When I was at a party recently, my friends were talking about the pizzas they cook on the grill. They put the pizza directly on the grill and close the lid and it acts like an oven. They buy the pre-made pizza crusts and chop up the family's favorite toppings and let them make their own personal size pizza, on the grill. Sounded pretty good.
I like that traditional mozzarella pizza with fresh tomato and basil. I experimented a little and tried a barbecue chicken pizza. I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and chopped it up then coated it with my favorite barbecue sauce. I will be honest with you. My first pizza, the barbecue chicken pizza, came out with a charcoal black crust that my pizza cutter wouldn't cut without a great deal of effort. My second attempt was far better. It was only slightly darkened but very palatable.
I am usually a pretty good cook, but this really challenged my culinary expertise. It was definitely a lesson learned.
Tribune Chronicle / Beky Davis
Grilled pizza works best with a thin crust and an even layer of toppings. A pizza stone and a grill with specific heat settings are also helpful.
Don't make it more complicated than it has to be. Since yeast and I don't work well together, I went for the pre-made crust. I should have gone with a thin crust, but instead I used the pre-made shells you find in the bakery department of the grocery store - the ones that are about 3/4 inch thick. You want a thinner crust. Personal size pizzas (6-inch) would be good, too. I included a "made-from-scratch" crust for those of you who are up for the challenge.
Hopefully the tips I have included will make your efforts successful and you could be the big winner in the Tribune Chronicle Grilled Pizza Contest. You can read about it below.
Pizza on the Grill
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 to 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar, baking soda, salt and 2 cups of flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a greased 12-inch pizza pan or stone. Build up edges slightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from grill. Combine chicken and barbecue sauce; spread over the crust. Sprinkle with green pepper and cheese. Grill, covered, 5-10 minutes longer or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.
Yield: 4 servings.
The following recipe is by Lisa Boettcher of Columbus, Wis., and was published in the Taste of Home's Grilling Recipe Collection.
Fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pizza
1 large tomato sliced thin
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Italian herbs
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil
1 pound of mozzarella cheese sliced
1 pre-made pizza crust
Set grill to a low heat and spray the grill with cooking spray.
Spread olive oil on the pizza crust and sprinkle with the Italian herbs. Layer the sliced tomatoes on the crust. Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil on the tomatoes. Layer the sliced mozzarella cheese on top of the tomatoes. Place the pizza on the grill and heat till the cheese melts.
Tips for making grilled pizza
1. You need a grill that has specific heat settings ... mine doesn't. My grill is a vintage model with three settings: low, high and off. Actually, using charcoal might have been better.
2. Thin crust is better than thick ... I used thick.
3. A stone made specifically for cooking on the grill would be a good idea ... I should have used mine.
4. Heat your toppings before you put them on the pizza.
5. On the grill, you don't want the toppings too thick. A nice, even layer of toppings works best.