Text, recipe and photos by Chef Joey
Outdoor grilling! I have the advantage of having a Kettle Drum grill that I burn wood and charcoal for extra flavor, and I also have a gas grill for last-minute cooking. I use the outdoor grill like a stove, and make virtually everything on it – baked potatoes, corn, meats and even breads and pizzas!
The secret to great pizzas is to have all your toppings close. Start off with smaller crusts to practice until you get comfortable with the technique. Start off with a dinner plate size crust that you have brushed lightly with oil so it does not stick. They cook extremely fast so you must be ready!
Place the dough on a HOT grill – it will immediately start to rise and make a crust. After about 45 seconds to a minute, turn the dough to make a grill marks.
If using gas – close the lid each time – brush top of crust with oil and flip it. Now garnish quickly with pasta sauce, meats and cheeses.
Close the lid – rotate again and when the cheese is melted it is done! So easy it’s not even funny! You can make grilled flat breads, too! No sauce needed – just salt, and you can add rosemary, fennel, garlic … the list is endless.
I usually take cherry tomatoes or a great fresh garden tomato that I cut up and sauté with garlic butter a little olive oil and, of course, fresh basil. 1 pint usually covers 1 pizza, so load up if you have a hungry crowd.
Sautéing the tomatoes is key because they simply will not cook on the pizza. So for each pint of tomatoes use 2 cloves of garlic chopped fine, add to you pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add tomatoes and stir until soft, around 10 minutes.
Chop your basil into strips add some to the sauce and save some for the garnish when you pull it off the grill.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put your sauce and other toppings on a tray to bring out to your grill. You also should bring some water and a food quality “brush” to paint the sauce on – it works faster than trying to spread it.
For pizza dough:
Mix 3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour (makes crispier dough) 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 envelope dry yeast (2 envelopes make it rise faster – little trade secret –why wait an hour!) 1 tablespoon sugar to feed the yeast – a pinch of salt and 1 ½ cups hot not scalding water – otherwise you kill the yeast!
Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix.
While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour, say 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball.
If the dough is too dry, add more water, the same way, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. 4 for first timers – smaller pizzas are easier to handle – and it DOES NOT matter what shape they are!
Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes, It will be less time if you double the yeast. Roll out your dough on a floured portable board brush top with oil and flip over – slide it onto your hot grill and start practicing!
It does not stop there – Grill asparagus, slice squash the long way and grill them …
Here is a trick – spray the veggies with a good quality cooking spray BEFORE you put them on the grill. They are less greasy and do not stick to the grates! I do this with eggplant, too! Then I top it off with a blend of olive oil, garlic salt and pepper while they are hot.
Serve them cool!