I keep hearing about people making pizza on their barbecues.
Whats next I ask you? Barbecued pancakes? Throw some crepes on the grill mate?
Actually I am just a tad bitter because I tried it once and it didn’t turn out very well, coming out scorched and all. But there is a good side to having a selectively poor memory and that is I just keep plugging right along again and again.
Just like donuts. For years I searched the world for the best, most memorable homemade donuts that would be out of this world! They had always came out bready and blah. Then I finally found the ultimate wonderful sour cream donuts and it rocked my world! The search was over at long last. Now I am bold enough to try other donuts as well and am afraid no more.
And fried chicken.
But here is the one for pizza on the barbecue. Finally a success story!
I will give you all the gory details too, what worked, what I would change. The lessons I learned after this pizza-extravaganza!
First thing I did was make pizza dough in the morning, put it in a large bag and let it raise in the fridge. That took no time at all and it made 5 balls of dough. That recipe was as follows:
1 1/4 cups warm water, not over 110 degrees
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp yeast (or 1 package, which is slightly more)
3-3 1/2 cups flour, good quality all purpose
1 Tbsp kosher (course) salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
I used my standing mixer but you can do it by hand or bread machine if you want. Whisk your dry ingredients. Add your wet ingredients to it. Mix well and let the machine do the rest of the kneading. Pizza doesn’t meed much kneading really. If you are making the dough way in advance, like a day or 3, use less yeast (about half) and don’t bother kneading at all. Just get it to a point where it is not too sticky and put it into a bag to be stored in the fridge. I use loaf type bags that I buy but you can use a loaf bag from a previous loaf of bread. Or a large bowl tightly covered.
This type of pizza dough needs to be less sticky than I usually like it to be. Because, of course, you really don’t want it sticking to the grill, or even oozing down between the grate.
It started out to be enough dough for us since my older son was going to girl friends house for dinner. But somehow, not only did he and she end up here but two tag-alongs came as well. Thats fine. Except now it meant I needed more dough.
I whipped up another batch of dough using just 1 cup of water this time, adding the yeast and salt and oil and sugar but using less flour, just until it was barely tacky. Then I covered the bowl to let it raise. There really wasn’t time to let it raise properly since it almost dinner time by then. But I was going to give it a try anyway.
So I heated up our gas grill. Ours has 3 burners. I put the first one on high the next one on medium low. Later I would play with the knobs, up and down, cooler/hotter with the illusion that I actually had some control here.
While it warmed up I (and a helper) grated cheese, cooked sausage, sliced onions and olives and opened packs of pepperoni.
Once the ‘cue is hot, the dough is ready and you have your toppings on hand, it is a quick business. Now add 8 people wanting to each do their own pizza to the mix! It was like working in an In-n-Out on a friday night! (or any night really. When have you been to one that there hasn’t been a huge line?)
So, step 1, first person roll out their dough. Actually it was me. I wanted to be the guinea pig, just in case this turned out to be a char disaster. (actually only 1 was).
I rolled it out on our patio table that had been converted to pizzeria. I used a vinyl sheet to roll out the dough on. I rolled it out, and if it resisted, I would let it rest under plastic wrap for a minute or two, then keep rolling.
When thin, lay it on the hot side of the grill and put down the lid. Wait a minute, peek. Poke any big bubbles that form. Wait until it is done on the bottom, with some stripes, but not burnt to a crisp. It really does not take long. Don’t you dare walk away!
Now, flip it over for just a few seconds. Lift it with a spatula or tongs and put on a plate for that person to put toppers on.
In the meantime another person can start their dough on the hot side. If it gets too hot, turn down.
Person 1 puts some olive oil on the crust and brushes it around. Then the sauce, cheese and assorted toppings. The recipe says to keep it light, but no one seemed to understand what light meant.
Anyway, the loaded pizza then goes to the cooler side to both cook the crust and melt the toppings. Since the heat comes from below, the toppings do not get as soft and ‘done’ looking.
It helped with the mushrooms when I put some olive oil over the top. But the next time I would saute them and the onions just a little first. Oh, and the garlic.
To recap: Dough on the one hot side (left on our ‘cue) and topped one on the right, or cooler side to finish cooking. Pull out, rotate to one side, add the next one. Oops, where is the sausage? Cut up some more? I want provolone cheese please and how about if I put some sauerkraut on mine? (seriously? Several of them did this. None would admit is was awful but it must have been.) If it had too many toppings, I would put the whole pizza on an actual pizza pan back on the barbecue to allow it to sit on it longer before cooking and without burning.
One guy had a donut looking one, with a charred hole in the middle, but the rest turned out great. One person accidentally started putting sauce on before cooking the dough. Another just turned black when I blinked. (DONT BLINK!)
Anyhow, with a little pre-planning, pizza on the grill can work for you! Taste better than any home pizza ever and not heat up the already too hot house!