Grilled Pizza: A Tutorial

Got picky eaters? Me too. That’s why I love mini-pizzas on the grill. I can have a veggie-smorgasboard-with-stinky-cheese pizza and my kids can have, drumroll, plain cheese pizza. Everyone’s happy; no short-order cooking required.

I made the dough for this batch, but often I just buy it from our local pizza shoppe. They don’t have Dough listed on the menu, but they’ll always sell it to me for a couple bucks.

My favorite dough recipe is ridiculously simple, healthy, and uber-flexible. You can make it in 10 minutes on the weekend, then let it sit in the fridge ’til you’re ready to use it during the week. (It can sit up to four days in your fridge.). Here’s all that stands between you and tender homemade dough:

To make it, combine 4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.

Use a spoon to stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 3/4 cup ice cold water. Stir until the flour is all absorbed. (If you have any fresh chopped herbs, throw them in here too.)

If you have a stand mixer, put in the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If you don’t have a stand mixer, place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. If needed, add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired effect. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky. (I made a half-batch here so it looks smaller…the whole recipe yields enough for 6 mini-pizzas. I needed three on this particular day.)

Transfer the dough to a floured countertop. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and mold each into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil and slip into plastic sandwich bags. Refrigerate overnight (up to 4 days).

When you are ready to make pizza remove the dough from the fridge and let it come back to room temp (about an hour). Meanwhile get all your topping stuff ready; once this goes down on the grill it all happens quickly.

Also get a large baking sheet out and sprinkle it with cornmeal.

Preheat your grill to medium-high.

Press the dough circles into your desired shape, about 1/4-inch thick. Thickness is hugely important…it really does need to be 1/4-inch (or less) since it will puff up on the grill. I have made some too-thick pizza in my days and it kinda ruins the pizza. Press (or roll) it thin. Notice that mine are kind of organically shaped. (We don’t strive for perfection here.)

Place mini-pizzas on the cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and bring over to the grill. Have your tray of toppings handy too. Use a large spatula to get the pizzas on the grill. Some of the dough may droop through the grates at the beginning, but it will work itself out.

Grill for 1-3 minutes until dough thickens, gets bubbly and nice grill marks on the bottom. Watch carefully.

When the dough is stable enough to get a spatula under it, flip it.

Grab your toppings and pile ’em on. Go a little lighter than you normally would since these toppings don’t have as much time to cook (vs. an oven-baked pizza). Once you’re “topped” close the grill lid for a minute or two so the air can circulate around the pizzas. Check bottom crust periodically to make sure it’s not cooking too fast; reduce heat if needed.

Remove your gorgeous pizzas from the grill and stuff your face. Mmmmmmm….

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