Someone once told me:
“If it can be made on a grill, it’s probably better on a grill.”
That was a very wise person who I can’t remember at the moment. I swear I’m not making it up though. Even if I am, it’s true. So whatever.
Grilled pizza won the poll by a long shot last week and I was happy to see that because I figured pizza is probably better on the grill, like most things. I’ve only grilled pizza once before and I was excited to try it again.
Grilled pizza is kind of a dish that requires a bit of faith. It doesn’t make sense at all that you should be able to toss dough on a grill and have it hold up. So there’s this moment where it’s kind of a leap of faith. I mean… not Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade leap of faith, but still.
But even though it seems a bit strange, it isn’t actually that hard. In fact, it might be a bit easier than oven pizza.
1) To make dough, combine water, oil, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes to make sure yeast is active. It should bubble.
2) Stir in flour until it's well-incorporated and forms a ball. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Then mix either with your hands or with a stand mixer. If using hands, repeatedly dip one hand in water and work the dough vigorously until it's smooth, about 8 minutes. If using a mixer, mix with dough hook until smooth, about 6 minutes. If at any point, the dough is very sticky, mix in more flour.
3) Cut dough into 4 even pieces, coat with olive oil and add to a large plastic bag. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
4) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight.
5) Remove from fridge at least an hour before making pizza.
6) Prepare other ingredients. If you're using any meat or large veggies, pre-cook them.
7) Mix sauce and shred cheese.
8) Heat grill to high and clean it well. Rub the grates with some oil.
9) Roll out two pizzas and lay them directly on the grates. Most grills should be able to fit too pizzas at once.
10) Cook dough for about 2 minutes or until bubbles start to form on the surface of the dough.
11) Remove from heat and flip pizzas over on a baking sheet that's been lightly oiled.
12) Top pizzas with sauce, cheese, and toppings.
13) Slice pizzas back onto grill. Turn heat down to medium-high. Close lid.
14) Cook pizzas for 8-10 minutes, turning pizza 90 degrees half way through. The crust should be a deep brown and very crispy.
15) Remove from grill and cool for a minute before serving!
Making the Dough
This is a pretty standard pizza dough and is very similar to some other pizza doughs that I’ve used. At the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that most doughs would work fine on a grill. I think it’s more technique than recipe honestly.
But, this one works for sure!
Start by combining all your liquid ingredients, yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Let those sit for a few minutes until your yeast starts bubbling. Then either mix in your flour with a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, or with a big wooden spoon.
Once the flour is incorporated well, let the dough sit for a few minutes to relax, then continue mixing until you end up with a smooth ball of dough. If you’re using your hands, dip one hand in water and use it to vigorously work the dough.
By hand it’ll take probably 8 minutes of kneading. By dough hook, it should only take around 6. If your dough is particularly sticky (like sticking to the bottom of the bowl) add more flour.
Eventually you should end up with a nice smooth ball.
Cut this into quarters and coat them all with some olive oil. Add them to a large plastic bag and let them sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, then move them to the fridge.
Ideally, you could let them sit overnight, but I was super-rushed on this day so I pulled them out of the fridge after just two hours. The dough worked fine, but the flavor will be better if you can give it overnight in the fridge.
You’re ready to grill some pizza after these guys come back to room temperature, probably an hour at minimum.
The key to this recipe is to make sure you have all your ingredients ready before you cook. You don’t want to be chopping while your dough is on the grill!
I mixed up a quick sauce with some tomato sauce and dried spices. Feel free to customize it to your liking.
I also chopped up a bunch of veggies to throw on the pizza. I did a meatless version but you could 100% add pepperoni or anything else that you would add to a pizza to a grilled pizza.
NOTE: If you’re using big pieces of veggies like this, it’s a good idea to pre-cook them a bit (on the grill maybe) before adding them to the pizza. You’ll see why soon.
Not pictured here is a pound of shredded mozzarella.
On a normal grill, you can probably do two pizzas at a time. Roll out your dough into a large circle, or if you’re me, into a random shape of the day.
Then heat your grill to high. It needs to be hot. Clean it off well and rub it down with some oil. I used olive oil, but you could use whatever you have available.
Then the moment of truth. Toss on the dough! Just try to get it evenly on the grates.
You don’t want to top the pizza at this point, just pre-cook it a bit. If your grill is hot, two minutes should do the trick.
If you see bubbles forming on the top of your dough, it’s done.
Use a big metal spatula or pizza peel to pull the pizza off the grill. Lightly oil a sheet pan and invert the dough on the sheet pan. The oil just makes it easier to get the pizza off when we put it back on the grill.
This is the side you add your toppings too!
Now, if you’re incredibly confident in your abilities, feel free to just flip the pizza on the grill and top it quickly. I like to take my time with pizza toppings so I took my off.
When your pizza is topped like you want it, you should be able to slide the pizzas back onto the grill. Again, a pizza peel or big spatula is pretty key.
This time when the pizza is on the grill, turn the heat on the grill down to medium-high and close the lid so it can heat evenly.
It’s a pretty thing though!
Sometimes, when cooking something new, a little improvisation might be necessary to avert disaster.
So, if you’re grill is really hot, like mine was, your crust will be done after about 8-10 minutes once you’ve topped it and put it back on the grill.
But if you don’t pre-cook your veggies, they won’t be. I was shocked to find my veggies almost raw after 10 minutes even though my crust was done.
The problem, of course, is that a grill isn’t as insulated as an oven so even though the grill itself is very hot, the area around the grill isn’t as hot as my 500 degree oven. Especially because I kept opening it to take photos!
So you have two options:
1) Pre-cook your toppings a bit. You could grill them for just a minute and then chop them up and that would do the trick. Obviously, the bigger the veggies the more important this is. I should’ve pre-cooked my peppers and ‘shrooms for sure.
2) OR you could do what I did and rig a small raised area in your grill. I set a baking tray on the grill, supported by a small tray. This kept my pizza off the direct heat so I could close the lid and cook them for another 5 minutes or so until my veggies were finished cooking.
Option 1 is easier obviously.
The Finished Product
The best thing about improvising is when it works. And my method definitely worked.
I’m telling you, grilled pizza makes some of the best crust I’ve had. Very crispy and delicious. Just look at this crust!
It’s very hard to get that kind of crust in an oven honestly.
So, if you’re a pizza fan, take a leap a faith and hit up the grill next time you’re in the mood for your favorite pie.