on it to enlarge) you’ll see that the top pic is all doughy on top and the bottom one is puffed and you can tell it’s dry to the touch. That’s a good sign it’s ready to flip. Check the bottom for nice grill marks. Right before you flip it, brush a little olive oil on the uncooked side.
As soon as you flip it grab that tray with your toppings and put them on the cooked side right away. Shut the lid again and leave it shut. The second side cooks pretty fast. If the bottom of your pizza is done, but the top still needs to cook, you can place it on an upper rack if you have one.
Take a peek at the bottom crust and as soon as it’s done and your cheese is all melty, grab a spatula and pull it off. I like to make a bunch of small pizzas and throw them all on cutting boards in the middle of the table and just let everyone cut into them.
Asian BBQ Grilled Pizza