Gallery: How to Make Grilled Pizza

  • Arranging the Coals

    cooking pizza on a grill

    Grilled pizza restaurants often cook directly over the coals for the entire process, but I've found that a two-zone indirect fire (with the coals to one side of the grill, as shown here) allows for more wiggle room and is a good place to start if you're a grilled-pizza newbie. Light up a grill with a 3/4 full chimney (About 75 briquettes), and spread them evenly under half of the grate once they are completely hot. Allow the grate to preheat, covered, for five minutes.

    Step 1 - On a Roll

    rolling out pizza dough

    As the coals are heating, roll out all 4 (or 8, or whatever) balls of dough you have on a well-floured surface. Any shape is fine, but I find oblongs about 13-by 9-inches to be the easiest to pick up and place. You want the dough to be about 1/4-inch thick. Shake off excess flour and Stack the rolled dough between pieces of parchment paper to keep them from drying out or from sticking to each other.

    Step 2 - Oil it Up

    brushing olive oil on pizza dough

    Brush the top of the dough with a thin, even coat of olive oil or flavored olive oil, and season with kosher salt. I like to use olive oil with minced garlic in it: Put one cup of olive oil and 4 garlic cloves in the food processor and purée until the garlic is totally pulverized. This will keep in the fridge and improve in flavor for up to 10 days.

    Step 3 - Lay it On

    grilling pizza dough

    Lay the dough directly on the grill over the hot side with the oiled side down. Don't worry, it won't fall through the grate — especially the dough that I use for grilling, since it's a little drier than one I'd use in an oven.

    Step 4 - Re-oil

    brushing olive oil on pizza dough

    Within a few seconds, it should start to bubble up. Brush the sky-facing side with another thin layer of oil, and salt that side as well. At this point, you'll have to start moving the dough around and checking the undercarriage with a thin spatula or metal pizza peel to ensure that it's cooking evenly. Cook it until the entire underside is golden brown with a few dark blistered spots.

    Step 5 - Getting Cheesy

    grated cheese on pizza dough

    Once the pizza is done and flipped, slide it over to the cool side of the grill while you apply toppings. Grilled pizzas are topped in reverse so that the cheese will melt properly. Apply cheese sparingly—about 1 1/2 ounces of a good melting cheese (like mozzarella, fontina, or Jack) and a half ounce of a flavorful Parmiggiano or Pecorino is all you need.

    Step 6 - Sauce It

    adding sauce to grilled pizza dough

    For sauce, simpler is better. I use whole canned San Marzano tomatoes that I break up with my fingers over a strainer and let drain for a few minutes, then season with salt. Place 1-tablespoon dollops of sauce in spots across the surface of the pizza. This allows the cheese to show through and melt, and prevents the crust from getting overly soggy.

    Step 7 - Top It Off

    fresh mozzarella on grilled pizza

    If adding toppings that need heating through (like, say, fresh mozzarella or slices of soppressata), place them sparingly on the pizza—remember, this is about the crust—then cover for 1 minute to help them melt or heat through (your pizza should still be on the cool side of the grill at this point). You can skip this step if you are going just plain tomato and melty cheese (my favorite way).

    Step 8 - Cook the Underside and Garnish

    cutting grilled pizza

    After your toppings have heated through, return the pizza to the hot side of the grill and cook until the bottom side is nicely blistered, about 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer is to a cutting board using a metal spatula or a pizza peel, and top with fresh basil or sliced scallions.

    Step 9 - The Undercarriage

    charred pizza crust

    I've been told by the management that Slice's old term for this type of shot is un-PC and possibly taboo. Either way, it's my favorite view. Beautiful, beautiful charred spots. You can't get this with a home oven.

    Grilled Pizza

    Grilled Pizza
    Adam Kuban

    Grilling pizza is by far the easiest way for a regular home cook to get pizzeria-quality results at home. Executed properly, it will yield a pie that's soft and airy, crisp, well-charred, and smoky.

    Get the recipe »