Grilling pizza is something I’ve been waiting to do for awhile, but didn’t from not knowing exactly how to accomplish it without messing it up somehow. Another problem was, I’m a charcoal grillmaster and didn’t think the task could be done over the coals since everyone seems to use a gas grill in making this type of pizza.
I even asked Alton Brown for help for the Dear Food Network: Grilling special last year. I didn’t get picked. When I saw AB was finally attacking my question, I was happy. I told him back in February at his last event I was happy to see him addressing grilled pizza and that it was my question for him for that contest. He said something like, now you’ll have the answer.
During “Flat is Beautiful V” AB made the pizza using a gas grill. So I was out of luck… again! My main concern in using charcoal was if it would give the crust a smoky flavoring. Perhaps that’s why it is usually done on gas grills?
Oh, well. I sallied forth because Alton did make it look easy.
First was making the dough, I used the version I transcribed from the show. However it is now available on Food Network’s site.
I had some trouble with it being sticky. Might have been the humidity that day. I ended up adding more flour to combat the stickiness. After kneading an extra 15 minutes because of the dough being sticky, it finally came together.
At this point, it was late and plans were to make the pizzas after work the following day but I let the dough rise for the hour then cut into three pieces for the 45 minute second rise anyway. After that, I put the dough balls in the chill chest.
The next day I let the dough warm about 30 minutes before stretching it thin on the peel. Using a rolling pin is much easier than trying to stretch by hand even with a warm dough.
Once the dough was out to as large as my peel could handle it was ready for the fire. I didn’t weigh the charcoal, my starter was about 3/4 full. After putting the charcoal in the grill, I let it burn for awhile without anything on it. I was using natural briquettes and those suckers get very hot. Since I didn’t have a snazzy inferred thermometer, I used the hand test. When the coals seemed to at medium, I proceeded with grilling the dough.
I made the Margherita style… sort of. I say that because I added pepperoni to it.
The crust was nothing short of amazing. Crispy. Not smoky. It was the best thin crust pizza I’ve ever had. Cooking time was at 2 minutes for the first side. I had to use a bit of indirect heat to melt the cheese without charring the crust.
In a few weeks when the local tomatoes come to market, this will be a weekly treat for certain. I have plans for other topping combos too. In short, this a spectacular crust giving the original pizza crust from AB a run for its money.