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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grilled Pizza, Jessica Style

Pizza. I love pizza. It's probably one of my favorite foods because it's like, a whole and relatively balanced meal all by itself PLUS I could make a different pizza every day of the week and never get bored of it! (Except my husband would stage a "where's the steak?" rebellion!) But pizza is the best. The only thing that makes it better is putting it on the grill!

*Big thanks to Jen for taking most of the pictures in this post.  I'm not quite talented enough to photograph myself throwing a pizza onto the grill!*

These are my tips for grilling pizza. 

The ingredients of the most recent pizza night included homemade dough (any recipe you like), homemade pizza sauce, some leftover pesto, sausage, veggies, jalapenos, basil, pepper jack cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

I definitely find it necessary to have all the ingredients at the ready before I begin.  Shred the cheese and slice the toppings.  Then you're good to grill!

Turn your grill on high to heat things up.  Then roll out the dough for your first pizza.  (You can make your own dough or buy some dough at the grocery store.)  I like to roll it pretty thin.  Be careful if you're using white dough because it will stick more.  So maybe white dough should be rolled a little thicker.

I love the way the grill gives it a nice crispy crust.  Mmmm.

Then prep your Pizza Peel with cornmeal.  You have to build your pizza on the peel so you can slide it onto the grill.  But if you don't have one you can use the back of a big cutting board or even a cookie sheet.  Just make sure you are generous with your cornmeal if you use a cookie sheet.  

Spread it out in a nice even layer... in the shape of your pizza.  I always make mine round but I guess you could think outside the box and make it any shape you want ;o)

Then gently transfer your dough to the peel.  Make sure that there is cornmeal under the whole soon-to-be-pizza.

Once you have it down give the peel a few gentle back and forth shakes to make sure the pizza isn't sticking anywhere.

Easy homemade pizza sauce:

Olive oil
Garlic (I use 1-3 cloves depending on how bad I want our breath to be that night)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Heat up the oil over medium heat and add the crushed garlic.  Cook till it's shimmering and smells awesome, then add the tomatoes and cook it till it's all happily married together.  I usually start the sauce first and let it simmer while I'm chopping veggies and shredding cheese.  Stir it occasionally and it'll be ready for ya by the time you have the dough rolled out!

Once you have it all assembled take the whole shebang outside and turn your grill burners down to low.  Scrape off any gunk on the grates.

Then take a deep breath.  Cause you're about to do something scary...  Ready?  SET?  And...

...slide that bad boy right onto your grill!  The key here is to commit.  I usually give a few more back and forth shakes to make sure the pizza is ready to slide... then you just have to DO IT!

*High five to Jen for capturing the CORNMEAL IN AIR on this shot!*

It's one fluid motion... just aim for the back of the grill as you slide.  Once you get the front of the pizza set you just slide the peel out from under it and BOOM.  You're grilling pizza!

You want to leave the burners on low and check it periodically.  It usually takes about 10-15 minutes per pizza for our grill.  As you can see, I can fit two decent sized pizzas on mine at once.  So I start one, then make the other.  Just don't start the third till the first is off the grill... cause you need the pizza peel free to remove it from the grill.

***Update*** you can WOW your guests with personal pizzas. They get to choose the toppings and assemble their pizzas. And as an extra bonus when serving guests - thank you Laura for the idea - you could use foil underneath each personal pizza to parbake the crust. Then just slide it off the foil to make sure you get that crisp crust we're all desperate for! This way you never have any accidents (I've been there) because they didn't understand how much cornmeal was required to keep the pizza loose!

You'll know it's done when you can slide a big spatula underneath and the whole pizza lifts up. Usually once the cheese in the middle is bubbling you're good to go. Then you just lift it onto the pizza peel and take it back to your kitchen to be cut up and devoured by hungry Monkeys.

Now... you will screw up. At one point or another on your grilled pizza journey you will dump half of your pizza in a pile on the grill. Or shake most of your cheese and toppings off. Or set the front of the pizza too far forward on the grill so you have to stand there scratching your head thinking "now what do I do with the rest that won't fit?" Or maybe you'll just be a pizza rockstar and not make any of my mistakes.

But no matter what, make sure you grill your man's favorite pizza right alongside your girlie-veggie-ness. Cause that will help him be less mad with the cornmeal mess that you are going to leave him in the bottom of his grill. Having meat present on his pizza usually helps.

Not that I ever have to smooth my husband over with jalapenos, pepperoni, and pepper jack cheese. Just sayin'.

I love grilled pizza night!  And the girls love it, too.  It's the only meal that I let them eat at the counter.  So it's a pretty fun night for everyone!

Lily would like to remind you to blow your hot pizza FIRST.

For a few more photos and suggestions, check out this post. 

Happy grilling!


  1. We are going to try this too...Thanks for the tips! BTW, is that a birthmark on your leg or a tattoo?

    1. Depends on which leg you're looking at ;o) On my left leg I have a thumb-sized brown birthmark on my leg and on my right leg I have a big purple gerbera daisy tattoo!

  2. I love nekid babies! I love pizza too but nekid nieces even more. ;)-Cassie

    1. Nekid nieces are pretty sweet. I can't wait to kiss MY nekid little niece!