We have talked about grilled pizza quite a bit, here at The Kitchn, but I realized that we have never done a front-to-back explanation of how to grill pizza at home. Well, we are remedying that today. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on grilling pizza. Honestly, this method is not hard, once you get the hang of it, and it makes some of the best pizza you'll ever eat!
I actually used to be very intimidated by grilling pizza. I had a couple of bad experiences (charred crust! flaming pizza sauce!) but then I got my method straight. It's not hard, but you do need to be organized. The key to simple pizza on the grill is to top the pizza after you've put it on the grill. It also helps if you cook the dough for a few minutes, flip it, and then top it. Also, I love really thin crust pizza (think wafer thin) but I leave my crusts slightly thicker when grilling.
Your grill will get so much hotter than your oven, and in the end, that is the real benefit to grilling pizza. Your kitchen isn't heated up by the oven, and a blazingly hot grill means a crisper bite and those deliciously charred spots on the bottom of the crust. Not too charred, of course, but hopefully just enough for your taste!
What You Need
Pizza dough (like our thin crust pizza recipe - it doesn't even need time to raise! Just mix, knead, and go!)
Pizza sauce (check out these tips for great sauce or try one of these tomato sauce alternatives)
Toppings (keep them light: Cheese, ricotta, greens, prosciutto or whatever else you like)
Grill, gas or charcoal
1. Heat the grill. You should heat it quite hot; my grill was about 600°F with the lid on while baking this particular pizza. If you have a choice on your grill between direct and indirect heat, set it up so the pizza is over direct heat.
2. Gather your ingredients and toppings. Set up a table or bench near the grill so that you have easy access to everything. Good grilled pizza is as much about the organization and logistics as it is about actual cooking!
3. Also have your tools close to hand. You will want a pair of long metal tongs. A spatula may be helpful, although not absolutely necessary. You may want a hot pad or oven mitt if your grill lid gets hot.
4. Prep your dough. It should be stretched or rolled out into a thin circle. (Circle-ish — as you can see, my pizzas usually resemble continents more than they do the moon!)
5. Brush the dough with olive oil.
6. Take the lid off the grill. Lay the dough round on the grill, olive-oil-brushed-side down. Brush the top of the dough with a thin layer of olive oil too. Let the dough cook for about 3 minutes, with the lid off. Use the tongs to lift up the dough from time to time, checking on how it is doing. You want nice grill marks on it, but you don't want the dough to get crispy.
7. Flip the dough over with the tongs or spatula. The dough should come up easily and flip without tearing. Now is where your organization comes in! You need to top the pizza quickly. Spread on a thin layer of sauce, some cheese, and toppings. It shouldn't be too heavily loaded, or the pizza won't cook well.
8. Put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes.
9. Remove the lid and check the pizza. The edges should be crisp and well done, and the cheese should all be melted. Drag the pizza off with the spatula or tongs. Let cool for 3 minutes, then cut into pieces and eat!
• Of course, you need to keep an eye on the heat. This method works perfectly every time on my own grill. But it depends on thin you stretch your dough, and how hot your grill gets. Flipping the dough gives you an extra measure of control and certainty, though, that the crust will be cooked through by the time your toppings have melted and warmed.
And that's all there is to it! Happy pizza-eating!
Did I miss anything in this tutorial? Any good tips you have for cooking pizza on the grill? Do you have any favorite combinations of toppings to share?
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(Images: Faith Durand)