How to Grill Pizza Slideshow
July 16, 2013
Homemade grilled pizza encompasses pretty much everything we love about grilling
Start with the Dough — the Easy Way
As with anything, it all starts with the base ingredients, and in this case, it’s the pizza dough. Because the whole process is already so easy, why trouble yourself with making homemade dough? Because of that wood-fired, artisanal effect you’ll get from grilling your dough, we doubt your guests will notice if you had picked up a ball or two at your local pizzeria. If you really insist, though, try this recipe from Wolfgang Puck.
The Pizza Toppings
While it’s always difficult to decide on what kind of toppings you want on your delivery pizza, you’ve really got to narrow it down for grilled pizza. Too many toppings on a grilled pizza will weigh it down and will slow the cooking process of the crust, so less is more in this case.
Prep the Ingredients
Mise en place is absolutely necessary with grilled pizza because it’s a process that happens incredibly fast (which is why it’s so easy!). Make sure all of your ingredients are prepared, laid out on a tray, and ready to head out to the grill with you when you start.
Along with the cheeses, sauces, and toppings, have a bowl of olive oil ready to go out to the grill as well. You’re going to use this olive oil to brush the grill grates and your pizza once the grill is hot enough.
Stay Away From the Crust
When the pizza dough is rested and ready to be rolled out, start working the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a nice, flat disc. Carefully take the disc in your hands and stretch it out into a larger circle, starting in the center and working out to the edges, using your fingers. Don’t make a crust or crimped edges for your pizza disc, because the dough won’t grill as evenly as it would in an oven.
Ready for Takeoff
After you’ve prepared your pizza disc and it’s ready to be grilled, make sure you have it rested on a lightly floured cutting board or baking sheet. You want it to be on something that it will easily slide off and onto the grill.
A Hot, Hot Grill
Speaking of the grill, it’s really got to be hot. Like 450 degrees hot. This is what prevents your worst nightmare from happening: the dough melting down through the grates, because as soon as that dough hits the piping hot grill, the crust will start to firm up and brown.
Here’s the "clincher" when it comes to grilled pizza: It’s not done by placing pizza crust topped with cheese and vegetables onto the grill and waiting till it’s cooked through. No, it’s done in stages. First you place an oiled side down onto a hot grill to cook halfway, and then you flip it, top it, and let the crust finish cooking on the other side while the cheese and toppings melt. After you place the oiled side down onto the grill, stay alert. The cooking process happens fast, and you’ll want to stand by and be ready to oil the top side of your crust and flip it. It’s also important to check the undersides of your pizza to make sure it’s browning evenly. Because the side that cooks first will be the one you top with sauce and cheese, you don’t want it to be too charred, but just a light, golden brown.
True to their origins, pizzas still like the oven’s thermal effect of cooking, so if you have a grill with a top, it’s best to close it for a minute or two while the second side is cooking so that the cheese melts faster and you don’t burn your crust.
A Classic Grilled Margherita Pizza Recipe
A great flavor combination from the grill is that of a margherita pie: the simplicity of mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and basil are amplified with a charred and freshly grilled crust. This recipe is from chef Jennifer Costello and Chris Hurley of Austin’s Bonneville, and epitomizes everything we love about grilled pizza.