i think we can all agree that there is a certain allure to “grilled pizza”. it sounds both sophisticated and simple, all at the same time.
well, the first time i *tried* making grilled pizza, it was neither sophisticated nor simple. i’m not even sure it was edible. dough burned onto the grill grate, holes ripped in the dough, the dough folded over and cooked onto itself, toppings fell through the grates, sauce soaked through the crust – basically anything and everything that could have gone wrong did.
the allure of grilled pizza prevailed though, and, honestly, round one was such a fiasco that i knew i needed to do a bit of research before trying again because CLEARLY my method had some (read: many) flaws. lest you think i am some sort of noble, persistent person who is determined to advance her own knowledge for the sake of intellectual self-improvement, though, let me remind you: melted cheese.
so, with the promise of melted cheese propelling me forward, i commenced internet research followed by trial and error. the first thing that i learned is that whether i am making pizza on the grill or in the oven, i need to use a rolling pin. i am just not (yet?) a person who can “pat the dough into an even circle”. no. that invariably results in a random shape (which is fine) with some very thick spots and some very thin spots (which is not fine). the thin spots rip and burn and make everything frustrating so, rolling pin.
i’ve also learned to use more flour when rolling the dough out for the grill. when i cook pizza in the oven, i use parchment paper for part of the process, which allows me to get away with using less flour when rolling out the dough. as i generally try to limit how much paper i cook on the grill, i have learned to compensate by adding a bunch more flour. i should say, though, i tend to be a flour minimalist when rolling out dough so i’m probably only just using the right amount when i add more but if you too are a flour minimalist, don’t be afraid to add more here. it’s the worst when you open the lid of the grill, get blasted in the face with heat, then struggle to get the dough off the stupid cookie sheet and onto the stupid grate but GAH it’s all stuck together and folded over on itself and forget it! frozen burritos for dinner it is. so, yeah. more flour, friends.
the last thing i learned (which took me a while, because it was initially counterintuitive, at least to me) is that moderate heat is actually better than crazy high heat when making grilled pizza. when you read about cooking pizza in the oven, everyone (myself included) is always trying to crank the heat up as high as it will go. after making several pizzas that were a bit more aggressively cooked on the outside of the crust than i would have liked (read: had big black burned sections) and a bit more, um, in their “natural state” than i would have liked on the inside of the crust and in the toppings (read: raw/only partially melted), i was lucky enough to be too impatient to let the grill heat up all the way one day. and that is how i realized that pizzas grilled at 350° F are actually quite a bit better than burned and raw pizzas grilled at 450° F and up. which totally made sense, once i realized that pizza ovens are heated to burningcrazyhot BUT the pizza is not close to the flame most of the time and is being cooked by very hot bricks/air instead.
and one more bonus tip – this isn’t so much something i’ve learned as something that has always been true since pizza #1 but: you need 4 hands. as in, time to recruit a helper! maybe someday i will use so much flour and be so skilled that i can do this with 2 hands but until then: 4 hands and a plan for which hands will do which steps. we tend to have one person hold the cookie sheet in place then the other person wrestles the dough onto the grate, trying to crumple it up in a ball as little as possible. then we quickly set the cookie sheet down and use the heat safe tongs that we grabbed in advance to pull at the folded-over parts before they start welding together.
- more rolling pin
- more flour
- less heat
- more hands
those are my 3 tips plus a bonus prerequisite for less disastrous grilled pizza making. i think maybe i make it sound not so simple but it is possible to get much better at it over relatively few tries, especially if you learn from someone else’s mistakes (you’re welcome). and my last tip is that while i often disobey the “don’t try a recipe for the first time when you have guests coming over” rule, even *i* would recommend following that rule when it comes to grilled pizza. i DO recommend that you try making grilled pizza for yourself (and your helper!) though because it really is good and different than pizza cooked in an oven.
nutrition facts are for 1 slice of a pizza cut into 8 pieces.