Things I’d Never Thought I’d Say:
Grilled pizza is legit, y’all.
This comes as a surprise to me because I am not what you would call adept in the art of grilling. I barely know how to light the thing, let alone grill a hamburger that doesn’t char to a crisp (in my defense, I totally forgot about them when that happened. Wait, is that in my defense?).
I can’t sit here and tell you that I haven’t had my fair share of struggles in the past with grilled pizza, either. But having tried them a few times and realizing that, indeed, they are too delicious to forgo — especially on these warm summer days that just beg for a cookout — I’ve learned a thing or three to ensure a perfect grilled pizza every time.
So let’s do this!
First, prep all of your ingredients. You want everything perfectly measured, chopped, sliced, what have you, before you even get to the grill. The process, once started, moves pretty fast and the last thing you want to do is burn your pizza crust because you had to shred some cheese. #notcool
For the perfect pizza grilling process, there are some necessities. One is a pizza pan (preferably without a lip or at least a very shallow one) or a pizza peel, covered in cornmeal; two is a set of tongs with a wad of paper towel tucked into the top (I like to tie a rubber band around the tongs, too, so the paper towel is nice and snug in there and doesn’t run the risk of falling out of the tongs and through the grates into a great ball of fire. These are things my clumsy self has to think about); three is a bowl filled with a generous glug of olive oil (I just love that word. Glug. So funny). Four is a bottle of beer. Just kidding. But it’s a good option.
Once you have all of that good to go, you’re ready to get your dough prepared. If you’re using a homemade dough, it should be fully risen and ready to bake at this point. If you’re using storebought dough and it’s frozen, it should be thawed completely. Use your fingertips to stretch the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle — no bigger. If you make it any bigger, you might struggle to flip the crust on the grilling rack.
Make sure that grill is good and hot (around 400 degrees F is ideal). Now remember that tongs-paper towel and olive oil situation? Dip the paper towel into the olive oil, then quickly rub the towel over the grates to grease them. Carefully slide the pizza dough from the pizza pan to the grill, then close the grill cover and let it cook for about 2 to 4 minutes (you can check it every so often by lifting an edge with tongs). The bottom of the pizza should be fully set and have nice, deep brown grill marks on it when it’s ready to flip.
We have yet to perfect our own flipping method, but we’ve found that the best way to do it is to scoot the pizza dough back onto the pizza pan or peel, then flip it over quickly back onto the grill. If you’ve got a wide set of tongs, that would work well, too. Just do what you gotta do.
Once you’ve flipped the dough, move quickly to add the toppings, because that baby is cooking fast (but not that fast — no need to panic). When you’ve got it good and sauced and topped, close the grill cover again and let the pizza cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or so, until the toppings are melty and the bottom of the pizza is set and has nice grill marks on it.
Finally, use the tongs to carefully scoot the pizza back onto the pizza pan. Garnish the pizza with any extra toppings, like fresh lettuce, herbs or a drizzle of balsamic reduction that makes the pizza taste like the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten in your life.
Look at that! You just made grilled pizza. Give yourself a high-five and dig in.
P.S. Happy day-after-Fourth of July, everyone! I hope your holiday was wonderful.
Peach and Gorgonzola Grilled Pizza
A Girl Versus Dough original
Yields: 1 pizza (about 4 servings)
Olive oil, for greasing the grill grates
1 1-lb prepared pizza dough (I used this trusty recipe with great success)
3 tablespoons basil pesto
3/4 cup cubed fresh mozzarella
1 large ripe peach, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Heat grill to 400 degrees F, or about medium-high heat. Dip a wad of paper towels in olive oil and use tongs to wipe it on the grill grates to grease them.
Use your fingertips to stretch your dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough on a rimless or low-rim pizza pan or pizza peel covered with cornmeal. Slide the pizza dough onto the grill; close the grill cover and let cook until set and deep brown grill marks form on the bottom, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Using tongs or the pizza pan/peel, carefully and quickly flip the pizza dough so the grilled side is up. Quickly spoon the pesto onto the pizza, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cubes, then sliced peaches. Top with remaining mozzarella and Gorgonzola cheese.
Close grill cover and let cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until toppings are melted and the bottom of the crust is set and deep brown grill marks have formed. Using tongs, carefully transfer pizza back onto pizza pan/peel.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat on the stove, cook balsamic vinegar until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Drizzle over pizza just before serving.