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Want pizza with a crispy, chewy crust and delightful smoky flavor? Then try throwing your pizza pie on the grill!

Before brushing it off as a silly idea, consider some of the perks of pizza grilling:

1. Who wants to heat up their oven (and their kitchen!) to over 400°F on a hot summer day? By taking the cooking outdoors, you also take the added heat outside with you.

2. Whether you use a charcoal or gas grill, the smoke it generates will help give your pizza more flavor. Plus it better mimics a traditional wood fire oven than your conventional oven.

3. You can get the whole gang involved. If you have a large grill, consider inviting friends over for a pizza-making party. Everyone can contribute toppings, make their own custom pie, and then hang out under the stars.

Plus it is super easy! Here’s a how to grill your first pizza:

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (you can purchase at your local supermarket
  • Olive Oil
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Your favorite toppings (With grilled pizza, the crust is the star. Choose a few simple ingredients that can showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust)
  • Flour or corn meal (this will be used to dust the cookie sheet)

Directions:

        1. Make your pizza dough, or use prepared dough from the store
        2. Prep work: Prepare the grill for direct heat. Fill a small bowl with olive oil, to be used for greasing the grill grates and brushing the pizza. Prepare your toppings (cheese, tomato sauce, etc.) so they are ready to go on the pizza. Lightly dust a rimless cookie sheet with flour, or corn meal, so the pizza dough will not stick to it.
        3. Shape the pizza dough into rounds that are ¼ inch or less thick. You can do this with a rolling pin, or by using your fingers to stretch the dough out. Once you’ve stretched the dough, leave it for 5 minutes, and then push out the edges with your fingers again. Keep the edges of the pizza flat, you should finish with a round shape, about 12-inches in diameter.

If you are preparing the pizza dough for a party, you can make several smaller pizza dough rounds and keep them in your refrigerator for up to two hours before cooking. Simply stack the individual rounds and separate them with wax paper.

      4. Once your grill is hot, take a tightly folded up paper towel and dip it in your olive oil; then using tongs, grease your grill grates by wiping them with the towel.
      5. Place your rounded pizza dough on the lightly-dusted, rimless cookie sheet. Using two hands, let the dough slide off the cookie sheet and directly onto the hot grates. Don’t worry if it droops a little through the grate – it’ll firm up fast. Close the lid of your grill and let cook for 2 minutes.
      6. Open the grill, using a spatula check the bottom of the pizza. The bottom should be browning; if it is not, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time. Once the crust has set, it should be easy to pull off the heat with tongs or a spatula.
      7. Once the pizza dough has browned lightly and evenly on one side, use your cookie sheet to remove the round from the grill. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so the grilled side is facing up. Re-cover your grill so it retains its heat.
      8. Lightly coat the surface of the pizza with olive oil, then use a small amount of sauce to coat your pizza (if you use too much, it will end up soggy). Sprinkle on your toppings, and remember to go light – too much will weigh down your pizza and result in a soggy pie.
      9. Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill, close the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes. The bottom should just begin to char and the cheese should bubble. Remove from the heat, and let rest for a couple of minutes on a flat surface before cutting into slices.

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