As Labor Day approaches and we’re all gearing up to celebrate the end of warm-weathered days, why not trade in the go-to BBQ fare for something original, like pizza?
Who better than to dole out tips for a successful grilled pizza party than chef Nathan Lippy of Grill This with Nathan Lippy on YouTube’s food-centric channel, HUNGRY.
Chef Nathan Lippy's Grilled Pizza Party Tips:
Grilling is one of my absolute favorite forms of cookery. It's quick and easy, it smells amazing, and the best part is that you get to be outside with all of your friends! A great idea for your Labor Day party this weekend is grilled pizza. I love making pizza on the grill, especially when having some friends over. It's a beautiful option that's really simple to execute! Here are a few quick tips to help you create a delicious spread.
1. To start, make sure your grill has two heat zones. One side of the grill should be smokin' hot and the other should be at a medium-low heat. This trick helps save time by allowing you to cook different types of ingredients at once.
2. Next, let's talk dough. I generally buy pre-made pizza dough from my grocery store or local pizza shop. If you're ambitious, you can make your own dough. If you don't want to deal with dough at all, try pita bread or naan, which allows you to make smaller individual-sized pizzas. (Great for the kids.) Be sure to oil your grill before putting your dough down on the hot spot. You can do this easily by dipping the end of a kitchen towel in oil and using your tongs, rub the oiled towel along the grates evenly. This trick keeps the dough from sticking. Place the dough on the hottest part of the grill for two to three minutes per side, then remove until you are ready to assemble.
3. Toppings ideas can be endless. The key is to be fearless and experiment! Me, I like peppers, onions, and aged sausage. Other ideas: add a bit of oil, salt, and pepper to a big portobello mushroom and grill whole, then slice and use as a topping. You can grill some green onions, asparagus, or even some slices of pineapple. Most cheeses will work on your pizza. Mozzarella is the easiest pick, so go for it! You can also try smoked Gouda, goat cheese, or shaved Parmesan.
4. With anything you want to grill for a big party, think about the side dishes or other components of whatever it is that you're grilling and do as much as you can ahead of time so that your party goes smoothly. With the pizza for instance, you can pre-grill your onions and peppers before your friends arrive, then simply assemble your pizza with your toppings and some cheese when ready to eat.
5. Keep the presentation simple and rustic. I like to serve the pizza on big wooden cutting boards, family style so my guests can grab whatever they want. You can also set up a little toppings bar on the side, so guests can add an extra burst of flavor. Chopped fresh basil, a hunk of Parmesan cheese with a hand grater, red pepper flakes, and flavored olive oils are a few starters, but don't be afraid to get creative!
6. Most people don't think "dessert" and "grill" go together, but let me assure you they totally do! One of my favorite quick and easy grilled desserts is grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream. It's so easy, you won't even need a recipe. Cut a few peaches in half and remove the pits. Drizzle a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and a touch of ground cinnamon over the cut sides of the peaches. Place them on the hottest part of the grill (cut side down) for about three minutes or until the peaches have beautiful grill marks and are steamy hot. Place a scoop of ice cream into the bottom of a large cup and place the grilled peaches over the top. I like to drizzle a touch of lavender honey as a garnish, too.
Catch Nathan Lippy on You Tube's HUNGRY Channel