Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

These pizza's are a real hit. There are literally hundreds of different topping combinations you can make...you are limited only by your imagination.

The pizza dough you use can either be made from scratch, refrigerator (can dough), or pre-made frozen dough. In my case I buy a dough which is made fresh daily and frozen into a 5” ball. Each of these balls can be cut in half to allow for 2 approximately 12” - 14” pizzas. If using a frozen dough, allow it to thaw out covered for several hours during which time it will rise.

You can also use many different types of sauces. For this I simply use a good Italian spaghetti sauce.

With regards to the cheeses, you can use 1, 2 or a combination of several different types. You just have to be sure it is a cheese that melts well. The cheeses I list below are just some ideas, you don’t HAVE to use them all.


What You’ll Need

  • Pizza Dough - canned, frozen or freshly made
  • Your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • Cheese (Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, Parmesan etc)
  • Toppings (Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Pineapple etc)**
  • Corn meal or finely crushed dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Prep surface such as pizza peel, cutting board, pizza stone, cookie sheet without sides etc. Anything on which you can place the dough and be able to slide it off easily.

How its Done

Preparation

The most important thing about cooking pizza on the grill,  especially if your not using a pizza stone, is preparation. Have everything ready, prepared and within reach. All cheeses should be grated (if needed) and all fresh herbs roughly chopped (if needed). Have a spoon or small ladle handy to spread the sauce. And remember, certain vegetables and meats may need to be pre-cooked or parboiled ahead of time.

Start by applying a small amount of flour to your work surface. Then kneed and roll out your dough. Using your hands stretch out the dough into roughly a 12”-14” circle. This takes some practice and the circle does not have to be perfectly round, so don’t get discouraged. 

Sprinkle a liberal amount of corn meal on your pizza pan, pizza peel or whatever your going to use to transport your pizza to the grill. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your pan. 

Cooking without a pizza stone.

If you don’t have a pizza stone you will need to cook the bottom of your dough first. 
Start by preheating your grill and carefully wipe your cooking grate with oil, or use a cooking spray specially formulated for grills

Depending on the thickness of the crust, you may need to precook the pizza. Start by placing the dough upside down (corn meal side up) on your cooking grate. Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown. Then flip it over and begin layering your toppings to within 1/2” of the edge. Start by adding your sauce…don’t go crazy, just a light coating. Then your cheeses followed by your meats, vegetables and finally your herbs. Close your lid and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or until the cheeses are melted and the edge begins to brown. 

Cooking WITH a pizza stone.

**Note: If your using a pizza stone there is no need to pre-cook the top side of the pizza as stated above.

 Place your pizza stone on the middle of your cooking grate cover and preheat grill and stone on high. Once the pizza has been topped, transport it to the grill and carefully slide it onto the stone. The liberal sprinkling of corn meal should allow it to slide right off. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust browns. Remove, slice and enjoy.

TIPS

Its the little things that make the difference..

  • Sprinkle a little garlic powder on the crust before adding the sauce. You can taste the difference
  • Try a little color…sauté some red and green Bell Pepper and add it along with your other toppings…looks good and tastes even better.
  • Basil - I always grow my own fresh basil and have it on hand. Do a rough chop to a few sprigs and add it to your pizza just before it is done. REALLY makes a difference.


Have the right tools…

  • I highly recommend you invest in the right tools for making pizza, Calzones or Stromboli’s. It not only makes the job easier but it also makes for a better tasting pizza.
  • Pizza Pan - inexpensive and perfect surface to build your pizza then transport it to and from the grill (or oven) and to cut it when done. Can be bought in most restaurant supply stores or online. 
  • Pizza Stone - preheated on grill or in the oven, these stones provide even heating for your pizza. Buy a descent one you won’t be sorry.
  • Pizza Peel - Basically a giant spatula, perfect for transferring the VERY hot pizza from the VERY hot pizza stone to the pan. Believe me…you want one.
  • Pizza Cutter - 2 different types… the rotary wheel style or the straight blade “Rocker Knife”. Both types work well. 


One layer at a time

  • Dough... light dusting of garlic powder... Sauce (not too much)…Cheese…meat and veggies…then about halfway through cooking…your Herbs and green onions, 


Cooking…

  • Cooking can be done in an oven or on the grill. Preheat both to about 500℉ to 550℉. (If using a pizza stone be sure to preheat it along with your oven / grill). If your doing thick crust…temp should be 450℉. Gas grills are usually better for making pizza since they usually achieve higher temperatures and allow more control. For cooking try to utilize “indirect” cooking by lowering center burner on a gas grill or moving the coals around the outside perimeter of a charcoal grill. 

Toppings

  • Everyone knows the typical Pizza Toppings… Pepperoni, Sausage, Cheese, Ham etc. But try going outside the box…experiment a little. How about instead of tomato sauce use a little Thousand Island dressing topped with sauerkraut, corned beef or pastrami and Swiss cheese…or maybe Pesto, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Corn (yes Corn).