How to Make the Best Grilled Pizza

Much to the hub's chagrin, I've taken over the grill this season.  He works, I'm home, it's just easier for me to prep dinner and have it cooking and ready by the time he comes home.

Don't mistake this as me being the good little housewife.
I'm hungry.
I want to eat,
do bath time
and get these monsters in bed.

But grilling is super easy in the summer.  The oven makes our house super hot, and it gives the girls extra play time outside while I get things together and cooking.  Win win win.

When it comes to grilling pizza, the hardest part is getting your raw dough onto the grill.  Once you've made the transfer, the rest is basic watch-and-don't-burn-anything.  Master that move and you're golden (so to speak) but here are some more tricks that I've picked up along the way.

Tips for grilling:

  • Don't try to make your pizza too big.  The dough I used was cut into two "smaller" pizzas, each giving a good 6 pieces.  The move is much easier that trying to stretch a 14" pizza dough onto a hot grill without it falling through the grates or severely burning your hands.
    • The split also allows for multiple pizza options, only further promoting your pizza making skills and wowing your diners.
  • Use toppings sparingly.  The more moisture and weight you add, the soggier things will be and you won't get that crispy, doughy crust you're looking for.  Go for big, bold flavors to get the most impact.  If you do go the cheese and pepperoni route (and it's delicious) use your sauce and cheese lightly so the rest of your hard work isn't smothered.
  • The grill needs to be really hot, which means you need to stay alert and be ready to work.  Grilling pizza isn't exactly the 40-minute BBQ chicken you may make.  The whole thing will take 10 minutes tops.  Have your V&T ready, don't stop in the middle of the process to get your cocktail ready for dinner.
  • Have your topping ready.  When the underside is marked and ready to turn, be ready with your sauce, cheese and other things so you're not left with cooked dough and unmelted cheese.  This is a sin in pizza.
  • Oil is your friend.  Oil the side of your dough that's going to hit the grill first.  Don't be shy.  It keeps it from sticking and makes you a happy flipper.
  • The dough will bubble and brown.  Don't be afraid, this is supposed to happen.  With a grill, you're looking for awesome marks.  The bubbles will fix themselves when you flip your dough.  And if the underside gets a little ahead of you, you're just going to put toppings on it, thus hiding any slight imperfections.  It's over the grill, it's supposed to taste smokey!

To grill:

  • Preheat the grill to at least 400 degrees.  450 is better.  Remember, hot is good, but you're also going for an even heat, so if you've got multiple burners on your grill, adjust accordingly.\
  • Oil one side of your dough and move quickly to flip that side DOWN on the grill.  You may need an extra set of hands to hold your pan near the grill so you can flip is one swift moment.  This is the hardest, most intimidating part.  No pizza is worth scaring your hands, so be safe.
  • After about 5 minutes, your dough will be stiff and marked, ready to flip.  The decision to close the grill during this time is your own.  I like to keep an eye on things so they don't burn, so the cooking process may take an extra minute or two, but I'm able to keep track of things
How the dough will lift when it's ready to be flipped.
Notice the marking, visible, but not overwhelming the entire surface!
  • Once you've flipped, add your sauce and toppings.  Remember, have them ready.  Working over the grill will be hot, so again, be safe.  It's just cheese, not worth a finger!
  • After you add toppings, I would suggest now you close the lid.  Helps melt the cheese.  Your dough is ALMOST cooked by the time you flip it, so you're safe.  Just remember, keep an eye on things.
  • Remove to cutting board or cookie sheet with the help of a spatula and perhaps, another set of hands and let cool slightly before cutting.

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