I like to think I’ve got a pretty good method of making pizza on the Big Green Egg, but I’m always willing to try something new too. I bought a magazine: Pizza on the Grill by Elizabith Karmel and Bob Blumer (picked it up at the airport as reading material for my flight). I bought it just to get some new ideas for pizza topping combinations. It has dozens of different pizzas in it. But it also teaches all about grilling pizza on the grill with no special equiment such as stones, peels, etc. Now I use both a peel and a stone in my usual method, so this intrigued me, and I wondered if it would be as good. So I had to give it a try. We tried it first while out in Quebec on vacation on a gas grill, and again at home on the Big Green Egg. The method works on both types of grills. I used the method as more of a guideline and didn’t follow the instructions exactly.
The dough recipe was similar to my own, but with less water, and more olive oil. I didn’t follow the magazine’s recipe exactly. Here’s what I used:
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1+1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
I combined all of the dry ingredients, mixed the water and oil together, then added to the dry ingredients and mixed then kneaded the dough. The first time I made this I kneaded the dough by hand with good results. The second time, I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the dough hook, also with good results. After a few minutes, the dough came together in a ball and I divided it in two and formed them into round balls. I oiled each dough ball liberally with more olive oil and covered them with plastic wrap and a tea towel and left them to rise for about 90 minutes until they doubled in size.
Now, normally when I make pizza dough, it’s a much more wet dough, and I flour the heck out of my pastry mat to stretch and roll it out. But since this dough was oiled, I didn’t think that would work too well and would just make a huge mess. So I oiled my mat and pressed the dough out by hand (didn’t even need a rolling pin!) and that actually worked pretty well. Next I threw it on the grill over medium direct heat for a couple of minutes until the down facing side started to brown a bit and developed some nice grill marks.
I then pulled the dough off the grill and let it rest on a cooling rack.
Then it was as simple as building my pizza. Just add the sauce & toppings onto the grilled side and return the pizza to the grill and cook over indirect heat to finish it. Once the toppings are hot, the cheese is melted, and the bottom of the crust is browned, take the pizza off the grill and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before you slice and eat it.
I ended up making two pizzas using this method. One was a classic Margherita pizza (mine is different from the version suggested in the magazine, as I use EVOO and garlic as a sauce, and fresh tomatoes) and the other was a simple carmelized onion and goat cheese pizza (also with EVOO and garlic as a base). Both were super.
The verdict? Well I don’t quite like the results as much as my usual high-heat method on the stone, but this method has some definite pros, such as the dough is less sitcky and easier to work with, and the crust doesn’t puff up as much which makes for a nice thinner style crust that is nice and crispy. Also, the special equipment like a peel and a pizza stone aren’t necessary. You can do this same method on a gas grill using direct and indirect heat by turning off some of the burners. My usual method doesn’t work so well on a gas grill because it doesn’t get hot enough with indirect heat. So, I would definitely do this method again sometime as it worked out beautifully and is worthy of being added to my repertoire. If I didn’t have a Big Green Egg, plate setter, and stone that basically turn my grill into into a high heat pizza oven, then this would be my method of choice for creating delicious, crispy-crusted pizzas at home. It’s a winner!