Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes. No two pies look the same. From the thin and straightforward Neapolitan renditions to the ever-popular New York-style pizza and its hearty toppings, from the Chicago deep-dish pizza to the gourmet California pizzas with salmon and arugula, there’s a pizza style for everyone. However, there’s one style that comes through as the friendliest. Best yet, you don’t even need an oven to make it! The grilled pizza.
Grilled Pizza, Have You Tried It?
The grilled pizza is a backyard specialty. But don’t think for a second it’s not as good as other renditions of the most famous food on earth. Grilled pizza might just be the one pie to rule them all!
So, How Do You Make Grilled Pizza?
When it comes to making pizza, it’s all about the heat. Traditional wood-fired ovens can cook a pie in two minutes, but your grill can reach tremendous temperatures too. What does that mean? Thin, crunchy, and perfectly cooked dough topped with gooey cheese and your favorite toppings, right in your backyard.
If that isn’t enough, there’s a bonus! Your coal-fired grill adds to pizza something you can’t achieve in the oven. An enticing smoky flavor and the tastiest burned bits you just can’t get enough of. Did we mention you don’t have to heat up the house?
There are two grilled pizza styles we want to share. One that uses a pizza stone and one in which you cook your pizza right over the grill. Both are great options depending on what you have available, so we’ve provided directions for each below. But first, the most essential element in pizza, the dough!
The Pizza Dough
There’s nothing wrong with store-bought pizza dough, but if you want to make your own delicious crust at a fraction of the cost, here’s a quick recipe:
Makes dough for two pizzas
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water
1 package instant yeast
4 cups (490 g) bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Add the yeast to the water and dissolve. Add the flour, mix and knead for ten minutes over a floured surface. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl for at least one hour. Make 8 oz balls and stretch to create 12”–14” pizza bases.
The Pizza Toppings
For this one, there are no right or wrong answers. Cheese matters, though! So get a mozzarella or mozzarella blend for a smooth, melty layer. Start by smothering your stretched crust with a quality store-bought pizza sauce and then add the cheese. Now, top your pies with whatever you like: mushrooms, pepperoni, olives, bell peppers, or why not blue cheese? The options are endless! Our favorites? Bacon, tomato & spinach (like a BLT pizza).
Grilled Pizza Two Ways
If you happen to have a pizza stone, this will provide you the closest results to using a traditional brick oven without actually having one! A pizza stone is basically a flat, very resistant surface made of clay, marble, or ceramic. It holds the heat and gives a really nice crust as a result! Set your pizza stone over the grill when the coals are burning hot, but not flaming. Cover until the stone reaches 500°F (260°C). You should use an infrared thermometer for this (or just wing it).
Once the temperature is reached, place your pizza, already topped with sauce, cheese & toppings, over the heated stone and wait until the cheese is bubbly. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes so keep an eye on it! That’s it! Dinner is served.
If you don’t have a pizza stone, no problem! Simply light up your charcoal grill as you’d typically do, and once your coals are hot, make a “hot” zone and a “cool” zone by shoveling the charcoal to one side.
For this option, we’ll wait to add toppings! Start by placing your stretched pizza dough over the hot zone and cook this side of the crust for one minute to get those lovely grill marks. Then, flip the dough over and place it on the cool side of the grill (grill marks up) and add your sauce, cheese, and toppings on the spot. Setting the pie on the cool zone for the second half of cooking will allow the toppings more time to cook and cheese to melt while preventing the crust from getting burned. Remove when the cheese bubbles and enjoy!
Here are some pizza stones and accessories you just might find helpful!
Something to Keep in Mind
Grilled pizzas are rarely ‘pizzeria-pretty,’ but rustic, rugged, and smoky. Embrace the uneven form, the burned corners, and the artisanal feel of your grilled pizzas. But most of all, enjoy the delicious smoky flavor! The backyard-y beauty that characterizes grilled pizzas is part of what makes them the best pizza style out there — the best pizza for summer! We’d love to hear what fun toppings you’ll be adding to your next grilled pizza!