Barbecued pizza might sound unusual if you have not tried it before, but it really is good. Not only is heating the oven indoors up to 450 degrees on a hot summer day an unwelcome thought but a barbecue can mimic a wood-fired pizza oven better than any indoor oven can. Keep the heat outdoors where it belongs by firing up your charcoal grill and enjoy the smoky flavor the pizza takes on.
The barbecue needs to be hot before you add the pizza dough so it will quickly form a tasty crust and not sink through the grates. The best way to make pizza on the barbeque is to cook one side of the pizza crust, then flip it and add the sauce and toppings. Cook it a bit more to let the toppings heat through, the other side of the crust get crispy and the cheese melt, and it is all ready to serve. There is nothing more to it than that, and you might be surprised how easy this recipe is.
For the best results keep the pizza crust evenly thick and do not pile on too many toppings because that makes the pizza more difficult to maneuver. You can use a rimless cookie sheet or baking sheet to slide the crust on and off the grill unless you have a pizza peel, in which case use that instead. A pizza peel is like a big, wide spatula which pizza chefs use to transfer the pizza from one surface to another and if you make lots of pizzas then a peels is a good investment.
Use readymade pizza dough to make this recipe, or make your own. Making your own means you get more say over what type of dough you wish to use and you can experiment adding cheese, herbs or combining 2 kinds of flour perhaps. Pizza is all about choice, and if you make it on the BBQ not only can you choose what type of dough, sauce and toppings you use but you will also be choosing the very best cooking method. Unless you are lucky enough to have a wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard (and most of us do not) then the barbecue is the best choice because the pizza crust will be incredibly crisp and the whole pizza will have a subtle smoky flavor.
This recipe calls for 12 ounces of pizza dough and that is enough to make a 12 inch pizza. If you have a large enough barbecue you can use 16 ounces of dough and make a 15 inch pizza instead. If your barbecue is on the small side, just divide the dough in half and make 2 small pizzas, cooking one after the other. You can even make a square or rectangular pizza if that suits you better. If you want to make several pizzas, enough for a party perhaps, you can double or triple the recipe, and make a number of pizza dough circles. Keep them separated by sheets of parchment paper. These will be fine in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before cooking.
- 12 oz pizza dough
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 1 shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1 finely sliced tomato
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella
- 4 oz pepperoni
- ½ thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- Olive oil, as needed
- Flour or cornmeal, for dusting
- Prepare the barbeque for high direct heat.
- Have a small bowl with olive oil ready to grease the barbeque grates and brush the pizza.
- Have the toppings ready to go on the pizza, so shred the chicken and mozzarella, slice the tomato and onion and get the other ingredients ready.
- Shape the pizza dough.
- Flatten it on a floured surface and stretch it out.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes then pull out the edges with your fingers.
- The pizza crust should not have raised edges else it will not cook evenly.
- The barbecue is hot enough when you can only hold your hand an inch over the grate for maximum 2 seconds before pulling it away.
- Use long-handled tongs and a paper towel to grease the grates with oil.
- Put the pizza dough on a floured rimless cookie sheet then slide it on to the grate.
- Close the lid and cook it for 2 minutes.
- Open the lid and lift the dough to see the bottom.
- If it is browning on one side only, use the tongs to rotate it and cook it longer.
- If it is not yet browning, give it another minute or so.
- Use the cookie sheet to remove the browned crust and a spatula to flip it over.
- Close the lid on the grill so it stays hot while you work on the pizza.
- Paint olive oil over the whole grilled surface of the crust then cover it with a thin layer of sauce.
- Add the toppings, finishing with a layer of cheese and the cilantro.
- Slide the pizza back on to the grill and close the vents on the cover nearly all the way.
- Close the lid and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the bottom is slightly charred and the cheese has melted.
- Transfer the pizza on to a cutting board using the spatula and let it rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.
Unless you have access to a wood-fired oven, nothing beats the flavor or texture of barbequed pizza. The flavor is incredible because all the ingredients blend together and the smoky aroma ties the flavors together, and the texture is also lovely because the crust will be super-crispy and the toppings will be piping hot and perfectly cooked. This recipe is easy to double or triple so you can make enough pizza to feed a crowd if you wish. Just remember to add more charcoal to the barbeque as you go, to keep the heat high. A good high heat is essential if you want to make the best barbequed pizza.
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