A few years back I was remodeling my kitchen and I wanted to install a pizza oven. I thought it would be fun to make homemade pizzas for family and for parties.
At the time, there were very few options that didn’t cost a ton of money. All the so-called “designer” pizza ovens were not only thousands of dollars, but the cost to install them was also a bit outrageous. We are talking about pizza, not truffles and caviar (although those might be interesting toppings).
So, I resigned myself to the fact that I would not enjoy crafting my own pizza recipes after all. Sigh.¦
Suddenly, I realized I already had a pizza oven. It was called a barbecue grill! Mine happens to be gas-powered with a thermometer on the outside of the heavy lid. (It is very important that the barbecue grill unit be heavy duty because these pizzas bake at around 650ºF-700ºF, much hotter than your regular kitchen range oven.)
After a few tries (well, maybe 10), I got a result that I liked. Every pizza takes some patience, but like all things worth doing, cooking pizza on the barbecue grill takes practice and perseverance. (My perfect barbecue-grilled pizza has bubbling cheese on top with a slightly brown crust).
Here are 8 quick tips:
- Use a pizza stone placed directly on the grill. Heat it up at 550ºF for about 45 minutes. (I tried using a pizza pan at first, but the stone helps regulate an even temperature and helps prevent burning).
- Turn up the grill to a thermometer reading of approximately 700ºF after the stone is hot.
- Have your favorite dough ready, and all the toppings (for pizza recipes and other ideas, see www.pizzatherapy.com )
- Work quickly when placing any sauce and toppings on the dough.
- Slide decorated uncooked pizza onto the heated pizza stone.
- Bake pizza for approximately 7-10 minutes with lid closed. Watch it carefully to prevent burning.
- Invest in a pizza peel (the wooden paddle used by pizza pros).
- Have guests make their own pizzas. Have an assortment of toppings (including ones that can be used for dessert pizzas). This is a fun and creative activity for a group and is a lot less work for you. Maybe one of these will end up in your family cookbook!
P.S. If you have the new-fangled infrared type of barbecue grill, you can actually sear the top and make it crispy. Yum!