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Pizza on the grill - too many opinions

I'm interested in trying out pizza on the gas grill but am overwhelmed by all the opinions. My primary questions are the following:

1) pizza stone or directly on the grill?
2) if pizza stone, what type to get that doesn't crack and will last (I don't want to spent $100 on the William Sonoma one with a thermometer)
3) if it does crack, does it matter?

I'm interested in crispy, thin crust pizza and from what I can tell the stone may be the best way to go. Directly on the grill sounds interesting, but sounds as if the taste may be nice and smoky, but the crust may be tough. Appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks

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  1. I use a stone...... i put bricks under each corner to raise it off the grill some....... i've never had a stone crack except after getting wet....... i have continued to use my broken stone in my oven, it broke cleanly in two pieces........ cooking right on the grill, in my experience, burns the crust before the cheese melts.

    1. i've been happy with my pizza made directly on the gas grill. i don't think one needs a stone. the crust was crispy, not tough. basically, all you're really doing is cooking the crust, melting the cheese on top, and getting a little caramelization on the pepperoni edges (YUUUM). thus, it doesn't take very long on the grill at all. note: i wouldn't put raw sausage on the pizza, but i'd cook it before. i used a simple bread machine pizza dough.

      here's a thought: try it out directly on the grill before you invest in any gadgets. try it directly over the flame at different heat levels to see which works best for your type of pizza, and also try it not directly over the flame. (i do have pizza stones, but not from williams-sonoma. they live in the oven.)

      6 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        I do not use a stone either. it gets olive oiled and slapped on the grill directly over the low flame. Sits for 10 minutes or so then flipped to indirect hear and loaded with my precooked goodies. i usually put any escape artisty thing like sausage under the cheese then the rest on top.

        Teejay - Trader's dough works dandyfine.

        1. re: alkapal

          Yes alkapal, I use both, but for a thin crispy pizza I basically use just my grill, medium heat, I got dough from my pizza Italian place but easily make your own. Fillings should be light. Brown on one side and flip, I cook another 30 seconds and then I like to remove to top, but by all means, top right on the grill if you want. I liked cooked ingredients as the pizza cook less time on the grill and I don't like heavy sauces thinner works best with grilled pizza.

          When I first started I bought Pillsbury pizza dough cut it in 3 or so pieces and tried 3 different ones on the grill to see cooking times and heats, it was easy quick and inexpensive and showed me the right cook temp and time. Since then I make pizza all the time on the grill.

          I do use my stone at times when I am doing a bigger much heavier pizza which requires more cooking time and also when I am cooking other dishes, It serves as a multi suface cooking area.

          My pizza stone almost 10 years old from Walmart 20 bucks or so with a few extra items included. It is great!

          I am making pizza Thursday for friends, goat cheese, sundried, olives, spinach and artichokes. Another has shrimp, a light bechemel, mozz, parm, arugula and mushrooms

          Another has carmelized onions, pesto, gruyere, proscuitto and olives

          And a traditional a light tomato sauce, very light, some sausage, onions and peppers and mushrooms and some mozz.

          Again, go light on sauce and toppings and pre cooked like many have mentioned.

          The grill well oiled and a little cornmeal on the peel so it slips off.

          One last note. Not too thin, it burns, medium crust works best.

          Cheeses, goat, gruyere, mozz, parm, fortina all work well, sliced proscuitto works great cooked meats and semi cooked toppings. I do like the base whether it be pesto, I like tomato, bechemel or just olive oil, then cheese, then the toppings. This for me works best.

          It really is easy.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            kim, this suggestion is very good! >>>>""I do use my stone at times when I am doing a bigger much heavier pizza which requires more cooking time and also when I am cooking other dishes, It serves as a multi suface cooking area.""<<<

            i like your combos, too. love me some goat cheese! (did i tell you about my new latest fave? i can't recall. fwiw, here it is: president brand "creamy and mild" fresh goat cheese: https://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/st... ).

            1. re: alkapal

              Haven't tried, sounds good. I never really liked goat cheese but becoming more and more of a fan.

              Yes the stone is great for multi surface. Sometimes I will make pizza as an app and then use the stone for shrimp, fish, even breads, crab cakes, etc. Pretty much anything. Grilled romaine works well as veggies, minus the grill marks but still good.

