It wouldn’t be summer without a grill fest with your buddies.
There’s something special about grilling that you simply can’t experience in front of the stove.
The charcoal-coated hands, that smoky scent - it doesn’t get any better than that.
But what about the days you’re craving pizza? Should you put out the fire and order in? How about grilling your pizza instead.
It may not seem like the conventional method of cooking a homemade savory pie. But it sure does work.
Grilling your pizza has its advantages but knowing the key points can be crucial.
Why Use a Grill?
You may wonder why grilling your pizza is better than baking it in a conventional oven.
Unless you have an actual pizza oven, chances are it’s never going to be as good. But when grilling, you're one step closer to that perfect pie.
From the start, you're able to get plenty of those delicious, blackened spots most of us fight over. During the warm, summer months, it's no fun to be the one slaving away in the kitchen. Especially when your party is outside chilling out. Take the cooking outdoors instead.
If you have any experience cooking pizza, you know they don't stay long in the oven. The hotter the temperature, the crispier the crust.
If by chance your oven isn't heated thoroughly, you'll risk having to cut your way through a soggy, boring pie. Not to mention the over or undercooked toppings.
An authentic pizza oven allows for very high temperatures and an ideal environment to cook a perfect pizza - something most conventional ovens just can't do.
Even though most of our grills are placed outside on the porch or beside the pool, you still have a chance of getting that crispy crust you’re after. If your grill has a lid, it can help you reach close to the same heat as a traditional pizza oven.
What You Need
First you'll have to decide if you're using homemade or store-bought dough.
Making your own pizza dough can be as easy as grilling it. It’s also likely that homemade dough will provide extra satisfaction to your pizza-eating experience.
Next on the list is that you'll need a grill with a compatible lid. Remember, to avoid a soft crust, your grill has to remain hot.
Lastly, you need to get organized.
Get all your stuff ready to go, so when the heat flares up, you won't be frantically searching for your ingredients and utensils. You'll need a metal spatula, tongs, an oven mitt and a brush.
Make your own dough
If you want to make your own dough, here is a basic, easy-to-do recipe.
All you need are these six ingredients and a clean, flat surface.
This recipe will make two medium-sized pizzas.
Begin by mixing the yeast with the water and let it sit until small, foamy bubbles appear (about three to five minutes). Use this time to gather your dry ingredients together.
When the yeast is ready, add your flour mix and olive oil. Use a stand mixer or a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Then, bring out the dough and lay it on an open, clean surface that has been dusted with flour.
Knead away for about seven to ten minutes. When the dough bounces back after a good poke, that means it's ready to rise.
Place it in a greased bowl, spread a little oil on top, cover it and leave it. A warm place is ideal. Forget it for a while until the dough has roughly doubled in size. This should take maximum one hour, but possibly less if the air is on the warmer side.
Divide the dough into several small pieces and thin them out using a roller or your hands. Remember when you're grilling, the crust should be a bit thicker than normal. If it’s too thin, it might fall through the grates.
If you're a busy man with a long to-do list or you’re planning a house party, you can make the dough in advance. After it's risen, divide it and wrap the separate pieces.
Place them in the freezer or fridge, depending on when you'll need them. If you decide to freeze them, remove the pieces from the freezer and leave them to thaw.
Heat Your Grill
While the dough is rising, heat up your grill to save time. Also, if you have a pizza stone, you can use it for your grill. Same as your oven - place it in the center and let the heat rise.
Prepare the grill by coating the grates with a bit of olive oil to keep the dough from sticking.
You can do this by covering a piece of tightly-wrapped foil in oil. Use your tongs to then slide the foil over the grates.
If you're not sure whether or not your grill is hot enough, hover your hand over the grates. If you can keep it there longer than a few seconds, it's not warm enough. Put the cover back on and wait a couple of minutes.
Prepare Your Station
As any chef will tell you, a good way to get organized is to prepare your station.
Situate a table near the grill so you can quickly remove the crust and prep the table for another round. This way, you’ll also have your utensils handy when you need them.
What's so great about homemade pizza? Ultimate control of the toppings station. The ingredient combinations are endless here.
Gather your desired toppings and get them ready. If anything requires pre-cooking, such as meat, make sure to do that from the get-go. Grilling a pizza only takes a few minutes, so it's not long enough to cook a piece of bacon thoroughly.
One tip though is to avoid overcrowding the pizza - it can definitely lead to disappointment with an uneven cook. Too many dominating flavors can also make the pizza overpowering.
For some inspiration, here are three great ideas for making pizza on the grill.
Shrimps are definitely a summer favorite. They're great on the grill or even in your cocktail. They will also make a fantastic pizza topping.
Especially if you coat the bottom of your crust with pesto, then add some cheese and bell peppers. Take it to the next level with some fresh arugula on top.
If you're a cheeseburger fanatic, you've probably already tried this. But for those of you who haven't, you're missing out.
Yes, this might be a bit heavy for a summer lunch. However, if you skip the bun and add a pizza crust instead, it can be a winner.
Get your cheeseburger ingredients ready - chop the patty, then add some bacon and cheese. Sprinkle some tomatoes on top and serve with a salad on the side.
Your party is screaming for pizza but your stomach is growling for steak? Why not combine the two with a steak-inspired topping.
Spread the creamy sauce over the crust. Grill your meat, slice it and place it on the sauce. Combine bell peppers, tomatoes and even mushrooms. Finish it off with your favorite steak cheese and a sprinkle of herbs.
How to Grill That Pizza
Now your grill is hot, the crust is prepared and toppings have been chosen.
It's finally time to get grilling. Depending on your grill or pizza-making experience, you might need a few tries to master it. Once you achieve a basic level of technique though, nothing can stop you.
Step-by-step, let’s break it down together.
There you have it - how to cook a pizza on your grill.
It's the perfect combination for a hot summer evening with your favorite, pizza-loving buddies.
Let your friends choose their favorite toppings. Serve them a beer and fire up your grill.
It's bound to make you look like a grilling boss as long as you remember the key points. Crank up the heat, prep everything in advance and don't burn that crust.