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Grilled Pizza Questions and Help

We are heading to a cabin this weekend with 2 other couples, and are responsible for dinner one night. We would like to do something on the BBQ, and pizza sounded interesting...

Any tips or tricks?

Any neat recipe or topping ideas?

And what the heck do you serve with it?

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  1. a good idea for toppings would be to include some goat cheese, caramelized or grilled onions, and maybe some arugula? yum yum

    1. Good question. Can this be done in a pan? Not trusting myself to be able to slide it off the board on which I assembled it without the whole thing flopping through the grate, I tried BBQing one on a black steel cookie sheet, but the bottom burnt black before the top was done. Total disaster.

      What the correct procedure?

      4 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        To do a grilled pizza, you need to lay the dough on the grill over medium direct heat, close the lid and let it go for about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the grill with tongs, a peel or whatever, flip it over on a peel so that the grilled side is now facing up. Spread the grilled side of the pizza with the sauce and other toppings. Now change the grill to indirect heat and return the pizza to the grill, cooking for 7-10 minutes until the bottom is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

        1. re: flourgirl

          Do you put the lid back on or leave it off for the final grilling?

          1. re: greedygirl

            I tend to close the lid so the toppings warm through and the cheese melts without the crust burning.

            1. re: greedygirl

              Sorry about that. :) Yes, you close the lid for the final grilling.

        2. I've found it easier to make individual pizzas on the grill. I also like BBQ chicken, cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and BBQ sauce to replace the tomato sauce. If you go with the small pizzas, folks can choose their own toppings.

          1. Flourgirl's description of the process is what I would have suggested. Think in terms of making a flat bread that, once turned, receives a topping. Top it with whatever you and your guests like to eat and, of course, make sure each ingredient complements the other(s). For a BBQ pizza, I prefer to brush each side of the dough with olive oil before putting it on the grill. I layer the ingredients with cheese as the first ingredient layer followed by olives, bits of browned bacon, roasted pine nuts and perhaps a few artichoke hearts. I prefer to drizzle the sauce onto the pizza as a top layer, the sprinkle a few caramelized onions on top of the sauce. If you're using an open grill you may find it easier to start the pizza using a sheet of aluminum foil to support it during the initial cooking period. Use your tongs to raise the sides of the dough periodically to check the bottom as over-browning insurance.

            Serve it with a spinach salad - try 70% spinach leaves, 30% chopped head lettuce leaves, some water chestnuts, chopped hard boiled egg and a bacon vinegairette dressing.

            1. I do exactly what flourgirl suggests. I made an amazing Margherita. Simply, homemade tomato sauce, buffalo mozarella and grill until cheese starts to melt. Take off grill and garnish with fresh basil.

              1. I like to use large, thin pitas for my grilled pizza crust. I put together a blog post about it a while back:

                http://everydayfoodie.wordpress.com/2...

                1. I grill pizza all the time - I use a homemade spelt flour crust, which is a little 'tougher' and so stands up to the movement on & off the grill. I also tend to make them on the smaller side, maybe max 8-10 inches across. They will shrink up on the grill....

                  I roll it out pretty thin and put it down on a HOT grill (unlike the other post, I do high heat to start), leave it for about 3 minutes and flip it over briefly to set the bottom (maybe 30 sec+/-). From there, my program is pretty much the same as the previous posts - remove & top grilled side with assorted things, put back on the grill on indirect heat and leave for about 7 minutes, or until everything is hot & melted.

                  The one I did on Sunday night was steamed kale and raw sheep's milk cheese with a little chili powder.... Be creative & have fun!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jdubboston

                    Would you mind posting your recipe for the spelt flour crust?

                    1. re: flourgirl

                      Sorry for the delay, had some trouble finding it. This makes enough for a number of pizzas - I tend to roll it into individual balls and freeze them in plastic bags.
                      1 1/2c warm water
                      1 pkt yeast
                      1 - 2 TBS honey or molasses (to your taste)
                      5 1/2 cups spelt flour (I've also used buckwheat mixed in)
                      2 TBS olive oil
                      1 TBS salt
                      Dissolve yeast in the water, then mix in sweetener. While yeast is active, mix in 1st cup of flour and then salt and any additional spices (see note below). Add olive oil and then remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.
                      Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for about 5minutes, let rest for a few moments and then continue kneading until it feels elastic & smooth. Put back into a greased bowl, turning to evenly coat it and the let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. (I actually always just put it in the refrigerator overnight.)
                      Break large dough into smaller balls and then roll out to preferred thickness/size. Poke holes in dough with fork every few inches and put on a preheated pizza stone or pan into a 400degree oven. Cook about 10minutes, remove and add toppings, and then return to oven.

                      Additional Spices: I have played with various combinations, but pretty much return to chili powder or cayenne, garlic powder and oregano. Feel free to play around as you wish according to your toppings!

                      1. re: jdubboston

                        Thank you! I always like to experiment and try new things (new to me anyway)! :)

                  2. I have done many grilled pizza's, and above suggestions are on track. A couple of hints:

                    You can make the dough ahead of time (and take it with you), just keep refrigerated. After you roll out the dough, put on parchment paper. You can stack up several pieces. To put on the grill, just flip dough side down and peel off the paper.

                    Favorite combo: Fresh corn and good (spicy) Italian salami w/ Fontina cheese.

                    As far as serving with: a green salad.

