When you hear about grilling pizza, you probably think it's a great idea and then tremble a little at the thought of how it all works. I know I do.
I always envision the crust sort of dripping through the grates.
I tried it a few years ago, when everyone was making such a big deal about it but I didn't like the result so I stopped trying. I can't remember what I didn't like, I just know it wasn't fabulous.
I wanted pizza last night, but it's been so hot that turning on the oven wasn't really in the cards, so I googled how to grill pizza. I found some fantastic advice, so I thought I'd share it with you because it made life really easy and we liked how it came out!
The most important thing I read is that you have to have everything ready before you even start because it's all so quick. If you have to run back into the house to get sauce or toppings, forget it. You'll have crispy nothingness if you leave the grill for even a second!
Since I knew I was making smaller pizzas than usual, I brought out a lot of different things to try some different combinations. I couldn't resist using the amazing basil I have growing right now and that tomato in front is a very smooth, not disease ridden tomato from my garden! I've had such a problem with some illness in my tomatoes for so long, I had no idea how nice it is to pick a tomato and not be sad because it gets brown spots within days.
I always make my own pizza dough, but you could use store bought dough. Make sure it's thawed and room temperature so you can stretch it and shape it.
Even if you like thin crust, you can't make it too thin because it will cook way too fast and become too crispy.
Heat. This was a hard one for me. I had a grill for a while that was way too hot and it was always a game of how fast I could move things around before they burned, so using the highest heat on my grill always worries me. However, this advice was just right. Heat your grill on high and keep it pretty high throughout the process.
My grill isn't fancy enough to have direct and indirect heat options, but I read some things that said direct heat is best.
Unless you want to run your grill forever, which I do not, have your topping plans already in mind. Once you put the dough on the grill, it's a 5 minute process from start to finish, so be ready!
So, here's what I did.
I made a small crust, brushed it with olive oil so I could lift it off the rack, put it on the grill and brushed the other side with oil. It took no more than 3 minutes to get a little brown and start to have grill marks, so I turned it over.
Immediately, I put the toppings and closed the cover for a second while I made the next crust. After about another 3 minutes, just as the cheese was starting to melt, I moved it to the top rack that I have, which is where people usually cook hot dogs. On my old grills, these were always really chintzy and fell apart from rust but this one seems to be good metal that doesn't rust. This way, I thought the cheese would full melt but the crust wouldn't disintegrate from the heat. I left them up there while I cooked another one or two and they didn't overcook.
The recipe that I use for the crust usually makes 2 medium sized pizzas. Sometimes more if it's a stretchy day. We usually have one or 2 pieces left.
This way, I made 5 smaller pizzas from that same recipe and we had one whole one left over. Perfect for lunch. K-ster said he preferred the smaller small kind, like the one above, to the medium smaller kind. I do too because if they get too big, they are really hard to move with the toppings on them. One that I made almost fell apart as I tried to move it to the top rack because the cheese hadn't quite melted to glue everything on top.
I can't imagine doing a regular sized pizza this way. If I tried it, I might use a long spatula to flip it and possibly a couple of spatulas to take it off the grill when it's ready. Once the toppings are on there, it gets pretty heavy!
I used regular tongs to move the crust around and it didn't even think about sticking. I'm not sure if using the olive oil was necessary or if my grill is pretty good about releasing anyway. I might try no oil on one next time. I try to use as little oil as possible when I cook and if we use pepperoni or sausage as topping, there's plenty of grease for us on top anyway!
This was a big hit and I'd do it again. I was trying to decide if this is something I could pull off with people over. I would definitely need more dough but I think it would be fun with guests. They seemed to stay warm for a while so it wasn't like the first one got cold while I made the others.
Give it a try. Embrace the grill. Cook on high. Get ready to move quickly. And enjoy the flavor and the neat way the crust comes out!
But, most of all, remember to be organized or it will be a disaster!!