Pizza on the Barbie

No need to order pizza when you have a hot grill in your backyard

We get it: It’s summer, and who wants to heat up the oven to cook a pizza? But why would you when you have the perfect pizza oven in your backyard? That’s right, your barbecue grill. Grilling pizza keeps you outside where the action is and results in a crispy crust similar to what you get in a wood-fired oven.

First, arrange all the ingredients below including pizza dough, sauce and toppings. Set the toppings in small bowls on a tray placed near the grill. A pizza peel helps slide the pizza on and off the grill easily.

Once the dough hits the grill, things move pretty fast. The grill needs to be spotlessly clean and hot to produce a charred and crunchy crust. Eight ounces of dough yields about an 8- or 9-inch round pizza. Store-bought pizza dough can be used or prepare it from scratch.

Pizza Dough Recipe (makes enough dough for two pizzas)
1/2 cup water warm
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
In the bowl of stand mixer outfitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, olive oil and yeast mixture.
Mix for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Place dough in an oiled bowl turning once to coat both sides of the dough with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Steps to grilling a pizza
Turn grill on high and pre-heat for 15 minutes.
Clean grill thoroughly with a grill brush.
Lower heat to medium-high (aiming for about 425 degrees).
Pour a little olive oil onto a paper towel and using a long pair of tongs carefully wipe paper towel on grill grates to help prevent the dough from sticking.
For each pizza, have ready 8 ounces pizza dough, sauces, cheeses and toppings (see options below)
Roll out dough on a floured pizza peel or baking sheet into a circle or oval. If dough doesn’t roll easily, let rest for 10 minutes and then try again.
Slide the dough from the peel or baking sheet on the grill. Close the grill lid and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
When the crust starts to bubble around the edges and has grill marks on the bottom remove pizza dough from grill back onto pizza peel or baking sheet.
Spread a thin layer of sauce, toppings, and cheese on the grilled side of the pizza and return to grill the other side of the dough.
Cover and cook through until the pizza dough has grill marks on both sides and the cheese is melted.
Remove from grill and let rest a few minutes before slicing.
Clean and oil grill before grilling any additional pizzas.
The pizzas cook very quickly, so it’s easy to keep them coming off the grill to feed hungry guests.

Sauces: tomato sauce, pesto, hummus, Thai peanut sauce, plain or flavored olive oils
Cheese: shredded mozzarella, fontina, gruyere, feta, goat cheese, burrata or Parmesan
Vegetables: sautéed mushroom, onions or greens; roasted fennel or broccoli, grilled corn, tomatoes, summer squash, shredded carrot and artichoke hearts
Garnish: herbs, arugula, scallions, crumbled sausage or bacon, nuts, crushed red pepper flakes

Delicious Pizza Combinations
Greek: tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, feta, red onion, olives, spinach
Italian: tomato sauce, Italian sausage, sautéed peppers and onions, and goat cheese
Veggie-lover: tomato sauce, sautéed mushrooms, onions and Swiss chard, topped with mozzarella
Pesto: pesto sauce, roasted fennel, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fontina and pine nuts

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