When the weather is nice, there’s nothing like grilling out. Lots of foods taste great when they’re cooked outdoors. Steaks come out nice and juicy, and chicken takes on a nice, smoky flavor. But here’s one that might surprise you: pizza.
Most of us are accustomed to baking pizza in the oven, and that’s how it is usually done these days. But some of the best pizzerias make their pizza in a wood fired oven because it gives the crust a distinct flavor and texture. You can create a similar effect at home by cooking your pizza on the grill.
Some aspiring chefs are intimidated by the idea of cooking pizza on a grill. They worry about burning it or having the dough drop through the grates. But grilling pizza is much easier than you might think. Here are some tips that will help you get it right the first time.
Make sure you have the right equipment. A good pizza peel will help you get the pizza on and off the grill without incident. Grilling tongs will help you flip the crust. You can use either a charcoal or gas grill, but with charcoal you’ll have to be more careful about regulating the temperature. Finally, you’ll need a clean, well-oiled grill grate, preferably a non-stick one.
Use a good dough. You can buy dough from some pizzerias, or you can make your own. If you choose to make your own, take some extra time to make sure it’s of the right consistency. If it’s too thin or sticky, you might have problems.
Prepare your toppings ahead of time. Grate the cheese finely to speed melting. Make sure any meats you will use are fully cooked, and consider lightly grilling any vegetables that are cut thick beforehand. Have everything close by and ready to put on the crust after you’ve grilled one side of it.
Heat the grill thoroughly. If you’re using charcoal, it’s best to keep one side hotter than the other. You can brown one side of the crust on the hotter side, and put the pizza on the cooler side once you’ve added the toppings so that you can melt the cheese without burning the bottom of the crust. If you’re using a gas grill, simply turn it down a bit after you’ve browned one side of the crust.
Place the dough on the grill, close the lid, and check after 2 minutes. Rotate if needed, and keep checking each minute until it’s nice and brown. Remove the dough from the grill, placing the browned side up.
Add the toppings, taking care not to pile them on too thickly. If you do, they will not be heated through.
Return the pizza to the grill. Close the lid and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. The pizza is done when the cheese is bubbly and the bottom of the crust begins to char.