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How To: Grilled Pizza

Summer isn’t over yet – we’ve still got some time to get busy on our grills before the autumn chill settles in for good, so I’d like to share one of my new favorite grilling “recipes” with you: grilled pizza.


Yes, grilled pizza. In July my sister, Molly, and her husband, Joel, had a pizza grillin’ party the first night of their pre-wedding-festivity-week as friends from all over trickled in and gathered at Joel’s family farm. The fun, communal decorate-your-own activity totally meshed with the lighthearted celebratory vibe. This is a great technique to add to your repertoire for entertaining kids, friends, family, etc! Not to mention, it’s just the most delicious pizza. We East Coasters know that it’s all about the crust, and grilled pizza crust is a revelation nonetheless. Similar to the Indian flatbread naan, you can count on your pizza base to be crusty on the outside, and still faintly chewy on the inside. And with fresh tomatoes and other produce peaking right now, what better time than late summer to pick up this new skill.

Joel grilling pizzas.

Joel grilling pizzas.

A note on the pizza dough: I like to buy pizza dough from local pizzerias. Joseph’s Italian Market on the corner of 313 & N. Fifth Street will sell you a fresh pizza crust for about $3. Wherever you are, just call around and ask. Go out and pick up the dough shortly before you plan to use it and specify that you’d like it “ready to go.” (If you’re using it later you will want dough that still needs rising time.)  If you prefer to make your own pizza dough, here is a great recipe.

Recipe: Grilled Pizza

Summary: This is more of a template than a recipe – experimentation is strongly encouraged!


  • One pizza dough
  • Sauce (see notes)
  • Cheese (I recommend fresh mozzarella)
  • Toppings (whatever you want!)


  1. Begin by heating your grill to high heat, about 450 to 500 degrees. Clean and oil the grill grate.
  2. Divide the dough into quarters and stretch each one out to a reasonable thinness. Shape doesn’t really matter!
  3. Once your grill is good and hot, lay the pizza crusts on it. What you’re doing right now is searing them, a technique in which you cook something (often a protein) over very high heat until it forms a crust and “releases itself”. So your crusts will probably stick until they are ready to flip. This is the only tricky part. Stay with them and keep gently nudging with your spatula until they move easily – once they have seared, flip them and sear the other side, then remove them from the grill. This will probably take about one to two minutes per side.
  4. Turn the grill heat down to a low medium.
  5. Now you can sauce them, decorate them, etc. However you want!
  6. Once the grill’s heat is at about 300-350 degrees, or medium heat, pop the pizzas back on and close your grill lid. Check on them every couple minutes and once your cheese is melted and toppings are cooked, this will probably take about 5-7 minutes, remove from the grill and enjoy!

Quick notes

*** If you have access to fresh, delicious, flavorful tomatoes you should definitely make your own sauce. Here’s a rough guide: Chop up 1-3 cloves of garlic. Chop up a few tomatoes (about a pound). Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add garlic, cook, being careful not to burn, for about 30 seconds to a minute until it becomes fragrant. Add tomatoes and their juices and a generous pinch of sugar, some salt and freshly ground pepper. If you like spicy, add some red pepper flakes. Let this cook, bubbling and reducing, for about 10 minutes until it’s nice and thick. Stir in a little sliced basil and remove from the heat.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)


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