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Summer Issue 2010

Pizza on the Grill Made Easy!

by Kris Hughes

Pizza on the grill has always fascinated me. I love pizza in any form but I tend not to make it much in the summer because I’m not exactly thrilled about cranking up my oven when it’s already plenty warm in the house. Therefore pizza on the grill seemed like an excellent option to making home made pizza in the hot summer months.

But I always worried about grilling pizza. What if my dough sticks to my grill resulting in a completely unsalvageable mess? Or what if the soft dough just falls through and creates a messy smoky catastrophe? Well, I think I have come up with a fairly fool proof method for us accident prone folks that should allow you to enjoy home made grilled pizza without all the pitfalls of traditional methods.

This is more of a method of how to cook pizza on the grill, although I have given a recipe for the dough, I will leave the topping up to your individual tastes.

Basic pizza dough

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 package instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 ¾ cups water

Mix all ingredients in a bread maker on the dough setting or in a mixer for 6 to 8 minutes and let stand in a warm place for at least a half an hour. Then remove the dough, punch it down and you are ready to assemble your pizza. This recipe will yield 2 large or 3 medium pizzas. Please note this dough is sticky.

Pre-heat your grill to medium high heat or 450 degrees. Take a good quality baking sheet and generously coat it with oil. Olive oil is my personal preference. Slit the dough into 2 or 3 even chunks and stretch or roll out to desired thickness. Place dough onto baking sheet and layer with desired toppings.

Scrape your grill grates well and using a pair of tongs grab a wadded paper towel dipped in oil and coat the grill grate. Watch out for flair ups! Burnt arm hair smells bad!

Place your prepared pizza on the baking sheet, then on the grill, close the lid and let cook for 6 to 9 minutes or until you can peek under the crust and it is light brown and toppings are completely melted.

Now here comes the trick, using a pizza peel or large spatula make sure the pizza is loose from the baking sheet and grab the edge of the baking sheet closest to you using a pair of pliers (yes, I said pliers. Oven mittens turned out not to have enough grip.) Slide the pizza onto the the bare grill .Let the pizza sit just long enough to get those great grill marks on the bottom and get a little more of that great grilled taste. On my grill this turned out to be only about one minute. Don’t walk away from it at this point. You might be surprised how quickly this happens.

Once you are satisfied that the pizza is done grab a fresh baking sheet or use an oven mitt to pick up the one you just discarded and gently slide it back under the pizza and remove from the grill. Tada! Guaranteed great grilled pizza without having to worry about your dough falling through or sticking to your grill.

 


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