              I like to use it when I am making many dishes all on the grill keeps them warm and cooking but doesn't burn. FYI, I will look for president brand. We don't have wegmans, but I am sure it is around.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                i'd ask at publix. but i searched the president website using a sarasota zip (34321) code, and didn't find any locations where it is sold in the area. ;-(.

                edit: i searched using a different size product, and found the "11 oz. log" is sold here:
                BJs Wholesale Club
                8085 Cooper Creek Blvd
                University Park FL 34201-2028
                (941) 3601363

                http://www.bjs.com/locations/clubs/12...
                "Located off of University Pkwy. (I-75 Exit 213), just beyond Sarasota Outlet Center."

                (i'm not sure the "log" is the same as i had, the "fresh" "creamy and mild" as shown in the wegman's link.).

                1. re: alkapal

                  I just did the same. Many times Publix can get stuff in if you ask. I'll keep looking. I go to St Pete and Tampa alot so many there

        2. I've cooked directly on the grates...you'll need to oil the dough. Keep the heat low (if you can only turn one side of the burners on that's even better). Cook 1st side until golden, then flip over and put toppings on that cooked side. By the time underside is cooked, the cheese will be melted. You definitely need to use pre-cooked toppings and keep them minimal. It cooks really fast, you need to keep an eye on it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BeeZee

            Thanks everybody. Very helpful thoughts and pretty much the direction I was leaning. Agree on cooking ingredients first as sausage tartare doesn't sound too good. I've also read keep the toppings somewhat minimal like Italian pizzas tend to be anyways. I think I was going to try out a fresh mozz, prosciutto and basil one as a tryout since that sounds light and shouldn't take too long to melt.

            Has anyone tried the Trader Joe's crust? I've heard they have three types and was probably going to give that a try as I tend to be incompetent with yeast for some reason.

            1. re: teejaymoore

              teejay, i know others like the tj's crust (i'm talkin' dough), but i had a veeeeery hard time taming that crust to get it into shape (never could, properly). i ended up undercooking it (pizza stone in oven) and had horrible stomach issues (mr. alka attributed it to yeasty dough in tum, improperly cooked. uuuuugh. it was bad....). if you have a breadmaker, use it; it is great for the pizza dough. don't be afraid of the yeast (unless it is undercooked in dough. again.....uuuuuugggggghhhhhh --- ruined me for a full 24 hours, at least).

              1. re: alkapal

                Try rolling it out as thinly as you can manage and then transferring it to the bottom of a jellyroll pan (upside down). I usually oil it really well to keep it loose. oil and cornmeal the pan, put the dough onto it and then slide it off onto the grill. Do not let it sit too long. If you get holes, just pinch them closed. Docking might also help. I am too lazy to do it do I just strong arm it.

                1. re: alkapal

                  You will find the TJ's dough much easier to tame when it warms up! I also struggle with it when I'm in a rush and the dough is cold. Often if you just flatten it as best you can, then walk away for five minutes, then try again.

                  As for stone: I use ultra cheap 12 inch clay tiles that get used for flooring in Spanish style home. They often crack after use into a couple big pieces, and you can still use them. I have yet to try directly on the grate, but want to...

            2. OK - so I tried it this weekend and was reasonably successful for a first effort (no stone, just right on the grill). Learned a couple things - too thin and it burns instantly and using only about 1/2 to 2/3 or TJ's dough ball makes a more manageable pizza for the grill. Tried the whole thing on the first one and it pretty much took over the grill. I also didn't like the flavor of the Whole Wheat as thought it overpowered the ingredients a bit.

              Question for someone on using fresh mozzarella - when I sliced it and put it on the pizza, there was quite a bit of water in it which made the top a bit watery. Any suggestions as like the idea of using fresh versus shredded mozz.

              2 Replies
              1. re: teejaymoore

                Fresh mozz I do use but I break it up in small pieces, a whole piece to me doesn't work as well. I also used grated, not as good, but when using fresh I do break it up in small pieces and scatter across the pizza.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  thanks. I think that likely would help and you could probably press the pieces in paper towels to suck out a little of the moisture.

