Homemade GRILLED Pizza Dough
Grilled pizza. Is there a better combo? I mean really. Grilling is probably my favorite method of food preparation and pizza, well pizza speaks for itself, does it not? You add in the homemade portion and grilled pizza is suddenly at the top of my ‘worth-it’ list.
If you’re wondering how on earth you grill a pizza directly on the rack, trust me it just works. I’m not a physicist, I don’t know how the crust doesn’t just droop through the cracks and turn into a giant mess, but it doesn’t. At least it doesn’t if you have a good crust.
I feel like I need to put a warning label on this recipe. Warning: by making this homemade grilled pizza dough, from scratch, and cooking it on the grill, take-out pizza will no longer be desirable and in fact will become a huge disappointment. You’ve been warned.
I have tried just about every option for a store bought pizza crust over the years. I grew up on Chef Boyardee (a child of the 90’s) and ‘graduated’ to the 99 cent generic pouch of pizza crust during the apartment living college days. When I decided I could spend more on groceries post college I started using those Boboli pizza crusts. Talk about convenient! Then I read the ingredient label and cried a little on the inside at the laundry list of weird ingredients. And really, how are those things $5 for one crust? Trader Joes has a pretty good pre-made dough which I used for awhile, but then I was introduced to this totally from scratch recipe and haven’t looked back since. The flavor, texture and simple ingredients is a hands down win in my book.
The grilled preparation adds a smoky char flavor (without actually being charred of course) that you just can’t get in the oven. The crispiness is far superior to any attempt for a crispy crust in your oven, yes, even using a pre-heated pizza stone. If you are more of a chewy pizza crust person, stay tuned for a future post on my favorite chewy pizza crust. While it is still grilling season though, this recipe is a “go-to” in our house.
You know how I like a recipe that has built in convenience for later, right? Well this recipe is most certainly not exempt from convenience. One batch is split into THREE crusts which means extra pizza crust go into the freezer for future convenience. Done.
This recipe does require a kitchen gadget that you may or may not have. A food processor. I did try making this recipe in a KitchenAid stand mixer using a dough hook, but no luck. Buuut, I think that was user error. I have heard of someone having success with the KitchenAid dough hook method so I’m thinking it was just me. If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend the 11-cup Cuisnart food processor which is the one I have (it’s cheaper at Costco). It gets a LOT of use making pizza dough in our house.
A few notes on execution. I’m perhaps a bit overly ‘type A’. Those of you who know me well might be laughing at that statement. Okay fine, I can be a lot bit ‘type A’. I like to time my meal prep so it is efficient as possible meaning I put some thought into how I am going to tackle a recipe so everything is done and ready at the same time. If you are also ‘type A’, I recommend making your dough and while it rises (30 minutes), prep your pizza toppings. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out 1/3 of the dough and carry it to the grill on a cookie sheet or a pizza pan.
I was grilling two crusts this time so I separated them with wax paper.
The first time we tried grilling a pizza crust, we burned the heck out of it. So a little advice, wait to freeze your extra crusts until you know you have a successful one. Ha! You will want your grill pre-heated to about 525 degrees. We used some hickory smoking chips to add a little flavor, but that step is certainly optional. You will put the dough (without toppings) directly on the grill rack for about 2-3 minutes until the bottom is slightly cooked. I strongly recommend you don’t walk away from the grill when you are doing the pre-cook step or you will burn it. It doesn’t take long at all.
Remove the crust from the grill using a pizza peel or 2 large spatulas and place back on the pizza pan with the grilled side up. Top the crust (grilled side up) with your favorite sauce, cheese, toppings. Return the pizza directly back on the grill grates and turn down the temp slightly as to not overcook the crust while still cooking the toppings. The pizza will cook much faster than if it were in your oven so keep an eye on it. Cooking times will vary, but roughly 8 minutes.
Remove pizza from grill. This may require 2 people depending on your grill set up. A pizza peel might be worth the investment if you are a frequent observer of ‘Pizza Night’ like we are. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing to avoid juices from running everywhere. Enjoy!
If you have one of those pizza crusts in your freezer and are looking to throw together a quick weeknight meal you can thaw the crust in the microwave. Open the bag and put in the microwave for 1 minute on power level 5. Very lightly knead the dough and return to the microwave for 1 more minute on power level 5. Repeat until thawed. Roll dough out on floured surface and proceed as normal.
Topping options are of course endless. Our current favorite for a grilled pizza is BBQ chicken. Recipe to come!
What are your favorite pizza toppings? Do you have a go to homemade pizza recipe?
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/3 c. lukewarm water
- 1 c. flour
- 3 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 c. olive oil
- 7/8 c. lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp fennel seed
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Oregano
- Whisk together the first 3 ingredients of the starter in a small dish.
- Add 1 c. flour (for starter) to food processor with the first the ingredients whisked together. Pulse the starter together.
- Add 3 c. flour, 1 tsp salt and spices (from dough portion of ingredients) and pulse until mixture is crumbly
- Add olive oil and remaining water. Pulse until a ball forms. May need to move mixture around with spatula if it gets stuck in one spot before the ball is formed.
- Let rise in a lightly floured bowl covered with a clean kitchen towel for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size
- Pound down the dough and cut into thirds. Extra pizza crusts can be placed in freezer bags and frozen for later use.
- Roll dough out on lightly floured surface or non stick mat.
- Pre-heat grill to 525 degrees. Place dough directly on grates for 2 minutes until the bottom is slightly cooked.
- Remove and place on pizza pan, grilled side up.
- Top with favorite toppings and return to grill for an additional 8 minutes or until bottom crust is done. Cooking times will vary.
- Preheat oven and pizza stone to 425. Once pre-heated, place rolled pizza crust on stone and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and top with favorite ingredients. Return to oven and cook until bottom of crust is firm and toppings are cooked.
- Remove frozen dough from freezer and open bag. Place in microwave for 1 minute on power level 5. Lightly knead dough and return to microwave for 1 minutes on power level 5, repeat until dough is thawed and roll out as usual.
- Dough can be slightly pre-cooked using the oven method from above. Cook dough for 5 - 7 minutes or just long enough to hold it's shape. Remove from oven and let cook completely. Wrap in saran wrap and foil and place in the foil for a fast and easy weeknight meal. When removing from freezer, place in the oven for 2-3 minute to un-thaw before topping and baking pizza.