Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pizza on the Grill? Why Not?

Pizza is probably the most personal of all foods. We all grew up with a particular "style" of pizza, and to a large degree that defines what we think of as pizza for the rest of our lives. For some, pizza was a treat that came out of your Mom's oven. For a lot of us, it came from the local, family run, pizza place. For many others, particularly where there is a less ethnic population, pizza came from the big national chains like Domino's or Papa John's. I've written on this topic before, about the pizza of my childhood, which we referred to as tomato pie.

All that having been said, I'd like to introduce you to a home made style of pizza that, if you take the time to do it once, may change your perception of what a really good pizza can, and should be. I'm fortunate enough to have worked for an Italian company at one point in my career. That allowed me to travel to Italy quite a few times and enjoy the true Italian style of pizza in several parts of that wonderful country. Although there are regional differences, one constant is the crust. Italian pizza, and I'm talking Neapolitan style here, has a thin and very crisp crust. It's cooked at very high temperatures which allow that crispiness to quickly develop.

We like to make our own pizza at home. It's a true comfort food for us. We make it year round and have tried a number of cooking methods to get as close to what we have experienced in Italy as we can. One method that works better than most, is to cook the pizza on a grill! We use a gas grill but I suspect this would work just as well with a charcoal grill.

So, how do you cook a pizza on a grill? It's easier than you think and it all starts with the dough.

Ingredients (dough)
  • 1 1/2 cups regular AP flour (we prefer King Arthur)
  • 1 1/2 cups high protein flour (bread machine flour) (King Arthur also)
  • 1 cup water w/ a tbsp sugar and a package of rapid rise yeast has been dissolved
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp EVOO

Ingredients (toppings)
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • tomato sauce (we actually use Hunts plain to which we add garlic powder, marjoram, 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of powdered rosemary)
  • meat and vegetable toppings of your choice

  • Place flours and salt in a food processor pulse 4-5 times to combine
  • With the blade running, add water mixture and olive oil. Process until a ball forms
  • Dump onto floured surface, knead until soft and smooth.
  • Place in bowl, cover with towel, allow to rise until double in size
  • When ready to use, punch down dough ball, divide into four pieces.
  • Roll each piece out to about 1/8 inch thick (it will take some practice to get it this thin)

NOTE: Preheat the grill for at least 30 minutes - get it as hot as you can.

  • Hand place the rolled out dough on the grill (this will take a little practice)

  • Cook the dough on the first side approximately 1 minute (this will vary according to your grill)
  • Turn the dough over and start putting the cheese on right away.

  • Spoon on the tomato sauce and spread it around in a thin layer with the back of the spoon.

  • Add other toppings but note that this thin crust pizza will not support a lot of weight. We occasionally add thinly sliced mushrooms, pepperoni or sausage and peppers, but never in large amounts.

  • Turn the heat down to low (this is important to make sure the crust doesn't burn. Cook on the second side until the cheese melts and the sauce is hot.

  • Remove from the grill and cut and serve immediately! We finish ours with grated parmesan cheese, aleppo pepper flakes and fresh basil. 

This easy to make, grilled pizza is light, extremely fresh tasting and may completely change your view of what pizza can be. Enjoy!



  1. For more ideas on grilled pizza, check out Vermont's Best Organic Pizza, also grilled of course, at We do an organic sourdough instead of using yeast for both taste and health reasons, but grilled pizza is grilled pizza! Always "Hits the Spotamus" for this hippo!

    1. A pizza loving, blog reading hippo! Go figure. Thanks for reading. Next time in Vermont we will check you out.

  2. This was a beautiful presentation! The pizza looks fabulous and I am hoping to get a grill soon so I can try it out! My old one went to grill heaven... :-) Anything relative to pizza is a winner in my home! :-)

  3. I went to a grilled pizza making class a few months ago and you did everything perfectly!I had no idea you had to put the sauce on second with grilled pizza until that class!That pizza looks delicious!


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