- Pizza Dough (you can make it, get it from a pizza joint, or at the grocery store)
- olive oil
- freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- whatever toppings you like
While there are a lot of steps to this, grilled pizza is actually quite easy once you get used to the process. Clear as much counter space as you can, and have a table near your grill for prep.
Get some dough.. homemade, store bought, frozen, or if you can’t find those.. go to your local pizza place and they will sell ya some. The best dough recipe tested so far has been from Al Forno, a restaurant in Providence, RI. You can find that recipe here.
Allow dough to warm up to room temperature (best in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, covered with a wet paper towel).
Build your charcoal fire on one side of the grill – try not to take up more than 1/3 of the ‘floor’.
Tear off some dough, and roll it out with a rolling pin, and plenty of flour. If it resists, its probably too cold still. Roll it as thin as you can. Lightly oil the top with a brush.
On a clean grate, carefully (but quickly!) flop the oiled side of the dough. If it crinkles or folds in the ‘flop procedure’, try to correct this immediately. It starts cooking almost instantaneously. You want to keep this part over the coals, so that it cooks fast. You’ll find it best to rotate the grate, rather than trying to move the dough. Use a flipper or tongs to check it – you want to cook it until its well browned all around. Takes just a couple minutes. Have a fork ready to pop large bubbles.
Have a pan/cuttingboard ready, lined with flour or corn meal. When the bottom is cooked, use tongs and a flipper (my preffered tools) to get the dough onto the pan.. UNCOOKED side down. Yes, the side you just cooked is now the top, and this is where your toppings go. Crazy.. yes.
Go easy on toppings. You don’t want a big heavy pizza – that’s not what thin crust is about. Use a thin layer of sauce, and cover with cheese (best to use 1/3 parm/romano, 2/3 mozz), then whatever else. I recommend starting with some plain pies to get the gist of it all.
Once your toppings are done, slide the dough off the pan (tongs again) onto the area of the grill that does not have fired coals. Put the lid on, and keep the bottom vent open. You want to cook the top indirectly, so that the bottom does not burn. When your toppings are melted (you might need to rotate the dough a couple times to prevent burning).. remove the lid, and move the pie to the hot part of the fire. Cook the bottom, just as you did the top. Once its nicely browned (darker is better = more crispy), use your favorite tools to slide it onto the pan again.
Ok, it sounds like alot of work – but really, its quite easy.
Brown one side of dough. Remove from heat. Add toppings. Put back on fire, away from coals. Once toppings are melted, move over coals, brown bottom. Remove.
- fresh diced tomotoes. they will cook on the fire.
- grilled tomato slices
- grilled tomato sauce (grilled tomato and onion slices, mashed with roasted garlic, basil, and spices)
- crushed sauce (can of crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and spices)
I never recommend store bought ‘pizza sauce’ or pasta sauce. They are already cooked, and way too sweet for this pizza. Our current favorite is the crushed sauce.
Using good Parmesean and/or Romano is very important!! Do not skimp with it, and do NOT get that cheap stuff in the green can. Get some of the freshly grated type from the good cheese area in your grocery store, or even better, grate your own.