Pizza on the Grill
Pizza may not be the first menu item that comes to mind when you’re ready to fire up the grill, but pizza is an ideal and versatile choice for grilling.
Some grills come with a pizza stone accessory, but even if yours doesn’t, you can use your own pizza stone on top of the grill grates. You can also grill a pizza directly over charcoal briquettes or wood, or on a gas grill.
Make sure you have a large surface area, especially if you’re grilling multiple pizzas at once, and make sure the grill is clean. You can use fresh dough, store-bought or prepackaged for the base of the pizza, but punch holes in it with a fork, as that keeps it from rising too much. Brush a bit of olive oil on top, and you’re ready to grill.
First, grill one side of the pizza dough for a minute or two to brown it a bit, and then flip, add your toppings, and put back on the grill. The toppings will cook faster and more thoroughly if you cover the grill, but you can leave the grill open if you just want to warm up the toppings. Wet ingredients will need to be covered or you’ll risk undercooking. You can also leave the lid open for the first five minutes or so, then close the lid for the last minute or two.
Once you’ve mastered the “how-to,” it’s time to think about the different varieties of toppings – and they are endless. Think of a pizza as a blank palette upon which you can decorate and design the perfect flavor combinations. But on the grill, limit the toppings to 3 or 4, so the pizza is easier to handle.
Traditionalists may just go for some quality mozzarella or provolone, and tomato sauce with Italian herbs. Cheese lovers can experiment with different combinations, such as Pecorino Romano, Gorgonzola or even goat cheese. For carnivores, bacon, sausage, pulled pork, pepperoni and meatballs are popular. Vegetarians have an array of options, from onions to mushrooms to peppers, olives, spinach, broccolini, marinated artichokes, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. Instead of tomato sauce, barbeque sauce is a nice change of pace, or drizzle some balsamic glaze.
Thinking outside the pizza box a bit, try an eggplant parmigiana pizza; a Hawaiian pizza, which boasts both ham and pineapple; pizza with bacon, asparagus and goat cheese; a barbeque chicken pizza; or a white pizza with garlic oil and fresh herbs.
The best thing about a grilled pizza party is that everyone can design their own perfectly palatable pizza.