Pizza on the grill

It’s been a bear of a summer so far.  Too many 90+ degree days; not enough rain to keep the lawns green; and too hot to be doing a lot of indoor cooking.

Alternatives are to dine out (always a fine idea and your local restaurants will appreciate it…but please, not the national chains and franchises, ok.  Go truly local!) or to cook outside on the grill.

As noted in a previous post, this doesn’t only mean hamburgers and hot dogs.  All manner of seafood can be grilled.  And so can pizza.

It’s not that tricky and the end result can be pretty good.  And if you don’t believe me…ask my brother-in-law, Don.  I believe his skepticism was dispelled on a recent visit.

Pizza Margherita from the grill

Whereas I generally make my dough from scratch*, you can always find it ready to go in the bakery section of your favorite supermarket.  Most of the local bakeries will also sell you some dough.  And I’ve heard that some restaurants that make their own bread and/or pizza will also.  As a last resort you can pick up “pizza shells” (such as the nationally known “Boboli” brand) at many grocery stores.

Ready for the grill

The key to a successful grilled pizza is to light pre-cook BOTH sides of the crust before adding the toppings.

Roll out your dough, give it a light coating of some good extra virgin olive oil and place on the hot grill rack.  Cover the grill and bake until the dough has firm

ed up and bubbles have formed in the top (3 – 5 minutes or more depending upon how hot your grill is).   Flip the semi-baked shell over and bake until lightly browned on both sides. 

Grill briefly on both sides

Remove the shell from the grill and add toppings of your choice. If you’re using one of the store-bought, par baked shells, you might want to just “toast” one side of it on the grill.  Place the toppings on the toasted side and then put back on the grill to finish cooking.

For a traditional Trenton-style tomato pie sprinkle a small handful of grated mozzarella on the crust.  Over that, layer some canned whole San Marzano tomatoes that you have drained and crushed by hand.  Then add some fresh basil, more grated mozzarella and place back on the grill.  Bake until the cheese has melted and is just starting to brown.

Another favorite is our version of the “Seed” flatbread, one of the standards at Earth Bread + Brewery in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

The "Seed" flatbread from Earth Bread + Brewery, Mt. Airy (Phila), PA

The Seed

  • 2 tbs. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbs. pignoli nuts
  • 2 tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 head garlic roasted until soft
  • Mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

In a dry skillet over medium high heat, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds, tossing frequently until just aromatic.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Repeat with pignoli and then sesame seeds. (Because of their disparate sizes, you get the best results by toasting each type of seed separately).

Prepare crust as above.  Squeeze roasted garlic onto crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle toasted seeds over garlic. Top with mozzarella cheese to taste (we go lightly on the cheese with this one).  Return to grill until cheese has melted and just starts to show some browning.

*Pizza Dough (from Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook)


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water (105 to 115°F.)
  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoons table salt
  • ¾ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


In a 2-cup liquid measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Insert metal blade in work bowl and add flour and salt.

With machine running, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour absorbs it. Process until dough cleans sides of work bowl and forms a ball. Then process for 30 seconds to knead dough. Dough may be slightly sticky. Coat dough evenly with olive oil; transfer to a plastic food storage bag and seal the top. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and punch down. Roll into desired crust sizes and place on well floured peel or back of a well oiled baking pan.  Slide onto grill to bake.


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One Response to “Pizza on the grill”

  1. Pizza with clams (pizza bianca con vongole) « Dj'eat? Says:

    […] By Jim Carlucci A gorgeous Sunday with no plans other than lunch at home and that meant pizzas from the grill.  While I knew one would be a traditional pizza margherita, I hadn’t made up my mind what the […]

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