Last summer, I settled in with my new (and always beloved) Sunset magazine and flipped open to a piece about grilling pizzas. "It's easy!" They said. "SWEET! I believe you and must try them!" I said. And so my guy and I made pizzas on the BBQ, and the rest was history. Well, if "history" means we've been making them ever since, and we've served them for family get-togethers and parties (they're perfect for entertaining), and everyone loves them, and they're so, so good.
The most important piece of the grilled pizza equation is the dough. The Sunset recipe has lots of olive oil, plus with the use of oiled parchment paper, they're a breeze to flip on to the grill (and nope, the dough doesn't fall through the grates). You cook one side for a few minutes, then flip it back on to a cookie sheet, add your toppings to the grilled side, then place it back on the barbecue to finish cooking.
And is it actually easy? Actually, yes. It's a little time-consuming, though. You're making your own dough and need to give it about 3 hours to rise. I also believe in making your own pizza sauce - it's just so much more flavorful. Though - I do often used canned tomatoes, except for when fresh ones are in season.
This time, we made margherita pizza, a classic with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. We also made a pepperoni pizza - my guy's perennial fave, and something he even gives a coveted grunt. "One grunt up! It's pizza and BBQing - two great things that I would never
have thought would go together."
Ready to give it a try? Here's the recipe!
Pizza on the Barbecue
Makes 6 pizzas
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 - 110 degrees)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (or one packet) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little more for oiling the parchment paper and working with the dough
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
Toppings for Margherita Pizza
- One medium tomato per pizza, sliced
- Fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained and sliced
- Several basil leaves, cut into strips - and more for garnishing, if you like
Toppings for Pepperoni Pizza
- Pizza sauce (recipe below)
- Pepperoni slices
- Grated mozzarella cheese, or fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained and sliced
Make the crust.
- Stir together the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Let sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves.
- Turn the mixer on low and add the olive oil, salt, and flour.
- Once the ingredients are fairly well incorporated, turn the mixer on to medium to knead.
- Knead (continue the mixer on medium) for 8 - 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should be very stretchy, and just kind of stretch and fall off of the hook.
- Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. If you're making the pizza sauce, I suggest you start now - it needs to simmer for an hour and a half, itself.
- Punch the dough down, and let rise again for 30-45 more minutes, until doubled again. (Whenever I read "punch the dough down" I take it kind of literally and really give the dough a good punch or two. That probably isn't a great idea, is it?)
- Prepare six sheets of parchment paper. Lay the sheets on the counter or table, then drizzle each with a little olive oil.
- After the dough is finished rising for the second time, remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured surface.
- Cut the dough into six pieces.
- With your hands, smear the oil on a piece of parchment paper, then grab a dough ball - you want spread the oil on the paper and handle the dough with well-oiled hands, so it all works out.
- Now you're ready to shape the crust! You can place the dough on the parchment paper and just kind of spread it out into a circle with your fingers, or you can do like I do and shape it in the air first. I hold on to the edge and quickly rotate the dough so that it stretches and forms a nice flat shape, and then I place it on the parchment and stretch it out the rest of the way. I like to keep the dough about the size of a dinner plate. Much bigger and it can become difficult to handle on the grill. Note: If your dough shrinks and won't work with you, let it sit for about 5 minutes and try again.
- Let the shaped crusts rise on their parchment paper for about 10 minutes, until they start getting puffy.
- Now start grilling! With the grill on medium-high (about 350 degrees), flip a round onto the grill - dough side down, parchment side up. Peel off the paper.
- Cook covered for 3 - 4 minutes, until it gets puffy on top and grill marks on the bottom. If the dough sprouts any big bubbles, go ahead and pop them if you can.
- Transfer the crust to a cookie sheet or large platter, grilled side up.
- The fun part - add the toppings! For the margherita pizza, add the tomatoes, then pile on the fresh mozzarella. Top with the basil. You can also start with a little pizza sauce if you want (I prefer without).
For the pepperoni pizza, spread the sauce (I go a little light - it's very flavorful), add a layer of pepperoni and then top with grated mozzarella or the slices of fresh mozzarella.
- Transfer the pizzas back on to the barbecue, and cook, covered, for 5 - 6 minutes until the cheese has melted and the bottom is crisp. You'll probably want to rotate the pizzas a couple of times to ensure even cooking.
- That's it! Enjoy - trust me, it's amazing.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (one or two cloves) minced garlic
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes, or 2 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (reduce for less kick)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-low.
- Add the garlic, and cook for about a minute. If you're using dried oregano, add that with the garlic. If you're using fresh, add it to the sauce later.
- Increase the heat to medium, and add the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
- Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer uncovered for an hour and a half. Seems like a long time, but this allows the sauce to develop wonderful flavor and thicken nicely.
- If using fresh oregano, stir that in after the hour and a half cooking time.