Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grilled Pizza Adventure

What had meant to be a quick and relaxing celebration of summer turned into a long & exhausting walking tour of our apartment grounds. Out here in California, we’ve settled into a little bit of a retreat for young, former city dwellers. The sprawling joint is equipped with multiple pools and barbeque grills, lest any of us actually have to actually more than 100 feet from our apartments to enjoy the community amenities. Ritz Carlton, it’s not but it’s certainly a far cry from our previous shoebox sized city apartment.

We had been meaning to make grilled pizza for awhile. Both patience (allotting time for the dough to rise) and a warm evening had been eluding us. A few weekends ago, inspiration hit us and we followed all of the many tutorials that strongly suggested having a mise en place – having all the fixin’s ready at the go.

We marched out to the pool, only to find an army of hungry residents and screaming kids waiting in line at the grills. Usually, we’re greeted with one or two other couples, quietly grilling up a hamburger or two. To make a long story short, we spent the next hour and a half hopping from pool to pool, armed with 2 risen pizza dough rounds and a heavy bag full of sauces and toppings. We soon discovered that our lovely management had closed every pool area for the night. That evening, only? What luck! We even tried to sneak into a neighboring complex’s pool. If only we had succeeded and been detained for trespassing, I’d have a much more entertaining pizza story for you all. Instead I have an UGLY yet DELICIOUS pizza to share.

I was constructed in darkness, please pardon my ugliness.

Despite our setbacks, we managed to have a great time making these pizzas. By the time we secured our own functioning grill, it was nearly pitch black outside and almost bedtime for me. Not knowing too much about grilling pizzas, we forged ahead and created these masterpieces in the dark.

Making grilled pizza certainly isn’t as easy as calling up Papa John’s, but the crust was the perfect combination for us: doughy on the inside (for me), crusty on the outside (for hubby).

We went with our favorite flavor combination, Barbeque Chicken Pizza with a Garlic Herb Crust. Follow these tips & the recipe and you’ll be off to another dreamy land – that’s how good these were. Just make sure you have a grill to use :)

Tips for Grilling Pizza

  • Liberally oil the grill grates & pizza dough before grilling
  • After grilling one side of the dough, flip the dough onto a flat plate or pizza paddle and place the sauce & toppings on the grilled side. Pulling the dough off the grill allows you ample time to arrange the toppings as you wish
  • Once the pizza has been “dressed” return the dough to the grill and close the lid to allow the toppings to warm and the cheese to melt.

The recipe below is for the garlic herb crust. Play around with the toppings as you like. For the Barbeque Chicken Pizza, we simply used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, grilled chicken (cooked on the grill), sauté mushroom and sweet onion (cooked inside), Monterey jack cheese, and lots and lots of cilantro.

Grilled Garlic Herb Pizza Dough
Adapted from and Cooks Illustrated

Pizza Dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Cornmeal for dusting

Garlic Oil for grilling
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

  1. In a bowl, mix yeast with warm water and mix in sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until frothy.
  2. While yeast is proofing, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet. Add garlic and sauté over low heat until garlic softens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow garlic and oil to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, salt, garlic oil, and flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. I used a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a dough hook to complete these steps. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. If dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Place dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down and knead in fresh basil. Cover and set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Heat ½ cup olive oil and garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave and set aside to cool. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll each into a round shape about 3/8 – ½ inch thick. Sprinkle a plate, cookie sheet or parchment paper with flour & cornmeal. Place dough round on sheet.
  5. Heat grill and brush grill grates with garlic oil. Brush tops of dough with garlic oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt if desired. Grill oil side down until grill marks begin to appear and the crust is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. While pizza is grilling, lightly brush the other side of the dough with olive oil.
  6. Carefully remove dough from grill and place onto a flat plate or cookie sheet, grilled side up. Dress pizza dough with sauce and toppings. Return pizza dough to the grill and close the cover to allow the toppings to heat and the cheese to melt, about 2 – 3 minutes.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I'm glad that you were still able to have fun making the pizzas - that garlic-herb dough sounds wonderful!!

La Bella Cooks said...

It only matters if it's ugly if it tastes awful as well. I didn't think it was ugly at all and I bet it tasted wonderful with the garlic-herb flavors. Is there ever a bad pizza?

Sharon said...

veggiegirl - its definitely a fun adventure though more time consuming than we had thought. I think it'll go much more smoothly the 2nd time around!

bridgett - I couldn't decide whether I was going to post this since the photos were taken in a hurry (we were hungry)& the pizza toppings were slopped on in the dark, but it was SO good I thought I'd at least have to share the recipe!

Oh, and yes I've had a bad pizza. Though, we did order it at 4am back in my single party days...that's obviously our own fault!

Sarah said...


I love making pizza at home from scratch. It's so much better than any from a restaurant. I used to do it in the oven until I discovered I liked it better done on my grill pan on the stove.

We just bought an outdoor grill, so now I can't wait to make grilled pizza outside. (And keep the grill pan for winter when it's too cold) :-)

I like your bbq flavor combination! My favorite right now is mozzarella, gorgonzola, roasted corn, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro.

kat said...

we thought about doing this the other night too but all I could imagine was pizza dough seeping through the grates all over the grill!

La Bella Cooks said...

Ha Ha, I can imagine. I guess I should have said "a bad homemade pizza". ugh, just thinking about the nasty ones out there make me nauseated!!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

It's allways worth to wait for a Pizza, specially one with those nice flavours!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Looks great! Grilled pizza is amazing!

grace said...

i personally believe that pizza can never be considered ugly...unless, heaven forbid, there is no cheese present. :)
your dough sounds heavenly!

Sophie said...

This certainly is NOT an ugly pizza! Sheesh, good for you for going through all that trouble to get this pizza grilled! It looks mighty tasty and fresh.


Elle said...

I can't believe you had to hike all over to find a grill! Ah well, at least the pizza was a success. If it was gross after all that work...that would be awful.

And it looks fantastic! No such thing as ugly pizza.

test it comm said...

That grilled pizza looks good. If only I had a grill. I guess that I am stuck with oven baked pizza for now.

Sharon said...

sarah - your combo sounds good. I may have to try the indoor grill pan next time. It'll probably save a lot of hassle!

kat - I was afraid of this, too especially having to do it on the community grill in front of neighbors but the dough is pretty thick so no worries!

clumbsy cookie - i couldn't agree more!

jessy - I thought I loved fire baked pizza the best but this may take the top spot!

grace - i've made the mistake of ordering cheeseless pizza before. Not good.

sophie -thanks :) it was certainly worth all the time and effort though I hope next time there's not so much time!

elle - neither can I. Of all nights?! haha. Oh well.

kevin - apparently sarah makes it on her grill pan. It's worth a shot!

MrOrph said...

Like thieves in the night, huh?

Nothing like grilled pizza. How lucky am I? My first "real" job, or rather one of them, was making pizza and Philly cheese steaks. I have a great appreciation for a great pizza, and you made one here.

I don't roll tho, I toss. :-)