Tips for Grilling PizzaGrilled pizza is the ultimate Evel Knievel-esque stunt for a backyard cookout.
A crowd gathers around you as you sidle up to the grill, double-checking your equipment. Hot, clean grill? Check. Rounds of dough? Check. Toppings all ready to go? Check.
As your friends look on with anxious eyes, you lift your round of dough into the air and deftly lay it onto the grill. Your guests hold their breath while you serenely gaze at the dough as it begins to puff gently. Flipping it over and admiring the perfect grill marks, you garner amazed smiles, even perhaps some light applause and a high-five or two. Take a bow, you've just pulled off quite the daredevil stunt.
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Of course, in reality, your guests will never fully understand just how simple and easy grilled pizza is, once you become familiar with the technique. Here are a few tips for making this impressive dish a breeze:
1. Make sure your grill is hot and clean. This goes for grilling anything, but especially pizza. You'll want it on medium, which is hot enough that the dough starts cooking immediately on contact, but not so hot that it burns on the outside before cooking on the inside. To test the heat of your grill, hold your palm about 4 inches above the grill grate and count how many "Mississippi's" it takes before you need to pull your hand away. If you can count 5 "Mississippis," you're good to go.
2. Work with smaller rounds of dough instead of one giant pizza (see right). They're not only easier to stretch out, but are also easier to transfer and flip. Plus, you can serve a bigger variety of topping combinations that way!
Related: 10 Tips for Perfect Pizza
3. When stretching out dough, make sure you get it as even as possible to avoid burning some spots while others remain uncooked. Although it's fun to get your hands dirty, sometimes a rolling pin is really the best thing to ensure an even thickness.
4. Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time and have them by your side at the grill. Once that dough hits the grill, you won't have time to run back to the kitchen.
5. When choosing toppings, remember that they'll be on the grill for only 2-3 minutes with most of the heat coming directly from below, so it's best if your toppings are pre-cooked or don't really need to cook at all. Green light: melty cheeses like mozzarella, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack, roasted red peppers, thin slices of pepperoni, prosciutto, grilled veggies, chopped tomatoes. Red light: raw sausage, raw green peppers, raw mushrooms, raw slices of onion
Related: Guide to Great Grilling
6. Of course not all your toppings have to go on the grill at all. Use your grilled pizza dough as a flatbread under a bright salad or serve it alongside dips like hummus or tzatziki.
What are your favorite toppings for grilled pizza? Let me know in the comments!
- by Sherry Rujikarn
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