On Wednesday, it was 1,000 degrees! While that’s a slight exaggeration, the little weather station on our deck registered 98 in the shade. Global warming? More like global roasting!
When it’s that hot, there is no chance that I am using the oven. But we had pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in the fridge and no other dinner ideas. Time for grilled pizza. Over the years, I’ve seen and tried a lot of recipes and techniques for grilled pizza. Many call for cooking the pizza directly on the grates. I’ve tried this method to some success, but it always results in crust that is a little too tough, cool toppings, and cheese that isn’t quite melted.
Seeing as I don’t have the money to buy one of these, a few years ago, I experimented with placing a pizza stone in the grill. I pre-heat for 15 minutes on high and then reduce the heat when I put the pizza on the grill. I close the lid and cook for 5 minutes before quickly lifting the lid and checking the crust and cheese. I usually cook for about two more minutes. This technique works great for me and produces a pizza with a very crisp crust and perfectly melted cheese. It’s important to move quickly and barely open the grill to prevent heat loss.
Every Grill is Different
On my old grill with burners than ran side to side, I could keep the two outer burners on high through the process. My current grill (Weber Genesis) has burners that run front to back, I have to turn the middle burner off and reduce the outer burners to low. Anything more than this, and I get burnt spots (overly burnt) on the bottom of the crust. You’ll need to experiment and plan to have some failures. Once you get to know your grill you’ll be all set.
Bonus – placing some wood chips in a smoker pox below the pizza stone add a little of the smoke flavor you get from a wood-burning oven. I’ve had the best results with oak, but hickory also works well.
Pesto Pizza Recipe
1 lb. pizza dough
¼ - 1/3 cup pesto
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/8 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
a few leaves of fresh basil