Homemade pizza cooked hot and fast on the grill over fire and coals. From making the perfect dough crust to choosing the best toppings, here’s how to grill pizza on your backyard cooker.
Grilling your pizza on the barbecue can increase its flavor and decrease its cooking time. If you use a charcoal grill, the flames will lick the top of the dough, giving the crust a marbling of crisp, golden brown and parts that are slightly singed.
Both gas and charcoal grills cook your pizza in about two-thirds of the time a conventional oven would take.
Why You Need to Use a Pizza Stone
A pizza stone is a large stone you put inside your barbecue before you preheat. Your pizza will rest on the pizza stone while you’re cooking the pizza. The stone protects the bottom of the pizza from the harsh heat given off by the flames. It also helps ensure an even cook.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Pizza sauce
- Cheese (I use a mix of mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, and gorgonzola)
- Toppings of your choice
Time and Temperature
Since you’ll be using a pizza stone, you can use high temperatures in the barbecue. You should maintain a temperature between 475º F and 500º F. At this temperature, the pizza should only take between 10 and 12 minutes to finish grilling.
Topping and Side Dish Ideas
Using the BBQ allows me to dive into topping ideas I wouldn’t have the chance to make otherwise.
Another idea is your favorite meats. The classic pizza meats are salami or pepperoni. All the toppings your local pizza shop puts on their pizza can handle the heat of your BBQ.
When it comes to side dishes, why not try a salad? There usually aren’t very many green items on a pizza, so it helps achieve a balanced diet. You could either make a classic green salad with a vinaigrette, or go all out and make a caesar salad with all the fixings.
Why Do We Brush the Pizza with Oil Before Cooking?
You should always brush your pizza down with olive oil before grilling. Make sure to coat the crust liberally as well. Doing this can limit the amount of moisture that enters the dough during grilling. Too much moisture gives your crust a doughy texture. By adding oil, you get a crispy, light pizza.
How to Grill Pizza on a Charcoal or Gas Grill
Here’s a rundown on how to make pizza on your barbecue.
- Preheat the Grill and Insert the Pizza Stone: The first step in any grilled pizza is to preheat the BBQ. You should aim for a temperature around 500º F. Once you’ve lit your charcoal or set the gas to the proper setting, insert the pizza stone. Make sure the temperature doesn’t rise too far above your target temperature.
- Make Pizza: Making your pizza while your barbecue is preheating is a fantastic way to save some time. Toss your pre-made dough until it forms a round shape. Put the round dough on a floured pizza peel or a cookie tray without a lip. Next, lather the dough with the pizza sauce. Now, put your desired pizza toppings on top. Finally, cover the pizza with your grated cheese and brush a layer of olive oil on the entire pizza.
- Double Check Temperatures: One essential step before you can put the pizza in the grill is double-checking the temperature of the grill. You should be able to accurately gauge the ambient temperature of the grill by using your grill’s built-in thermometer. If that’s not possible, put a meat thermometer in the grill for a minute away from the pizza stone to get the most accurate reading.
- Put Pizza in the Grill: Now comes the hard part. Using either the pizza peel or cookie tray, slide your fully dressed pizza onto the pizza stone. If you don’t do this carefully, you may tear or ruin your pizza. Sometimes using another tool, like a spatula, can help slide the pizza off the tray.
- Check Pizza Twice while Grilling: While the pizza is cooking, you should watch to see if it’s burning or not cooking properly. Since the pizza takes roughly ten minutes to cook, I check my pizza every three minutes to ensure it’s cooking correctly. When you check the pizza, rotate it slightly for more even cooking.
- Remove and Serve: Once your pizza has cooked to your liking, remove it from the stone. If you have a pizza peel, use that. If you don’t have a peel, use two pancake flippers to lift the pizza onto the cookie tray you used earlier. Now all that’s left is for you to cut and enjoy!