As I mentioned before, I love pizza, and being able to make my favorite food on my favorite cooking surface, the grill, makes it that much more special. The following is a recipe and a list of (hopefully) easy-to-follow instructions that should guide you through the creation of your own grilled pizza.
There are a few things that you’ll need to make this easy grilled pizza recipe:
· A gas grill (with narrow-ish grates)
· Grill spray
· Pizza dough
· Olive oil
· Corn meal
· Pizza sauce
· Mozzarella cheese
· Toppings (I used thin-sliced onions, peppers, and turkey pepperoni for this one)
· A flat cookie sheet (with no lip)
· A large grill spatula
· Food or grill brush for spreading oil and sauce
First, the dough: I have made my own pizza dough, and it can be totally worth it, but I usually default to the Safeway Select brand premade pizza dough for ease and consistency. I comes frozen, so be aware that you may need to give it time to thaw. My wife and I made the mistake once of buying frozen dough when we had a craving for grilled pizza, assuming that the solid bread-ball would thaw in an hour or so. Our incorrect assumption (and associated hunger) led to ill-conceived attempts to thaw the dough by microwaving it, leaving it in the sun for a while, and eventually putting it over the oven-vent, which led to a mess of melted plastic/cooked dough seeping through the left-rear electric burner of the stove. Don’t do that. It was horrible.
Assuming that the dough is thawed, leave it on the counter for 20 minutes or so to get it near to room temperature. I usually use this time to start and clean the grill, slice my toppings, and make a salad (or some other side dish).
Once your dough is good to go, roll it out to your desired thickness. To roll the dough out, lay down a bed of CORNMEAL, coat the dough in it, and use a rolling pin, or beat it down with your hand (or if you’re so skilled, go ahead and toss it). DO NOT USE FLOUR TO ROLL OUT THE DOUGH!!! Using flour for grilled pizza can be problematic. The flour can make the dough mealy (ironic, considering the use of cornmeal), and has the potential to clump with the
olive oil that you’ll be using in a few steps.
Anyway, use cornmeal.
Make sure the grill is turned to medium-low, anything else will burn the crust before it gets crispy, and spray the grates with the non-stick grill spay.
Put the dough on the cookie sheet, and spread it out. Sprinkle the dough with olive oil, and spread the oil evenly with a food brush.
This is where it pays to get dirty: carefully pick the dough up with your hands, and spread it – oil side down – on the grill, stretching it to the desired thickness (or thinness, if you’re like me). This also gives the dough a unique and fun shape indicative of hand-stretched, grilled pizza.
As the dough starts to cook, make sure to watch the edges, as it will start to seep through the grates if you allow it to.
Give the dough a few minutes to cook with the grill closed. Crack a beer maybe… perhaps one that you made yourself, like a SB Light Ale… or whatever, your choice.
Upon returning to your dough, you’ll notice the top beginning to bubble, and the bottom should be getting some nice grill-marks. You want it to be a nice golden-brown when you flip it over.
Sprinkle the uncooked top of the dough with olive oil, and brush it around… just like before. The olive oil will seep into the semi-cooked dough fairly quickly, so try to wait until a few minutes before you flip it before applying the oil.
One side of the dough will be somewhat crispy, but it will still be malleable, so use the cookie sheet and the spatula to flip it onto the newly-oiled side.
Note: You DO NOT have to oil and flip the dough, but I would highly recommend flipping it if you like a crispy crust.
You might want to turn the heat down at this point, so that your closed grill will hover right around 200 degrees. This seems low, but it will allow your toppings and cheese to cook together for longer without burning the crust.
Spread the sauce onto the dough, and then top with cheese. I usually use half a jar of pizza sauce (again, I’ve made my own, but buying it is cheap and easy), and about two good handfuls of shredded cheese to top the pizza.
Follow the sauce and cheese with your toppings, spread evenly across the pizza.
My grill cooks hotter on one side, so I usually need to turn the pizza partway through cooking to ensure an even golden-brown crust. This is where that big cookie sheet can come in handy.
Grill the pizza until the toppings are well-cooked, and the cheese begins to bubble.
You’ll need to play with your toppings to avoid watery pizza and to ensure that they cook.
Slice and enjoy (preferably with beer)!