Homemade pizza tends to have a mediocre reputation. Unless you have installed a several-thousand-dollar imported Neapolitan-style pizza oven in your backyard, it can really be hit or miss. But if you have a teen or tween with a growing appetite, it can be appealing to make a batch of this crowd-pleaser without the extra cost, and without leaving your house.
Sure, the internet abounds with tips and tricks – but many are questionable in terms of safety and practicality. Disable the alarm and set your oven to “clean.” Flop your tossed dough directly onto your hot, heavily greased grill. Or throw in the towel and make a “grandma” pizza with a thick, soft crust in a rimmed cookie sheet.
But if you wanted a pizza at home that rivals that of your favorite pizzeria, then you had two options: take-out or delivery. Until now. There is a way to make high quality, restaurant-worthy pizza at home. And it doesn’t involve building – or importing – a brick oven.
The secret? A pizza pan made for the grill. Why will this be your new favorite way to make pizza? Because you can make pizza at a higher temperature, with less mess – which means a better pie. I use a type of grill pan that is a seasonal item at Williams-Sonoma, so if you don’t already have pans, look for something similar, such as these.
Ideally, the pans you choose will be non-stick, safe to very high temperatures, and fit well onto the surface of your grill. They should also have some sort of handle or handles – and you’ll want to be able to close the lid of your grill to best simulate the heat of a pizza oven, so the ones with long handles will make that more difficult.
Here are three reasons you will want to grill your pizza:
It can be hard to find a home oven that reaches above 500 or 550 degrees. Most outdoor grills, however, can get to this temperature, particularly if they have multiple burners. My grill is not fancy – it was on clearance at Costco at the end of the season, but has a thermostat that shows temperatures up to 700-plus degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a grill that goes above 625 or so, then you can do what I do. I heat the grill up on the highest setting, and then back it down when I put in my pizzas.
Because at such high temperatures with pizza, any tiny crumb in your oven is likely to become a smoky, smoldering piece of charcoal. By taking the cooking outside, any residue on the grill that causes smoking will be outside, meaning less smoke indoors. Plus, any stray shards of cheese or loose toppings will be dropped on your patio or deck, not your kitchen floor. And instead of risking cheese bubbling over onto the floor of your oven, any overflow is instantly incinerated in your grill.
The crust is foundational to a pizza- you can change almost everything else, but without the crust there is no structure. By cooking at high heat on a perforated, non-stick pan you achieve a crisp, fully cooked crust. Once you close the lid to the grill, the heat circulates well enough to melt and brown the cheese and toppings.
My grill pans fit two at a time, side-by-side, on the grill, which means I have two hot, fresh pizzas ready just minutes after the grill is heated up. The only trick I have learned is to lightly grease the pans, and have all the toppings ready. Stretch your rested dough and quickly layer on the toppings. Get the pan on the grill as soon as possible, and you’ll have dinner in 5-7 minutes, depending on your grill.
Have you tried to grill your pizza? After you grill your pizza, comment below with how it worked for you!
Want to take your pizza to the next level? Then use half the dough from your next batch of Tartine bread and divide it into two. Instead of shaping into a loaf and proofing overnight, let the two dough balls sit for the final bench rest and then stretch gently into the lightly greased pans.
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