Secrets to delectable grilled pizza

August 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The secret to making delicious pizza! Sunset Magazine's food editor shows you how.

Our best pizza dough
SERVES 6
TIME 3 hours, including rising

This dough produces crisp, flavorful crusts every time.

  • 1 package (21/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • About 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir yeast into 11/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°). Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup oil, the flour, and salt. Mix with dough hook on low speed to blend, then mix on medium speed until dough is very smooth and stretchy, 8 to 10 minutes. Dough will feel tacky.

2. Cover dough and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 6 pieces of parchment paper, each about 12 in. long. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (about 350°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only about 7 seconds).

4. Turn dough out onto a work surface and cut into 6 portions. For each pizza, lay a sheet of parchment on work surface and rub with 1 tsp. oil. Using well-oiled hands, put each dough portion on a parchment sheet. Flatten dough portions, then pat into 9- to 10-in. rounds. If dough starts to shrink, let rest 5 minutes, then pat out again. Let dough stand until puffy, about 15 minutes.

5. Flip a round of dough onto grill, dough side down. Peel off parchment. Put 1 or 2 more dough rounds on grill. Cook, covered, until dough has puffed and grill marks appear underneath, about 3 minutes. Transfer rounds, grilled side up, to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. (Grilled rounds can stand at room temperature up to 2 hours; reheat grill to continue.)

6. Arrange your choice of pizza toppings (below) on grilled sides of dough. With a wide spatula, return pizzas, 2 or 3 at a time, to grill and cook, covered, until browned and crisp underneath, rotating pizzas once for even cooking, 4 to 6 minutes. Make ahead: Complete dough through step 1, then chill, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days (dough will double in size, and flavor will develop as it stands).

The secret to grilling pizza
Jamie Purviance, author of Weber's Way to Grill, taught us this trick for getting pizza on the grill.

  • Pat out the dough on an oiled sheet of parchment paper.
  • FlIp the dough onto the grill.
  • Pull off the parchment paper and let the crust cook.

Margherita pizza
Spread each half-grilled dough round (see Our Best Pizza Dough, above) with about 2 tbsp. Ripe Tomato Pizza Sauce (recipe at right). Evenly space 5 or 6 slices drained, water-packed fresh mozzarella cheese over sauce. Grill as directed in step 6, then top with small whole or torn fresh basil leaves.

Ripe tomato pizza sauce
MAKES 1 cup TIME 2 hours Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 4 large chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes, and 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until very thick, about 11/2 hours. Stir in 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves.

Bianca pizza
Evenly scatter a few slices of white onion and a large handful of shredded mozzarella cheese over each half-grilled dough round (see Our Best Pizza Dough, above), then sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary leaves and a little salt. Grill as directed in step 6.

Coppa, ricotta, and arugula pizza Evenly spread 2 heaping spoonfuls ricotta cheese onto each halfgrilled dough round (see Our Best Pizza Dough, above), then top with several slices coppa or other cured meat. Grill as directed in step 6. Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper; toss with 5 cups baby arugula. About 1 minute before pizzas are done, scatter dressed arugula onto pizzas and finish grilling, covered.

About Margo True:
Margo True, the Food Editor at Sunset magazine, joined the company in January of 2006. As Food Editor, she works with her team of cooks to develop accessible, reliably delicious recipes and stories that celebrate western ingredients, cooking styles, and the people and places that produce them.

Before coming to Sunset, she was the executive editor at Saveur magazine in New York and worked there for eight years, writing and editing stories about food and culture. From 1995 to 1999, she was an editor and writer for Gourmet. She has won several honors for her writing, including four James Beard journalism awards, and her pieces have been anthologized in the Best Food Writing series. She lives in Menlo Park, California.


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