How to Grill the Best Pizza
I love pizza. It is hands down my favorite food. I grew up with square deep dish with crispy cheese, but love a good cracker thin-crust or wood-fired pizza. When our kids were little, we didn’t have air conditioning and turning on the stove in summer was crazy. But come Friday night we all wanted pizza so I learned to grill it. I had some trials and errors and over the years we even bought a grill that fits my pizza stone right in the grate. But I have perfected my Grilled Margherita Pizza and with or without a pizza stone you can make it quickly and very easily at home. Or you could always come over Friday night!
My dough is homemade and is super easy:
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup hot water 110 degrees
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Run the tap water as hot as you can stand it while in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the 2 tsp yeast and pinch of salt. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the hot tap water and pour it into the bowl with the yeast. Then add 2 tbsp olive oil while the yeast "proofs” (gets puffy looking instead of the granules).
Add 3 ½ cups flour (no need to get fancy with 00 flour - I could taste no difference in texture) and turn on the mixer slowly at first, mixing until the dough forms a ball and has pulled away from the sides. If the dough is too sticky, add flour 1 teaspoon at a time or too dry then add 1 teaspoon of water at a time. A little goes a long way.
This makes 2 crusts. You can cover the bowl and let it rise then use if you like puffier crusts. I don’t, so I don’t let it rise.
Sprinkle your counter with flour and rip the dough ball in half and form two balls again. Roll each one out into a circle. I sprinkle cornmeal on my pizza stone and on another baking sheet that has no lips (this works like a pizza peel to slide it on the grill and is much cheaper!) Don’t be stingy with the cornmeal - you don’t want it to stick!
Roll up the edges of the dough so that a lip is formed so you don’t lose your cheese when it melts.
While the dough is resting on the stone or baking sheet, I open a can of Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce (just tomatoes - no paste, not a marinara, just the plain base you’d use to make a spaghetti sauce - it tastes so fresh) and spoon it generously over the dough out to the edges. Top with a sprinkle of salt.
Then I slice fresh mozzarella as thinly as possible and spread it around each crust and I sprinkle parmesan cheese over the pizza, concentrating at the edges as it will crisp up more there.
Finally, I rip up fresh basil from my garden or windowsill plants that I keep going all year long and sprinkle it generously over the pizza.
Set your pizza stone on a pre-heated grill set to high heat and close the lid. The first pizza takes longer to bake as the stone has to heat up. Don't remove until the cheese is completely melted. Remove by sliding onto a baking sheet while leaving the hot stone in place. Use the other baking sheet with the pizza on it as a peel and shake the second pizza onto the stone starting at the back of the stone, moving toward the front.
No pizza stone? Then get your grill really hot, spray the grate lightly with cooking spray and throw the dough (with no toppings) right on the grill over high heat. Yep - high and keep the lid open. Wait a few minutes for the crust to crisp up and get a slight char…flip and turn the heat down to low and top with your ingredients. Then close the grill and wait for the cheese to melt.
Let your hot pizza rest for a few minutes until the sauce and cheese solidify a little, then cut into slices. It is so unbelievably good!