Grilling a pizza can be so easy and intensely delicious — you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before!
When most people think of grilling a meal, it’s usually all about the proteins. Steaks, burgers, brats and ribs take center stage in the outdoor kitchen and many people rarely venture outside of the tailgating comfort zone to grill familiar meals more commonly made indoors. Sandwiches, deserts, side dishes and more can all be made with ease on any grill, if the pitmaster is willing to broaden their horizons. One such favorite that couldn’t be easier and more flavorful is pizza.
While many recipes exist for grilled pizza, from making fresh pizza dough to using a frozen crust, my method is designed for ease of preparation and to maximize the smokiness and flavor of your fuel source. Keeping in mind that everyone has their favorite pizza toppings, preparing a grilled pizza in the following fashion can be done with just about any ingredients and will give your food the distinctive character of a wood-fired, brick oven pizza. I’ll focus on one set of ingredients for this recipe, but whatever you choose to top your creation, there are true benefits to the palate in doing it on the grill. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Four 8” Round (Available in most grocery stores – any flatbread works great; Panini Bread, Naan, Pita, etc.)
- 1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast or Tenders
- 1 Each, Green, Orange and Red Bell Peppers
- 1 Medium Onion, sliced
- 8 oz. Package Mushrooms, Sliced
- 1 Pound Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1.5 Cups Barbecue Sauce (We use our favorite Garlic ‘n Herb variety, but a great tomato or pizza sauce works here as well, especially if you prefer toppings such as sausage, pepperoni or vegetables)
Prepare your grill to medium-high heat (approximately 350-375°F) and grill chicken until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove chicken from grill and cut into ½” slices. Split the peppers, remove seeds and stems and grill, skin-side down, for about 10 minutes in indirect heat or until they begin to show signs of tenderness. Remove peppers from grill and julienne into ¼” strips. As always, I recommend grilling over a fire of lump hardwood charcoal for maximize flavor, but a gas grill with some soaked wood chips in a smoker box works wonders to infuse the smoky essence as well.
Next, assemble pizza by spreading flatbread with sauce (don’t overdo it here; a little sauce goes a long way). Top with an even layer of shredded mozzarella and place remaining ingredients on top of cheese. If using a charcoal grill, bank hot coals to one side of the grill using metal tongs, to allow for a larger zone of indirect heat and to prevent flatbread from burning. Place pizza on the grill away from hot coals or flames and cover for 5 minutes (you can easily fit three 8” pizzas on the gill at a time in a standard kettle-style grill). Rotate pizzas on grill 180 degrees, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and begin to brown at the edges.
Once you’ve had a grilled pizza, you’ll never want to go try it any other way. Outside of heating up your grill, the time involved in grilling a pizza is less than waiting for delivery or preheating your oven for a frozen disappointment. Not only will the tastes and aromas gratify your senses, but the freshness of the ingredients and ease in creating your backyard masterpiece will have you wondering why it’s taken you so long to get out of the hot dog rut of grilling. Enjoy your time making outdoor cuisine and indulge in a pizza like you’ve never experienced before.
Keep on grillin’!