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Mini Pizzas on the Grill

Who needs a cookbook anymore, right?

I must have several hundred, but when I want to investigate a new recipe or update an old one, I, like most folks these days, turn to YouTube. I don’t always agree with the suggestions I find, but there are enough of them to find one that suits my fancy.

Recently, a friend suggested we make pizzas for our group on Sunday. That’s no big deal, I’ve made a bunch of them, but my friend, Angie Troutman, wants to make them on the grill. YouTube got me going in the right direction, I feel relatively confident we can pull this one off without too much trouble.

My primary concern is that the grill needs to be heated to 500 F and I am not sure my old grill can muster that much heat. But we’ll give it a try. The next problem is making the dough. I am not a baker, although I possess the basic skills. I just don’t enjoy it. I bypassed this problem by buying raw dough from a local bakery. All I have to do now is to roll it out into individual-sized pizzas. I already have a pizza stone that fits on the grill. I just have to cut enough wood for a fire that is probably going to have to bury for at least an hour to build up enough heat. I’ll use a base of charcoal, which should help the fire maintain a constant temperature, then top it with hard wood cut to fit the grill.

My plan is to let everyone fix their own. I’ll have homemade sauce, and bought cheese, deli meats and asparagus on the picnic table. But I am still a little worried about the temperature. The success of a good pizza is often based on a super-hot oven. As a backup, I am going to pre heat my oven, so if the grill just can’t get as hot as it needs to be, I’ll finish them in the oven. I think the wood smoke is critical to what I am trying to achieve, so, even if it is a bit of a pain to build and maintain the fire, I do not want to skip that critical step.

I think it is a good plan, and I’ll finish this story after our Sunday pizza adventure. Stay tuned.

Fast forward to Monday:

Well, I’ve got to tell you, things turned out pretty good. Except for the dough. The dough I got from the bakery had already been proofed and so it could not be worked into a pizza shape. But I did have a plan B in place, which consisted of store bought pizza dough (looks like biscuits). It was not as good as the bread dough would have been, but it was good enough. We started with mini pizzas, just five or six inches across. We had a ton of toppings (Angie brought some too), and after we made the pizza shapes, we let everyone build their own pizza.

I did have a little trouble with the grill, I could only get it up to a little over 400 F, so it took the pies about fifteen minutes to cook (A good pizza over can have a well-done pizza out in five or six minutes). Angie also made another good suggestion, which was to use corn meal on your peel (you do have a pizza peel, right? The wooden paddle you use to put the pizzas in the oven). Cover the peel with a handful of corn meal and the pizzas will slide right off. It would be a real mess if the pizza got stuck on the peel and ended up falling on the grill in a big lump.

All in all, our pizza on the grill adventure was a success. I learned a lot and enjoyed the company and food as well.

I wonder what’s next?

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