we’ve gone totally crazy for the grill here in our new place. you know that feeling, on the very last day of school, when you know you’re done for the year, and you’ve got a whole summer of doing whatever you want ahead of you? having a grill makes every day feel like that. there’s nothing more relaxing than lounging in the backyard and cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers, or something a bit more sophisticated, like pizza (that’s right, i’m calling pizza sophisticated).
it’s a little nerve racking throwing pizza dough right on the grill for the first time. i was sure it would fall through the grate, but sure enough, it cooked right up perfectly. the charcoal gives the dough a smokiness you don’t get from a conventional oven, plus the perfect combination of a crispy crust with a soft chewy interior.
here’s an extremely rare shot of me actually cooking. and readers, meet the girl. ain’t she sweet? sorry, no pictures of us together – it was just the two of us, so we had to take shots of each other. she’s a amazing cook and i’m an extremely lucky dude to have her.
look at those grill marks. this crust is about to be topped and tossed back on the grill to finish cooking.
here’s the girl adding a bit of sauce with fresh basil.
as you can see, i’m not a master at making a perfectly round pizza. we’ll just call it “rustic.” this one was topped with barbecue chicken, caramelized onions, mozzarella and more fresh basil. if you’ve never grilled pizza before, or even ever made pizza at home before, it’s actually easier than it looks. have all of your friends over, tell them to bring their favorite toppings, and just keep cooking them up until everyone is too full to move.
it doesn’t hurt to have a few glasses of wine to make the meal complete.
here’s the grilled chicken we added to the pizzas. we’ve been in our new place for 3 weeks, and this is the second time we’ve made this chicken. the girl whipped up a really incredible bbq sauce that caramelizes perfectly and makes the chicken tangy and hot.
hmmm…sausage, caramelized onions, local fresh ricotta, and swiss chard. this one got a helping of mozzarella once it hit the grill a second time. these were so much fun to make (and incredibly delicious), i might do it again this week.
one last thing – the kind folks at washingtonian.com were nice enough to do a little interview with me for their “blogger beat” section, which you can read here. it was totally humbling to get to do it, so i hope you enjoy it. i think i successfully came off looking like a total dork (totally my intention all along). big thanks to washingtonian.com and thanks to all of you for continuing to read this blog and just being generally awesome.
same crust as the first time i made pizza. find it here.
1.day one: make dough.
2. day two: remove the dough from the fridge 2 hours before making the pizza. dust the counter with flour, place the number of dough balls down you are going to use, and sprinkle with more flour. gently press them into flat disks (about 1/2 inch thick). sprinkle with a bit more flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap. let rest.
3. about 45 minutes before making the pizza, fire up your grill. get it nice and hot. we started a bit earlier so we could grill some bbq chicken to top the pizza. when you’re ready to cook the dough, get all of your toppings ready. you’ll need a place to work quickly.
4. stretch the dough as you normally would (either by tossing or by rolling) and lay it on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel. it should be about 1/4-inch thick (the thinner the dough, the easier it is to cook fully). carefully slide the dough onto the grill. it takes a bit of practice, as working too slow causes the dough to bunch up and fall through the grate.
5. after 2-3 minutes, use a pair of tongs to lift up the dough and check to see if it’s baking. you should see some light grill marks. the top may bubble a bit as well. poke the bubbles with a fork. when it looks done on that side, pull it off the grill onto your pizza peel. flip it over so the uncooked side is down on the pizza peel.
6. quickly dress the cooked side with your toppings. slide the topped pizza back onto the grill to cook the other side. you can put the top on the grill to help melt the cheese. another 2-3 minutes later, check the underside of the pizza to make sure it’s done and remove from the grill. serve/eat immediately.