I love to make pizza at home. Especially with dough that I have made from scratch. But my absolute most favorite way to make pizza is on the grill. For just about the first 17 years of my life I had never heard of such a thing. Naive. Well, for those of you in that same boat, let me just tell you how amazzzing it is. Of course, if you're the type of person that likes your pizza to have a thick crust, you may not be a fan. Obviously you can't have a thick crusted pizza on the grill because it will burn on the bottom way before the dough is cooked through. So if you like your pizza to be on the thinner side and especially if you like your pizza crispy, this is the method for you.
When you use those preheated stones in a home oven, you can only get the pizza so crisp. Nothing like what you can achieve when you grill it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice oven baked pizza with some good dough density to it every once in awhile. The crisp texture of grilled pizza is just too overwhelming not to brag about.
Let's start with the dough though, shall we? Of course, you can buy preprepared dough from the store or from some pizza shops. I like to make my own though. I use a very simple, straightforward recipe from Ina Garten. I use the same dough on the grill as I do in my oven. Her recipe makes such a tender dough and it's almost foolproof. Before I started using her recipe, I had others I would use consecutively but they never yielded consistent dough. Hers does. I promise you- it is a great pizza dough!
This is what it looks like before the first rise.
Here is what you will have after the first rise.
Now, I will warn you, you need to be very organized when you're grilling pizza. And the first one is usually a "test" pizza, it never comes out perfect, no matter how many times you've made grilled pizza before. I usually have a whole set up, so to speak, when I grill pizza. I have a sheet pan with the doughs rolled out, a small bowl with olive oil, a brush for the oil, pizza sauce and spoon for application, a bowl of shredded cheese, a pizza wheel, tongs, and a wooden cutting board to slide the finished pizzas onto.
This is pretty much the summarization of my grilled pizza "station" if you will.
Yes- I like the jar Ragu Pizza Sauce. It's yummy.
It helps to have a cute little pecan like this bouncing around while you grill too hehe
Anyways, I'll walk you through the process now. Have your grill preheated to about medium. Definitely no higher. Brush one side of your pizza dough then pick it up and stretch it with your fists to the thickness that you like. Lay it down on the grill and let the dough set for about a minute. It will start to kind of bubble like you see above. You don't want it to crisp up, you just want it to cook enough to be able to handle and lay your toppings on it. Okay, now brush the upper side with oil and turn it over.
The bottom (which is now the top) should look something like this. Bring the pizza to the front part of the grill so it isn't so hot when you put the toppings on. Alright, now go ahead and top it as you wish. You can push the pizza back a bit now if you want. Don't push it too far though! It will burn! Close the grill and let the pizza do it's thing. Check it every few minutes, lifting up the bottom to see how it is coming along. It is done when the bottom is as crisp as you like it. You may have to rotate the pizza, depending on how the hot spots in your grill work. That's why you always do a "tester" pizza first. Don't set your expectations too high for that first pizza...
It'll look like this on the top when it is finished. Don't wait for anything to happen to the cheese other than for it to melt. It won't turn golden like it would in an oven. Use the bottom of the crust to determine when it is done- NOT the cheese.
I take tongs and slide it onto a cutting board like this.
Then I slice it up and let everybody have at it right off the cutting board on the table outside.
Do me a favor. Do yourself a favor.
Look at these two pizzas... notice a difference? One is made with fresh mozzarella. The other is made with pre-shredded in a bag. Can you tell which is which? You may be saying to yourself "so what? it still tastes fine" Come on now... no, you're wrong. You are. Not only does it look different, melt different, and feel different in your mouth- it tastes different. Plus as it cools, it cools into those individual pre-shredded pieces. Gross. Buy fresh mozzarella, put it in the freezer 15 minutes or so before shredding it (helps), and use that. Pleasssse!
By the way, let's take a look at this crust. Ohhhhhhh, so GOOD! Perfectly crisp. Trust me, it doesn't taste burnt on those tiny little areas. It is perfect. And if it looks too well done for you, then just take it off the grill a little sooner than I did.
Grilled Pizza Dough
adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 6 grilled pizzas
- 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
- 2 packages dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate.
If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)
Light your grill to medium and wait until it's hot.
Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on one side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil.
Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.