                    1. I expect this post will horrify the purists.. Faced with throngs in the evening at my restraunt/hotel in Guatemala I have worked out the following method. I grill the pizza
                      crusts on a gas grill for 3 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other. I do a dozen
                      at a time and freeze them. When I am ready to finish them I put the ingredients on the
                      side which was grilled longest and then put them into the wood fired brick oven to finish them. If I am doing them at home without the oven I get the grill really hot with the cover closed. I then open the cover only enough to slip the pizza in, close the cover
                      quickly and turn down the burners to medium. Works great.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: paul balbin

                        Just a little side note/reminder that toppings to do not actually cook on the grill so things like peppers, onions, mushrooms need to be precooked. Otherwise you will get warm but basically raw toppings.

                      2. One thing--I don't know if others have mentioned, but if you are using veggie toppings, grill them and make sure they are done before you put the dough on the grill, b/c the dough will be done in 3 minutes or so. My best success was when I used fresh mozz (the one soaked in water) or buffalo mozz. sliced thin, and used freshly-grilled veggies chopped up as the topping.

                        1. I hope your pizza turned out well, Finsmom. I'd like to suggest an alternate method for grilling pizza than the popular method, mentioned below, of sliding it directly on the grill, flipping it, and then topping it and finishing. I just don't like the idea of changing the character of what you're cooking by directly cooking the side that you top. And I find that you're limited in the toppings you can add because you have so short a cooking time when the pizza is actually topped. So here is what I do:

                          - prepare a hot fire on a charcoal grill, with a good amount of coals
                          - spread the coals around the edge of the grill so I have nearly a full ring of coals, with no coals in the center
                          - place grate on, and then put my pizza stone on the grate to warm it
                          - once that stone is nice and hot, put a topped, normal, uncooked pizza on the stone
                          - cook it for about 7-10 minutes

                          This method allows the cheese to get nice and bubbly and just start to turn brown, the crust gets a great char, and everything gets a nice smoky flavor from the burning coals. The toppings are good and hot and starting to cook (especially if you use very thinly sliced veggies). Am I the only one doing this? The direct grilling of the crust seems to be the most popular by far.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: govo

                            Your method is perfectly fine and basically replicates what you get when you bake a pizza in your oven. Grilled pizza and pizza baked on a pizza stone are two different things and taste different.

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              It is very much like oven pizza - I agree, but I also think that pizza cooked using a wood/charcoal fire, in an oven or the grill method I use, has a much different (and better) taste than your standard oven.

                              But now you've got me really wanting to try the direct grilling method to explore the differences. I'd imagine you need a fairly stiff dough?

                              1. re: govo

                                You know, I've never cooked a pizza on a stone over charcoal/wood (just on my gas grill). I wasn't even thinking about the flavor aspect of that - just the different cooking method. My apologies. And now you've got me really wanting to try it. :)

                                And yes, to grill the pizza dough right on the grill, you need a fairly stiff dough.

                                1. re: govo

                                  When I grill pizza I use the same dough. I do not alter it in any way or make it "stiffer". It sets up very fast on the grill and I've never had any issues with it sagging between the grates if that's what you are concerned about. No reason to change your recipe.

                              2. re: govo

                                When you use a grill stone it's a good idea to put it on right after you light your fire so the stone heats gradually with the fire. If you allow your fire to get to hot some stones will break from the rapid temp change.
                                Another option is to lightly grill both sides of the dough, top and finish in the oven.

                                1. re: Docsknotinn

                                  I've seen grill stones in catalogs for exorbitant prices and posts from people recommending using fire bricks placed on the grill and heated. Anyone familiar with the fire brick method? I'd like to know more detail about the bricks: are there different kinds, how much $, how many bricks, what works best...

                                  1. re: morwen

                                    Yes I've seen some over priced (WS) but the stores that sell the BGE carry them as well. Better prices can be found at Crate & Barrel.
                                    Here's a page about grilling pies and IIR they talk about the bricks.
                                    The idea below for a screen is interesting. I will have to try that but I think I would be tempted to finish in the oven. Do you have a temp suggestion for the grill when using a screen? I would think that even with a coal fired oven you would set the screen on a slate or stone bottom.

                                    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/pizza.htm

                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                      Thanks for the link! It was helpful in warning me away from putting my Pampered Chef stones in my grill (although my grill is a basic propane and not a BGE). The previous references I've seen to using fire bricks for grill pizza said to bake the pizza directly on the fire brick unlike the nakedwhiz link which uses the brick to raise the baking stone up to the level of the grill lip and move the direct heat to the sides (kind of a little stone oven within the grill). I think I'm going to have to just invest in some bricks and give it a shot.

                                  2. re: Docsknotinn

                                    Another suggestion: after breaking an expensive baking stone by either overheating it or heating it up too rapidly, I switched to a black marble floor tile, 12" by 12", from the home-supply store, which I've been using under fairly extreme conditions for a couple of years now - much less expensive and, apparently, more durable. Works really well.

                                  3. re: govo

                                    I use a similar method with my gas grill. I put 4 unglazed tiles on the cooking grate, 2 on the overhead warming grate, light the grill, then wait until it reaches about 500-550 degrees. A pie takes 4-5 min. to cook, depending on the toppings. I am satisfied with the texture of the crust.

                                  4. The one thing I don't that I haven't seen mentioned here is that we do use a pan - metal mesh, somewhat like splatter screen with more space between the metal. All the character of the grilling comes through (it will burn to a crisp very well if you don't watch it) but it is easier to move around. I got it at my local pizzeria - that is what they use in their coal fired ovens so it is authentic enough for me.

                                    --Lisa

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ldkelley

                                      All good info. We use bread flour to make the crust and tomato paste, not tomato sauce.

                                      1. Broccoli rabe with sausage and asiago is one of my grill favorites...(Do the sausage and rabe in advance...rabe parboiled then sauted in EVOO, lots of garlic and crushed red pepper)