The weather and time have not been conducive to outdoor cooking. It’s cool and rainy. Not that the cool or cold will keep me from grilling. Rain does put a damper on things, though. And I hate this time of year-it gets dark way too early. I’m ready to move closer to the equator so I can have more hours of daylight (and warmer weather sounds enticing-I’d rather be soaked in sweat than freezing my toes off!). You will see in the pictures that the daylight faded quickly on this one!
This is not the first time I have grilled pizza. I tried a different method than usual. I put the pizza directly on the grill and tried cooking it as one would do in a fire-brick oven: start out with a lot of heat and continue cooking until the heat is gone, resulting in longer cooking times as one goes a long. Usually, I heat up my skillet over the fire and put the pizza on the skillet. Similar, but different enough to affect the crust doneness. And I think, a better method. I won’t say that this was an utter failure, but it was not the best. This blog isn’t just about posting new recipes; it’s about sharing my ideas for outdoor cooking. Some of those ideas are going to be great, some are learning opportunities-learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them!
The pizzas are relatively straightforward. I used thawed frozen bread dough, cut into 3 or 4 even hunks. I rolled them into balls (with a bit of flour), let them rest until doubled, then rolled out with a rolling-pin into round pizza crusts. Everyone makes their own pizzas at our house. I opened a jar of tomato sauce, set out some spices and everyone’s favorite toppings and cheese.
While my family prepped their pizzas, I started the fire. I used some small pieces of oak and leftover charcoal. I was going for a wood smoke flavor.
The first pizzas went on. The fire was very hot-450 F to 500 F. I put on the lid, suppressing the flames and creating an oven for the pizzas. This is where I admit failure. The pizza was very smoky, to the point where it was almost inedible. Since it was dinner, I ate it anyway.
Subsequent pizzas were cooked with the lid off. I did try this, in order to have some heat surrounding the top of the pizza:
Some of the pizzas were a bit doughy in the middle. The first pizzas I put on (with the lid covering the grill) were on for about 5 minutes. They were completely cooked and looked great. As I stated above, they were just too smoky. These pictured above were on around 10 minutes. With the lid off, the heat dissipated quickly. The pizzas toward the end of my fire’s heat were put directly over the heat and moved alongside the fire as the bottoms browned. Those turned out to be the best. They took a lot longer, though. Closer to 15 minutes.
Next time, I’ll go back to using my skillet. It was easier to control the heat that was applied to the pizza. I will let you know how it turns out!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!