How to Grill Pizza Perfectly

With this technique, your grilled pizza won't flop, stick or burn.

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July 20, 2020
How to Grill the Perfect Pizza
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You don't need fancy tools or equipment to make perfect pizza on the grill. But to avoid a burnt crust and underdone toppings, you will need to nail the technique.

Prep Your Ingredients

Start with your favorite pizza dough — 1 pound will make 2 to 4 pizzas. Bring the dough to room temperature so it's easier to work with. Pizzas are grilled over direct heat, so it's important not to overload the dough. Instead, choose thin, quick-cooking toppings or pre-cooked items. Once the dough hits the grill, things start moving pretty fast, so be sure to have everything prepped before beginning. Shred or cut any cheese, open jars of sauce and chop veggies, meats and herbs.

Use the Right Tools

Gather your tools as well. You'll need a rolling pin, cutting board, large grilling spatula or pizza peel and a pastry brush.

Zone Your Grill

Always start with a clean grill — while it's still cold, brush the grates to remove any food. Then lightly coat a bunched-up paper towel with olive oil. Don’t use too much — dripping oil can cause flare-ups and excessive smoke. Using tongs, wipe the oil onto the grill grates.

Now make two cooking zones: For a gas grill, turn the burners on one side to high and the other side to low. For charcoal, push the hot coals to cover one-half of the grill. This allows you to quickly grill the pizza dough over direct heat, then transfer it to the cooler area for topping and finishing.

Close the lid and preheat for 15 minutes. This will burn off the oil and make the grill very hot, about 500 degrees F. For a charcoal grill, keep the lid vents open for air circulation.

It's Pizza Time!

While the grill preheats, roll out a piece of pizza dough to a thickness of about a 1/2 inch. Lightly brush the top side of the dough round with olive oil.

Place the dough round, oiled-side down, on the hot zone of the grill. Cook for about 1 minute, rotating as necessary with a spatula or pizza peel for even cooking.

Don’t panic if the crust appears to stick. Give it a few seconds more — it will naturally release when ready. (If it is darkening too quickly, move it to a cooler spot.) When ready, flip the pizza crust onto the cooler side of the grill.

Now add your toppings: first up is the cheese, followed by the remaining ingredients. Don't overload it or the the toppings won't have a chance to heat through before the crust overcooks.

Cover the grill with the lid vents open over the cooler side and cook for 5 minutes. This pulls the hot air over from the hot zone, creating a convection-oven effect.

Open the grill and transfer the pizza back to the hot zone for 1 more minute. When the crust is browned on the bottom and the toppings are hot, it's ready!

Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and slice and serve immediately.

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