Grilled pizza perfection

We’ve been on an ongoing quest to determine what method (apart from a wood-fired oven at 800 degrees, which we don’t have) will produce the best thin-crust pizza. We want cracker-crispy crust, perfectly heated and melted toppings, and the rustic, smoky flavor we get from the best pizzerias.

Pizza is meant to be baked in a mega-hot oven, preferably wood-fired, with reflective heat to heat the toppings and even, high heat to bake the crust. Without a wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard, we’ve been forced to push our gas-fired oven inside to 500+ degrees with a pizza stone. But even that doesn’t produce a perfect thin-crust pizza.

But I think we’ve finally found the right method: grilled pizza.

Ideally, we’d be using a big ceramic, charcoal-fired cooker like a Big Green Egg. But since we don’t have one (yet), we pushed our cheap propane grill up to its limits with a pizza stone to bake on.

How hot? Eight hundred would be ideal, but I didn’t want to push our well-loved pizza stone past 700 on its first time on the grill.

Tomato and Soppressata Pizza

What you’ll need for two 12-inch pizzas:

  • 1 tsp instant yeast (I prefer SAF)
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I always use Seal of Minnesota unbleached)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ounces of high-quality Italian soppressata, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 large shallots, finely minced

First, make your dough:

  1. Mix the yeast in with 1 cup of warm water and two tablespoons of olive oil, then sprinkle sugar over the top. Let the yeast proof for 10 minutes.
  2. Dump in all of the flour and salt, then mix.
  3. Knead the dough for 6 minutes with a dough hook in a stand mixer or by hand.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 45 minutes to an hour.

Next, roll out two pizzas from the dough, rolling them as thin as possible. Place the first one you’ll be baking on a well-floured wood pizza peel.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each pizza round, then garlic, shallots, tomato slices, soppressata and the cheese. You may also want to season with salt and pepper.

Next, place a pizza stone on the grill and slowly heat it up as hot as you can get it. If you have a handy infrared thermometer, check the temperature.

When it’s hot enough, slide the pizza off the wooden peel onto the stone and close the cover of your grill. Don’t check it for at least two minutes, as you don’t want the heat at the top of the pizza to escape.

The bottom of the pizza should be golden brown, and the cheese should all be melted. Remove from the grill and serve. And make the second pizza.

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  4. Open-Face Pizza
  5. Pizza recipe to try

About the Author

Owner of a graphic design firm specializing in magazine design and wannabe chef. Former resident of Belgium, the United Kingdom and...North Dakota.