Thursday, April 14, 2011

In the Kitchen - Making Grilled Pizza

Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Ham and Pineapple Pizza

Now that the weather have warmed up a bit, we're able to do a lot more outdoor grilling these days - which means, it's grilled pizza time! Some of you may already know this but I'm a huge fan of using your outdoor grill as a pizza oven. If you don't own a wood-fired oven (which is probably 99.99% of us), you might find the grill to be a good substitute. I've baked many pizzas using a conventional oven and a baking stone and have never been able to get results that are nearly as good. With a conventional oven, you usually don't get that nice char at the bottom of the pizza and the pizza itself doesn't cook quickly enough, which often results in a crust that is soggy in the middle and rather dry around the edge.

Grilled Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza
Grilles Shrimp, Mushroom and Feta Pizza

One method I've read to improve the quality of your pizza by way of conventional oven is to heat a quarter inch steal plate (where you would get one, I don't know) near the top rack and cook your pizza for a couple of minutes on broil. The steal gets very hot in the heating process, which allows for the pizza to cook very quickly.

Maybe I'll try this method one day but for now, I'm perfectly content with using my gas grill. I place a pizza stone directly on the grill rack and heat it covered on high until the temperature gets to about 425 degrees F. In goes the pizza, which cooks for 4-5 minutes before it's done (turned halfway during the process). In my experience, results are best when the pizza cooks at a temperature of about 450 degrees F. Also, you end up with a browner and crispier outside crust if the diameter of the pizza is only slightly less than the diameter of the stone (allowing for more direct heat contact with the outside crust).

barbecue chicken pizza
Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Personally, I prefer a thinner crust pizza. Peter Reinhardt's pizza dough recipe is a great one. As far as toppings go, Marc loves Hawaiian pizza while I prefer something more exotic like shrimp and wild mushrooms. Jonathan likes everything from plain cheese or pepperoni to barbecue chicken. These days, everyone is happy.

12 comments:

  1. Oh yum...I'll be right over. ;)

    I am going to try that this summer...I have never put my pizza stone to good use, I think this will be the perfect opportunity. And I'm like you...the more creative the toppings the better! My mom and I went to an adorable cafe last year for our birthdays and ordered the "Local Seasonal" pizza...it was a local ham, goat cheese, sliced pears and arugula. Oh.my.goodness. SO good...maybe I can recreate it using your method!

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  2. Yummmmmmmm~~~~~~~~the pizzas look so delicious, I'll take a slice of each flavor please.

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  3. Mmmm, that looks lovely! Please can you post me a slice or three?!

    It's nearly teatime here and I've now got pizza on my brain.....! :)

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  4. hmmm, yummy! Now I am craving a proscuitto pizza with artichoke.... We will definitely be trying your method this summer.

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  5. Yum. I love bbq chicken pizza.

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  6. Pizza is on the menu for me tonight as well, but it will be nowhere near as beautiful as that! Nice job!

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  7. Oh, Thomas, you've done it again! You put me to shame in the kitchen. Those pizzas are works of art! I know they taste as good as they look.

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  8. I love to grill pizza too and I wonder why I've never thought to put the pizza stone on the grill. Tomorrow night for sure. I like your blog. Sounds like we share many of the same interests, growing, tending and eating food.

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  9. Thomas, I wish you were for hire. :)

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  10. That is some nice looking pizza Thomas.

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  11. Thomas, I completely adopted your brilliant idea of using a pizza stone on the grill. Of course, I'm a charcoal snob so it's done on my Weber kettle with natural charcoal.

    I love Peter Rheinhart's recipes but I usually don't plan in advance for my pizza, so the overnight rise is a deal killer. I take the same recipe but use room temp water and proof the dough for 2 hours in a very slightly warmed oven, until the dough has doubled in size. You can see the full recipe and technique here:

    http://www.media-organic.com/the-crust-makes-the-pizza

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  12. We are definitely a pizza family but I have now realized all these years I have been missing a pizza stone I think that will be my next purchase.

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