Pizzas make great summer food but no one wants to heat the oven up to 400 degrees in the summer. That’s okay—fix it on the grill. Not only is it the slick way to bake pizzas in the summer, you’ll really impress your friends and family—a backyard magician.
You will need a grill with a cover. You can use gas or charcoal though the charcoal will impart a slightly smoked flavor to your pizza.
Pizzas are baked hot and fast. On our grill, we turn the heat up all the way and have pizzas baked in eight to ten minutes. We probably should turn the heat down a bit and bake it a little longer, but hey—we have this system down.
The key to pizzas on the grill is to not burn the bottom of the crust. Elevate your pizza to get it as far from the flames as possible or put something underneath to insulate the bottom of the pan. Lately, we’ve simply slid a cookie sheet under the pizza pan. The extra pan and space between the pans is enough to slow the heat down.
If you like to use a pizza stone, you can do that on the grill. You can either use a peel and slip the pizza right on the stone or make the pizza in a pan and put the pan on the stone.
We always make thin crust pizzas. We like the crispness or thin crusts. And they’re quicker. You don’t have to let the dough rise and you can load the toppings right on the unbaked dough.
(In our test kitchen, we’ve timed Debbie—who makes pizzas a lot—at sixteen minutes from start to finish. Regular humans should be able to make a thin crust pizza, including mixing the dough, in twenty minutes.)
We use our pizza dough mixes but you can use your favorite recipe.
Here’s how to bake your pizza:
- If you are using a baking stone, start the grill and place the baking stone on the top shelf of your grill. You will want the stone very hot so let it heat for 20 minutes or so before you add the pizza.
- Mix the dough according to package or recipe directions just as if baking for the oven.
- Shape the dough into a thin crust pizza, either on the counter if you are using a stone and peel, or in a pizza pan.
- Spread a thin layer of marinara or white sauce on the dough. For a white sauce, consider dips, ranch dressing, or sour cream.
- Spread the toppings over the sauce. Don’t pile the goodies on the pizza too deep; they tend to insulate the crust from the essential top heat.
- Place the pizza in the grill as explained above, either on a stone or in pan with a stone or another pan beneath. Set the timer—we set it for eight minutes—and then check for doneness by lifting the edge of the crust. If your grill doesn’t bake evenly, and most don’t, turn the stone or pan 180 degrees about half way through baking.
- Once done, immediately remove the pizza from the grill, and if you are using a stone, from the stone. (If you don’t remove the pizza the stone, it will continue to bake.