The KettlePizza Baking Steel combo set may have forever changed the way I make pizza outdoors (or pizza period, for that matter), allowing me to achieve wood-fired-oven-level temperatures and results on my Weber kettle, but that doesn't mean that standard grilled pizza doesn't make its way onto the dinner rotation regularly over the summer.
For one thing, basic grilled pizza is easier, requiring almost no setup other than making some dough and setting some coals on fire. It's also pretty damned delicious, achieving a level of crispness and char that beats anything you can pull out of a standard oven (even if you've got a Baking Steel!).
More importantly, it affords you the opportunity to grill your toppings before applying them to the pie, giving your finished pizzas an extra level of flavor.
In the past, I've given you my thoughts on topping grilled pizzas, which essentially comes down to picking the right cheeses (with the cheese layered under the other toppings so that it melts!), and combining them with pickled/preserved things, par-cooked vegetables, grilled vegetables, cured meats, and/or fresh herbs and flavored oils.
These three combos are cooked 100% outside (no need to pull out a pan indoors before you hit the grill), and none of them use sauce, letting the flavor of the grilled vegetables really shine through.
To make grilled pizza, follow the basic instructions here, or jump straight to the individual recipes at the top or bottom of this article.
Grilled Broccolini, Chilies, and Garlic
Broccolini or broccoli rabe with garlic and chilies is a classic flavor combination. In this recipe, I toss the broccolini in garlic oil before grilling it over hot coals, then add it in whole pieces to the pie which also gets slices of fresh mozzarella and a scattering of fresh hot chilies.
Get the recipe for Grilled Pizza With Grilled Broccolini, Chilies, and Garlic »
Grilled Shiitake, Sopressata, and Parmesan
This guy is all savoriness. It starts with shiitake mushrooms charred on the grill. Slices of sopressata get the briefest turn over the fire, then go on top of a pie with fresh mozzarella. On go the mushrooms, along with a fistful of coarsely shaved Parmesan cheese. (And if you're the type of person who digs on truffle oil, go ahead. I'm definitely not.)
Get the recipe for Grilled Pizza With Grilled Shiitake, Sopressata, and Parmesan »
Grilled Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Marcona Almonds
I know I'm committing a grave seasonal recipe faux pas here by combining a spring ingredient (we're in the middle of asparagus season!) with a late summer product, but dammit, we've gotten so good at cherry tomatoes that they're sweet and flavorful pretty much all year round.
For this pizza, I split cherry tomatoes in half and toss them on the grill just until they start to lightly soften and turn juicy. Then I match them with asparagus that's grilled until charred and tender-crisp, along with fresh goat cheese, sliced Marcona almonds, and chopped basil. There's a lot going on here, but it's been one of my favorite pies so far.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.