After Mrblocko got his swanky new grill, I went and checked out a whole mess of books on grilling from the Library. Most of the books contained recipes of 3 kinds: 1. recipes I already had; 2. recipes with ingredients that were too expensive (IE fresh seafood); or 3. things I knew the family would not like. Pizza on the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer was sort of the exception to this rule. Aside from the dough recipes, I didn't find any recipes out side of the 3 categories, but the instructions on how to grill a good pizza were invaluable.
Here are the instructions in a nutshell:
Preheat the grill, with the lid closed, for 10 minutes, setting all the burners to high. Then reduce the heat to medium. Ideally, you should sprinkle your work surface with grits or polenta. (I forgot to buy this at the store so I omitted it. The coarse cornmeal probably would have given the dough a bit more flavor. ) Gently stretch 1/2 the dough into a rustic 12 inch wonky shape. (We thought the dough would be too thin but it puffed up nicely on the grill.)
After some trial and error we discovered that the following technique worked best for us. Place a sheet of foil on a rimless baking sheet. Brush the foil with olive oil. Carefully stretch out the dough on the foil and then brush oil on the side that was facing up. This way, when you are ready to grill, you grab the foil, flip the whole thing onto the grill and peal away the foil. The directions originally say to grab the dough and flip that onto the grill. We tried that and the dough just got a big hole in it before we could even put it on the grill. (If this should happen to you just pinch the dough back together.)
(Above is a picture of our first pizza, not using the foil method. See how the crust is much smaller than the second pizza below? That is because when the dough tore we had to smoosh it back together. We also decided with the second pizza, the pepperoni should be on top of the cheese. It looks much prettier that way, doncha think?)
Once the dough is on the grill, close the grill lid and leave it alone for 3 min. The bottom should be brown with nice grill marks. Use tongs to transfer dough to rimless baking sheet cooked side up. At this point, you want all your ingredients cooked/chopped and ready to go. Spread your sauce, and toppings over the top and slide the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat. Grill with the lid down about 7-10 minutes until bottom of crust is browned and cheese is melted.
Here's the basic dough recipe I used. I wasn't completely enamored with this dough, but it was a good place to start. You can kneed in other herbs or things like olives or even chocolate (for a dessert pizza) to change up the flavor. Since I made this pizza, I've found a few other recipes for grilled pizza dough that sound very interesting. Once I give them a test drive, I'll post them and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Artisinal baker dough from Pizza on the Grill
3 c bread or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 c milk
1 T oil plus more for bowl
Whisk flour, yeast and salt in large bowl, then pour in milk and oil. Mix with a fork or hands, knead once or twice to form a ball. It is OK if it is sticky. Oil a bowl and set the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temp, undisturbed for 24 hours. (I keep mine in the oven with the light on. The light provides a little bit of warmth and keeps the temp at relatively constant.) Turn the dough once about 3 hours before you want to use it. When ready to make pizza, divide dough in half on a lightly floured board.
I decided to make my own pizza sauce for this meal. I mean if I'm making pizza from scratch, I figured I should go for broke and make the whole thing from scratch. The pizza sauce recipe I chose hailed from the blog Bit of Butter. The original recipe called for pured tomatoes, but I only had diced tomatoes in the pantry. I just emptied the diced tomatoes into the food processor and pureed the stuff myself.
The recipe also calls for fresh herbs. At some point this summer, my fresh oregano cross pollinated with the mint plant. Now the oregano tastes like mint, bleck. The 2 basil plants that survived the nasty summer were not large enough to harvest without stripping the plant. I used dried basil and oregano instead. I did use fresh parsley and thyme. (For some reason those herbs have loved the hot rainy summer. They have practically taken over half of my garden. )
Everyone agreed the sauce was very tasty. It would have tasted even better with fresh basil and oregano though. Next time, I'll add more garlic, crushed red pepper and some grated carrot for a bit of sweetness. This recipe made sauce for 2 pizzas with 2 cups of leftovers.
Both pizzas have pepperoni, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Normally, I would shred the cheese myself from a brick. Since I wasn't sure if the pizza would be a success, I thought it would be cheaper to buy the bagged stuff. I didn't want a bunch of cheeses I might not use again to go to waste. I settled on a bag of pre-shredded Italian cheese blend. I also had some leftover cheddar cheese I had shredded for another meal that I added to the mix. I used half a bag on each pizza, but we like an excessive amount of cheese on our pizzas. (Normal people will probably use much less cheese, and have happier arteries too!)
One word of caution, the directions say to not over load your pizza. Try to limit yourself to 2-3 toppings, otherwise the pizza can get too heavy. Also, if you have too many toppings, not all the flavors shine through. This was a tough sell for the hubby who wanted 12 kinds of meat on his pizza. I think we found a good compromise. We'll definitely be having grilled pizza a lot more next summer.