A restaurant-quality pizza oven gets far hotter than your home model does, leaving us amateurs at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to making a perfectly charred pie. A Baking Steel can improve the quality of pies coming out of your oven, but short of opening your own pizzeria or buying a backyard pizza oven, the best bet for the home cook trying to put out professional pies is to turn to the grill. With the help of a KettlePizza insert, a charcoal grill can start to approach proper pizza oven temperatures. And even without extra tools, your grill will almost certainly get hotter than your oven.
Firing up the grill has the added benefit of letting you grill toppings for the pizza, like broccolini, tomatoes, and asparagus, or shiitakes and soppresatta. But you can also use the grill for just about any pie, particularly Neapolitan-style ones that benefit from hot, fast cooking. We've rounded up 11 of our favorite topping combinations to get you going, from figs and goat's milk feta to halloumi and olives.
Grilled Pizza With Grilled Broccolini, Chilies, and Garlic
If you don't have any fancy toys, your best bet for making grilled pizza is to grill the dough and toppings separately, then combine them and cook just long enough to melt the cheese. Here we toss broccolini with garlic and olive oil, char it on the grill, then spread it on the crust with sliced red chilies and fresh mozzarella.
Grilled Pizza With Grilled Tomatoes, Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Marcona Almonds
Rather than using a sauce, we top this pizza with cherry tomatoes that are grilled until soft and juicy. We also add charred asparagus, fresh goat cheese, and basil. Nuts aren't the most common pizza topping, but we sprinkle on sliced Marcona almonds to give the pizza some crunch.
Grilled Pizza With Grilled Shiitake, Soppressata, and Parmesan
This ultra-savory pizza is topped with grilled shiitake mushrooms and soppressata, sliced mozzarella, and shaved Parmesan. The sausage only needs about 15 seconds on the fire—pull it just as the fat starts to render. A sprinkling of fresh chives helps balance out the pie's earthy flavors.
Pizza With Mushrooms, Mozzarella, and Truffle
Moving towards oven-friendly pies that also work on the grill, this one packs a triple punch of mushrooms. We top the dough with raw sliced mushrooms, use mushroom duxelles in place of sauce, and finish with a drizzle of truffle oil (make sure you're using the good stuff).
Pizza With Cherry Tomatoes, Halloumi, Olives, and Mint
We love grilling halloumi, and we love putting it on pizza. We keep the Mediterranean theme going by pairing the briny cheese with briny olives, plus cherry tomatoes, mint, and scallions. We also scatter the pizza with chunks of mozzarella, which get satisfying melty in a way that halloumi doesn't.
Pizza With Zucchini, Feta, Lemon, and Garlic
If you try to put fresh zucchini onto pizza you're going to be disappointed—the squash is full of water, and there isn't enough time to cook it off before the crust is done. Our solution is to salt and drain the zucchini, which concentrates its flavor, after which we layer it onto a pizza with mozzarella, feta, garlic, and thinly sliced whole lemon.
Pizza With Hot Soppressata, Mozzarella, Chilies, and Honey
Popularized by Pauli Gee's and a staple of trendy Neapolitan pizzerias, the combination of spicy soppressata and sweet honey deserves all the love it gets. Paulie uses Mike's Hot Honey, but we go with regular honey and a sliced serrano instead. Wait until the pizza comes off the grill to drizzle on the honey.
Charred Kale Pizza With Garlic
The benefit of the Baking Steel and KettlePizza combo is that the top of the pizza gets hot enough to, say, char a handful of kale until nutty and crisp. The kale cooks quickly, though, so par-cook the cheese-topped crust before throwing it on.
Pizza With Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, and Mozzarella
This simple Neapolitan pie is topped with tomatoes, garlic, and basil. The pizza uses tomatoes in two ways—we scatter raw cherry tomatoes on top and use crushed San Marzanos as a sauce. We top the pizza with a pound of fresh mozzarella, but we also add a healthy dusting of Parmesan because what pizza isn't better with Parm?
Pizza With Figs, Mozzarella, and Goat's Milk Feta
Perfectly ripe figs are best eaten plain, but the ones just slightly past their prime are well-suited to cooking—heat concentrates the flavor and enhances the sweetness of the fruit. In this recipe we pair sweet figs with creamy, slightly tangy buffalo mozzarella, salty goat's milk feta, and fresh basil.
Sausage and Radicchio Pizza
Charring food can often make it bitter, but in the case of radicchio high heat actually brings out a nutty sweetness that counteracts the vegetable's edge. On this pizza we pair the radicchio with sweet, fennel-scented Italian sausage, which we add raw so that its fat can melt all over the pizza.