Fun, easy and delicious. Give it a shot. The critical steps/keys are in CAPS below.
- Buy (or make) a good quality pizza dough (not a pre-made crust). Generally will come frozen. Make sure to defrost in plenty of time but keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- You will need pizza sauce (tomato based is the obvious choice but a light white sauce (bechamel), BBQ, whatever will work, cheese (regular mozzarella is ideal but feel free to experiment–keep in mind that hard cheeses, including Parmesan, don’t melt well and aren’t ideal for pizza), olive oil, garlic, Italian herbs and whatever proteins/veg/toppings you want to use.
- PRE-HEAT YOUR GRILL ON HIGH–ALL BURNERS (If you are using charcoal, you will want to keep the coals on one half or so of the grill). Clean the grates well. Keep the lid closed as much as possible.
- Cut, saute (remember you can pre-cook toppings. I find this works well with sausage, bell pepper and onions especially, etc. all of your toppings and have them ready to go. I use a series of small bowls and have them as well as the cheese and sauce next to the grill when I start cooking
- Prepare your dough. I like to use a baking sheet with a flat (rimless) edge (of course if you have a pizza slide…). Lightly flour and/or cornmeal the sheet and use that to begin to spread the dough. REMEMBER, THE DOUGH MIGHT BE TOO BIG FOR YOUR GRILL ONCE YOU SHAPE IT AND SMALLER PIZZAS ARE EASIER TO HANDLE SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIVIDE IT IN HALF, THIRDS ETC. Spread the dough (sometimes picking it up and letting it hang to stretch for a few seconds works well) until fairly thin (it will puff up when cooking). Don’t make the edges too big. When the piece(s) are the size, shape and thickness you want, It’s time to grill!
- Make sure you have everything you need. You will have some time once the pizza is topped and is cooking but you want everything up to that point ready to go.
- OIL THE GRATES-use a rag or paper towel and a grill glove or tongs and rub olive (or any cooking) oil on the grates to prevent sticking.
- Slide (remember the rimless baking sheet 🙂 ) the shaped dough(s) onto the grill directly above the heat. It won’t fall through! Close the lid to allow the bottom to begin to char and the top to cook a bit. If your grill is good and hot (at least 400 degrees), it will only take a few minutes. Check the bottom, when it begins to show grill makes and a little char, when the top shows some air bubbles/pockets and has begun to get a little crusty, the dough is ready to top. It has gotten pretty sturdy as it has cooked, so it should be fairly easy to manipulate now. Use a spatula or tongs to slide it back onto your floured/cormeal-ed baking sheet. CLOSE THE GRILL TO PRESERVE HEAT INSIDE
- With the cooked (grill marks) side UP, begin to top. Brush olive oil (if you are making a “traditional” pizza–I like to season my olive oil with Italian herbs and garlic) on the top, then add sauce (NOT TOO MUCH–IT WILL TURN SOGGY), cheese, other toppings. When you are ready, slide the pizza back onto the grill directly above the heat to start. Close the lid.
- After a few minutes, either turn down the heat under the Pizza (leave other burners on high) or slide the Pizza away from the coals, close the lid and wait until to Pizza is done to your liking. If your grill is around 400 degrees, this should take 10-15 minutes (approximately).
- When it is ready, slide onto a cutting board (don’t wreck the baking sheet by cutting on it, slice, serve and enjoy! Might want to let it sit for a few minutes before slicing so the cheese isn’t so hard to handle….