How to grill the perfect pizza

If you’re asking why grill pizza? clearly you’ve never tasted pizza on the BBQ. The ultra-high heat of the grill mimics that of a restaurant pizza oven and gives crust that smoky flavour and yummy charred bits everyone loves. Pizza on the BBQ is also the perfect supper solution for those summer evenings when you can’t bear the thought of standing in front of a hot oven. Ready to get grilling? Here’s what you need to know.

How to grill the perfect pizza

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The basics of pizza on the BBQ

The key difference between grilling pizza on the BBQ versus cooking it in the oven is simple: you top the pizza only  after it on goes on the grill. Ensure all of your sauces, toppings and cheeses are prepped, chopped, shredded and ready to go before you fire up the BBQ.

Great dough is the foundation that a great pie is built on. Homemade pizza dough is well worth the effort, but go ahead and use store-bought dough (we won’t tell). Just be sure to bring the dough ball to room temperature before you start rolling it out for maximum stretchiness.

Do I need a pizza stone? You might be wondering. While not required, a pizza stone does boost the crispy factor of pizza crust by drawing out moisture as it cooks. Check that yours is rated for use on the grill to avoid cracking this sometimes pricey piece of kitchen equipment.

Pick a tasty topping combination

If a delicious pizza is the sum of its parts, it’s the toppings that play the starring role. The endless combinations of veggies, meats, sauces and cheeses (and even fruits) is limited only by your imagination, but here are a few of our favourites, for veggie and meat lovers alike:

  •  Ham and pineapple – the traditional Hawaiian pizza is great as-is or add red onions for extra flavour
  • Chicken and barbecue sauce – swap out tomato sauce and add peppers and onions
  • Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese – layer over fresh or store-bought pesto
  • Bacon and basil – over a generous layer of mozzarella and ricotta cheese
  • Prosciutto, fig and blue cheese – topped with fresh arugula
  • Tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil – the classic Caprese salad on a pizza, topped with red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Grilled veggies and goat cheese – add peppers, onions and mushrooms and serve over tomato sauce
  • Zucchini, peppers, cherry tomatoes, spinach – over red sauce of your choice
  • Fresh ricotta, sliced grilled peaches and a drizzle of honey – grilled fruit turns pizza into dessert!

How to grill pizza

All grills are different, so cooking times will vary, but here are the basic steps to great grilled pizza:

  1. Heat the grill to at least 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The secret to great grilled pizza is very high heat. If using, add your pizza stone at the same time you begin heating the grill.
  2.  Set up your toppings and tools. Long metal tongs and a spatula will come in handy.
  3. Prep the dough. Stretch or roll the dough into a thin circle (not so thin that it will tear).
  4. Grill the crust. Brush one side with olive oil and lay oil side down on hot grill (or pizza stone). Brush the top side with olive oil and let dough cook 3 minutes with lid open, followed by 1-2 minutes with the lid closed. Check on the crust, and don’t allow it to get crispy – yet.
  5. Add your toppings. Flip the crust over and quickly add ingredients to the pizza. Add a thin layer of sauce, cheese and toppings.
  6. Cook the pizza. Close the lid and cook for another 3-5 minutes, checking frequently. Once the edges are crisp and the cheese is melted, remove the pizza from the grill. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut and eat! Be sure to make extra – leftover pizza never goes to waste.
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