Pizza on the Grill
My ideal self would have the time, skill, and motivation to build a wood fired pizza oven in my own backyard. I would order bricks and concrete, buy a saw at Home Depot, invest in a good pair of work gloves, and download instructions from any of the myriad resources on the internet. I might even decide I need a pair of overalls for the job, since they happen to be in style at the moment.
My actual self is more likely find a way around all that heavy lifting. I’d use the time it would take to build a pizza oven to read last Sunday’s Style Section while sharing a bottle of rosé with Mr. Mom’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, pizza would be cooking on the outdoor oven I already have: Pizza on the Grill.
Outdoor Grill as Pizza Oven
Cooking pizza on the grill is a method I’ve been using for years with terrific results. The scorching temperature of the grill, along with a pizza stone as the foundation for cooking, do a bang up job of emulating the real deal. The result is a perfectly burnished crust within minutes that is superior to anything I get out of my indoor oven.
How to Make Pizza on the Grill
Here’s how it goes down:
Heat A Pizza Stone
Put a pizza stone on the grates of your outdoor grill. Turn the gas to the highest heat (or get your coals going if using a charcoal barbecue) and shut the lid. Let that get as hot as it will go. I sometimes grill vegetables at the same time, since they make a great side dish.
Use a Pizza Peel
Meanwhile, build your pizza on a well-floured pizza peel (the official term for the wooden board with a long handle you see in pizzerias). I find a pizza peel indispensable for shuffling the pies onto the grill, but you can use a floured cutting board or baking sheet without sides instead. For the dough, use your favorite store bought option or check out this recipe for no-knead pizza dough.
Transfer the Pizza
Carry the pizza out to the grill, lift the lid, and carefully transfer it onto the pizza stone, pulling the pizza peel away as you lay the pizza on the stone.
Cover and Bake
Cook the pizza until it is very crisp along the bottom and bubbly on top. I use tongs to pull it off of the stone and onto a cutting board.
Cut right into that beauty and enjoy, perhaps with last Sunday’s Style Section and a glass of rosé .
This is not the only way to do pizza on the grill, it’s just the best way I’ve found. If you don’t have a pizza stone, my friend Chris, a skilled home cook, recommends building your pizza on a baking sheet and setting the baking sheet on the grill. When the pizza is firm enough to transfer, slide it directly onto the grill grates and cook until crispy.
If you like Pizza on the Grill, you might like these other pizza recipes:
Pizza on the Grill
- 1 pound pizza dough , homemade or store bought
- Tomato sauce or pesto sauce
- Shredded Mozzarella or other firm grating cheese (or sliced fresh Mozzarella)
- Favorite toppings , such as arugula, olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearst, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and prosciutto
Put a pizza stone on the center of the grill. Turn the grill to the highest setting. For a charcoal grill, get the charcoal going. Close the lid to the grill.
Divide the pizza dough into 2 equal balls. Lightly coat pizza peel or a wooden cutting board with flour. Roll out one ball of dough into a very thin circle (9 or 10-inches in diameter) that is slightly thicker around the edges for the crust. As you are rolling, periodically check to see that the dough isn't sticking at all to the wood. If it is, scatter a little more flour on the board.
Once the dough is rolled out, jostle the pizza peel to be sure the pizza will be able to move freely off the board when the time comes. Lightly brush or spoon tomato sauce or pesto sauce onto the pizza, leaving the crust free of sauce. Be careful not to drip sauce onto the edges of the dough or the board, since that will cause the dough to stick to the board. If you do get sauce on the pizza peel, wipe it away and put some flour between board and dough to prevent sticking.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the pizza and finish with favorite toppings.
Once the pizza oven is piping hot, open the lid and carefully transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone. Tilting and jiggling the board as you transfer the pizza will help it along.
Shut the lid and bake until the dough is firm and crusty and the cheese is bubbling. This can go as quickly as a couple of minutes. Once done, use tongs to pull the pizza off the grill onto a cutting board.
While the first pizza cooks, assemble the remaining pizza on the peel.
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