Fresh basil growing on the patio = Grilled Pizza Margherita!
Well, and grilled pepperoni pizza too. You know you want a version with pepperoni. 🙂
Prep everything in advance, because once you get started with this on the grill, it comes together quickly! Here’s my first SCBD tip (SMALL change, BIG difference) ~ we grill the pizza DIRECTLY on the grill. No pizza stone. No special pan. No pizza peel. The pictures below tell the story. Just be careful not to burn your fingers!
Ok, so the pizza dough photo is boring. But here’s another SCBD tip ~ sourdough pizza dough from Publix! It’s fresh made, rises in an hour, and has a great texture from the grill. The regular dough is also good, but I always go for the sourdough when I see it in the bakery cooler case. I put it on an old flat cookie sheet with a light sprinkle of sea salt and plenty of olive oil ~ that makes it easy to lift off for the grill, and then slide back on for topping and off to finish cooking on the grill.
A clean grill, med-high heat, some non-stick grill spray ~ carefully lift the edge of the dough to remove it from the cookie sheet and then lay it down on the grill. Watch your fingers!! Bluwaterguy has grill duty in these photos 🙂 .
You will be completely cooking this side of the dough, and this will be the side you’ll top in a few minutes. After a couple of minutes, check for grill marks. You want to see nice marks and then rotate a quarter turn. This will help evenly cook the dough and prevent burned grill marks.
After about 4 minutes with a quarter-turn mid-way through, you should see bubbles in the dough. This is a good thing and means you’re ready to flip!
Flip the dough with tongs, to partially cook the underside. Cook long enough so that the dough is no longer sticky and you can see partial grill marks. Then remove from the grill back to the cookie sheet.
Be ready to quickly add toppings to the fully cooked top side of the dough.
Brush or spoon a thin layer of your favorite sauce. Keep it thin or your pizza will be soggy, and that’s no fun. Add your toppings. You should be able to see the crust through the toppings for a crisper pizza, or add a bit more for a chewier texture. The pizza in these photos was a chewier version ~ I’m in charge of topping the pizza!
Adjust the grill heat or arrange the coals to have an area of indirect heat to finish cooking. Now you basically want to bake the pizza. Place the edge of the cookie sheet level with the grate and slide the pizza back on to the grill. This is easy because the underside is partly cooked and the cookie sheet still has a coating of olive oil. You can use tongs to edge it off or just push with your fingers ~ but keep your fingers on the pan and away from the grill! Close or cover the grill to bake the pizza until done ~ usually 4 to 5 minutes, but check progress after a couple of minutes to gauge the time.
The bottom crust will finish baking and crisp up on the indirect heat without burning. The toppings will bake and melt, but without high heat they don’t brown. If you like your pizza browner on top, you can pop it under the oven broiler. I don’t recommend broiling for pizza margherita because it just burns the fresh basil, but I have done it occasionally for other kinds of pizza. Keep an eye on it if you do go under the broiler, as the edge of the crust will quickly burn.
Finished baking and off the grill! Let the pizza rest a few minutes before cutting. I know it’s hard to resist, but it will hold together better if you give it a minute or two ~ and you need a couple of minutes anyway to pour the beer!
I hope you enjoy this pizza from the grill. Remember my SCBD tips ~ cook directly on the grill without a stone or pan, and try sourdough for your crust. This is perfect for a fresh and fast dinner anytime, but especially while there is plenty of fresh basil. And now ~ mangia bene!