How was your Mother's Day? Mine was pretty perfect - with beautiful weather, great company, and delicious food. After a bit of schedule fanagling, my mom was able to spend time with all of her kids and grandkids yesterday, aside from Katie, who was on shift. My parents offered their house for hosting, and with my dad's help, my sisters and I grilled pizzas for a casual outdoor dinner.
My sisters and I each brought toppings for a different pizza, as well as salad fixings. I bought premade dough from Hy-Vee's Italian Express, which made everything so easy. It was $2 per pizza, and it came in a pan, as opposed to balled up in a bag, which made it much easier to stretch out/shape.
I'm so glad my dad discovered making pizzas on the grill because it is so darn good! You get that smoky/slightly charred flavor that you get from those big coal or wood pizza ovens that restaurants use. The secret is to use a pizza stone and to get it nice and hot before you put the dough on. He kept the grill around 450, and it's worth it to put the stone in early for a nice crispy crust. You also need to have all of your toppings ready to go because you don't top your pizza until the middle of the cooking process. Here's the gameplan:
- Heat the grill to about 450 degrees.
- Place a pizza stone (or other baking stone) on the grill and allow to get hot.
- Stretch and shape your dough on a floured surface, and then transfer to the hot stone. (The dough is not topped at this point!)
- Close grill and cook until side one is golden and crispy. This should only take a few minutes, so check on it often. Flip dough onto a large cutting board or sheet pan (a pizza peel comes in handy here, but you could also use a couple of large spatulas) so the uncooked side is down and the cooked side is up. Remove from the grill.
- Top the cooked side as desired with sauce, cheese, and toppings. (All meat toppings should be pre-cooked, as they are really just getting warmed through on the grill.) Don't add fresh herbs at this time.
- Slide the topped pizza back onto the hot stone, close grill, and cook until the crust is crispy and slightly charred and cheese is hot and melty. (Just a few minutes.) Transfer to a large cutting board to slice. Add fresh herbs, if desired.
We ended up with 3 terrificly topped pizzas, (as well as a corner of plain cheese) and it was all gobbled up. We only had one grill going, so we had to cook in shifts, but that meant every few minutes a new, hot pizza came off the grill. Since we were eating out on the patio, it was a lot of fun to eat and chat while taking turns making pizzas.
Here's what we made:
A margherita style pizza with pesto, sliced tomatoes (seeded and blotted dry), and fresh mozzarella. We topped it with torn basil once it was off of the grill. So good. (Wish I would have thought ahead to make a balsamic reduction!)
A BBQ chicken pizza that has been perfected over time by our family. The chicken is grilled ahead of time and tossed with a bit of BBQ sauce, which is also spread onto the crust. It's topped with a combination of shredded mozzarella & smoked gouda (secret ingredient!), as well as thinly sliced red onions and jalapenos (for those who can handle them.) It's then sprinkled with chopped cilantro after it's cooked.
Lastly, my future brother-in-law made a supreme pizza piled high with toppings. He used regular pizza sauce and then layered on pepperoni, ground deer meat (he is a hunter), cheese, and tons of veggies. There wasn't a speck left!
Have you ever tried grilling pizza? Give it a shot, it's so good!
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