              2. Our local paper had a section last week where they talked to some of Des Moines best chefs about grilling. George Formaro, one of Des Moines best, gave his recipe for making pizza dough, and grilling pizza.
                So first, don't laugh, Des Moines has some incredible chefs, and second, if you're interested I'll dig it out and post it tomorrow evening.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bobfrmia

                  That would be great if you could post it. I won't scorn Des Moines as I'm originally from Lawrence, KS (parents still live there) and it has several restaurants I can't wait to frequent on my visits (La Tropicana for Mexican and Johnny's for burgers and pizza). Much appreciated.

                  PS - the book I purchased which was great and informative was "Pizza on the Grill - 100 Feisty Fire Roasted Recipes" from Amazon.

                  1. re: teejaymoore

                    I tried to find the article on the Registers website, but the links don't work.
                    So, here's the relevant stuff.
                    Tips from George:Make half the grill hot and half cooler, When the crust is brown and blistered,add the toppings and cheese and move it to the cooler side for the cheese to melt. Grill topping seperately. Remember, black blisters and grill marks are a good thing. Grilling is the closest thing to a wood fired oven.
                    Now the recipe.
                    2 cups warm water
                    1 packeage active dry yeast
                    2 tbls olive oil
                    2 tsp kosher salt
                    6 cups of bread flour, or high gluten flour. Substitute up to 2 cups wheat flour if desired.
                    In a large mixing bowl combine the water and yeast and let yeast start to work.
                    Add olive oil.
                    Slowly add flour, not all at once. Add salt.
                    Keep working in the flour mixture until a soft dough formsknead for 5 -10 minutes,adding flour as needed until a smooth dough forms. You may not need all six cups.
                    Cut dough into 4 pieces and roll into tight balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temp until doubled in size. Refridgerate overnight to allow dough to develop flavor and more character.
                    Heat grill to medium high. Roll crust to desired thickness, brush with olive oil and place directly on the grill. (It won't fall through, so don't worry).When nicely browned, turn over. Top with sliced tomatoes, thin slices of fresh Mozzarella, fresh basil, and additional olive oil. Move to indirect heat until cheese melts.
                    Other topping suggestions, grilled vegies and goat cheese.
                    Roasted peppers pine nuts and salami.
                    Gorgonzola, carmelized onion and toasted walnuts, etc.
                    That's it.
                    I haven't tried it, but I will. Georges restaurant, Centro, has fantastic pizza. All his place's are highly rated.

                2. I'm addicted to Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day. Here are 2 recent posts that might be of interest. One is about foccacia on the grill, and the other is about pizza.

                  http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=698
                  http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=237

                  The second link includes a picture turorial & a lot of discussion/suggestions.

                  1. I'm new to this also - We put the crust directly on the grill, turn it when it gets grill marks - but just for a few seconds. Because we're slow, we then take them off completely, top them and then put them back on with a lowered temp just to finish them off. I oil up a cookie sheet to transport the raw crusts, and also just make the crusts an individual size so they are easy to hande. Five minutes to mix ingredients for crust in the morning - hangs out in the frig all day, then comes out long enough to warm up. Rolls out like a dream.

                    1. One Note:

                      If the bottom gets done to quick and the toppings are not done. I always keep foil by my grill. Just use your peel, pick it up put a piece of foil down put the pizza back down and turn to low. 3-4 minutes and everything is melted without burning. I learned that when the pizza had additional toppings and was a bit heavier.

                      1. Probably lots of other resources out there, but last year the Washington Post did a feature on pizza on the grill in their food section.

                        Recipe is here: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

                        Main article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                        I followed their recipe and tips and it worked pretty well...used toppings like fresh mozz, proscuitto, arugula, tomato sauce, pepperoni. We had all the toppings ready to go right by the grill so we didn't have to move the crust around much and could top it right on the grill (quickly!). We found smaller pies easier to manage on the grill than larger ones but that might be my inexperience.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cookie44

                          Smaller pies. Absolutely. Don't do a large or extra large, lol. I tried to make medium size or small individual ones which worked great. You can do a few at a time and use different toppings so it is fun to try a little of each.

                          I've tried large and maybe my inexperience too. It is just so much easier with the smaller ones.