Grilled Pizza – A Fun and Easy Backyard Treat
Just because you do not own a fancy and expensive brick pizza oven does not mean you can not enjoy the delicious taste, smell and mouth-feel of home-made pizza. Making pizza at home takes little time and tools you probably already own.
In order to make pizza you will need a few things. First, you will need a barbecue. For first timers, a gas fired barbecue is suggested as this will give you better control over the temperature. Charcoal and wood fired grills work as well and will attend a smokiness in the pizza. The second thing you will want to have is a pizza stone or large cast-iron pan. Both of these items serve to evenly distribute the heat onto the pizza without allowing the fire to directly touch the dough. Last but not least you will need your components which are dough, sauce, cheese and toppings.
A good dough is the heart of the pizza. Dough is easy to make but takes practice to perfect. To help you get a feel for making pizza, it is recommended you purchase dough from a local pizzeria or supermarket. This will help ensure your first venture in pizza is a success. Once you have mastered pizza using premade dough, feel free to investigate making your own dough which opens up many more possessions while giving you even greater bragging rights to your devoted pizza-loving guests.
If dough is the heart of the pizza, then the sauce is it's soul. A good sauce is hard to miss. It is both rich and tangy. The flavors are fresh and bright. Making sauce, much like dough, can be a simple prospect but again takes practice. For your first time making pizza on a grill I urge you to purchase some pizza sauce from a local pizzeria or, if in a pinch, from a supermarket in a jar or can.
Quality cheese is just as important to your pizza as any other ingredient. In this case, there is no reason to compromise. Fresh mozzarella cheese is a must. Grate your cheese by hand or with a machine if you have access to one. For some styles of pizza you can use thin slices of cheese instead. Once you have the hang of making pizza, feel free to experiment with different types of cheese. Just because a pizza is non-traditional does not mean it is not delicious!
Let your dough come to room temperature and then roll or stretch it into a pie shape. Try to keep the edges of the pizza slightly thicker than the center while being careful not to make any holes. The thicker edge will form a traditional crust. While there are many methods of achieving this goal, do what works for you. Throwing pies and mastering the art of stretching out pizza dough will take practice and patience. For now, stick with smaller pizzas and work your way up to the more difficult stretching techniques.
Assembling your pizza for the oven is fun for everyone. Lay your shaped dough out on a flounced work area and apply your sauce. Start at the center of the pie and work your way out in a spiral motion. Be careful not to use too much as this will result in a soggy pie. Once the sauce is on, put down a layer of cheese. Try to cover the sauce even though it does not over-do it. Now is time for your toppings! Add generous amounts of your favorites which may include pepperoni, olives, onions or even pineapple. Use your imagination and you will not be disappointed.
The key to a crispy crust is a hot grill. Preheat your closed grill at its highest setting for at least 15 minutes with the pizza stone or upside-down cast iron pan inside. Now comes the tricky part: getting your pizza on the stone or pan. While a pizza peel is the traditional tool to use, you can transfer your pizza to a floured plate or cutting board instead. Have an assistant open the grill while you carefully transfer the pizza to the stone or pan. Once the pizza is in place it will be difficult to make adjustments so try your best to get it straight the first time. This takes practice so do not be discouraged if at first it goes wrong.
Allow your pizza to cook with the grill closed until the cheese on top is hot and bubbly which generally takes around 10 minutes. Once your pizza is cooked to your liking, use your pizza peel, metal spatula or similar implement to retrieve the now crispy treat.
Do not worry if your pizza does not come out perfect the first time. Like everything else worth doing, making pizza takes practice. Perseverance and patience will yield better results with each effort. After just a few tries, you're sure to find making pizza on a grill to be a wonderful, exciting and delicious experience.