Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grilling Pizza

Hello, Friends!

Awhile ago I posted about the best pizza crust I have ever made at home.  You can find that post and the recipe for it here.  I told you that we would try to grill it because that is our favorite way to make pizza at home.  Well, we tried it and it was amazing.  I am not the griller in our family.  My husband Jason handles that and does a pretty good job in my opinion.  We have a charcoal grill which takes more time than a gas grill, but the flavor can't be beat.  Here is how we go about making pizzas on the grill.

We begin by lighting our charcoal in a chimney starter.  We use briquettes because they retain their heat longer and that way we do not need to add any during the cooking process.  (Natural lump charcoal will burn hotter, which is ideal for grilling pizzas, but also burns more quickly. If you desire to use natural lump charcoal you may want to have a second batch heating in a chimney starter so you can add it during the cooking process if your grill begins to lose heat.) 

After the coals begin to be covered with a grey ash, pour them out on one side of the grill.  (You can even pour them out earlier than you normally would for cooking other foods so you will have a higher temperature for the actual cooking.)  This is where you will cook the crusts directly.  Leave the other side free of coals so that the pizza can cook indirectly once it has been topped. 

The last time I made this dough, the recipe said that it would make three pizzas.  For grilling, however, we prefer small, individual sized crusts because they are easier to move.  After I made the dough and let it rise, I took it and divided it into six small pizzas.  Once the grill was good and hot, we put the pizza crusts on the grill right over the hot coals (direct heat) and let them get those pretty grill marks on each side.  A spatula works best for this task.  The crusts should be crispy and lightly browned.  Stay next to your grill!  You don't want to leave them on too long or they will burn...if not now then later after you have added the toppings.  Once they are crispy and browned, remove them and place them on a baking sheet.  Now you're ready to add your toppings!

Before we even begin grilling the crusts, I make sure I have all my toppings ready.  This will ensure that the grill will stay hot.  The first time we grilled pizzas I did not do this and our pizzas took forever to cook.  We like to get creative with our toppings and make fun ones like Greek pizzas, barbecue chicken pizzas, etc. 

Mmm.  Look at those tasty little pizzas all ready to go back onto the grill.

When you have all of the toppings on your pizzas, place them back onto the grill.  This time you will want to place them on the side that does not have the hot coals (indirect heat). Keep them as far away from the coals as you can so the crust does not burn.  Then place the cover on the grill with the vent holes over the pizzas. This will draw the heat up "through" the pizzas, heating them and melting the cheese.

We cook the pizzas at a high heat with the cover on until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp.
Our grill was around 500 degrees.  Pretty hot indeed!

Again, watch your pizzas closely so they don't burn.  Don't leave them on for longer than is necessary to melt the cheese otherwise the crusts have a tendency to become tough.  Still very tasty, but can be rather unpleasant to eat.  If for whatever reason you want/need to crisp up the crust you could move the pizza back over the direct heat VERY briefly. They could also burn very easily so watch them closely.

Those pizzas look good enough to eat!  And we did.  And they were great.

We enjoyed our pizzas on our patio with a little Lambrusco, one of our favorite red wines.  Lambrusco has a little "sparkle" to it and goes well with pizza.

The next two pictures are courtesy of my husband Jason, who lifted up his pizza so that you could all see the bottom of his pizza crust...

and then all of his toppings slid off.  He played it cool by saying something like, "At least now it will cool faster so that I can eat it!"  I love him.

There you have it, folks!  This recipe for pizza crust still has the top spot for our favorite crust.  I can now recommend that you cook it in your oven and on the grill.    I hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday!  God's blessings on the rest of your week!

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