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The Complete Serious Eats Guide to Grilling Pizza

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

As I write this post, I'm sitting in the study at my friend's home in Belfast, looking out the French windows to his back yard. His dad is busy stoking the flames of a wood-fired stone pizza oven that he built with his own hands. This is probably the best possible way to enjoy pizza: real fire, close friends and family, everything hand-made.

But I'm usually not this lucky. My own best pizzas are made on my little 80 square-foot deck on the 17th floor of a Manhattan apartment. If you're like me and your access to stone ovens is limited, the grill is your best bet for making crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-airy-on-the-inside pizza. It's the only heat source that approaches the insanely high temperatures that are so essential to great pizza.

The absolute best way to work on your home kettle grill is to convert it into a real-deal pizza oven using a KettlePizza insert and a Baking Steel. With the two combined, you've got a fire-breathing beast capable of achieving dome temperatures in the 1200°F+ territory that'll sling out pies from start to finish in under 3 minutes. If you've never tried it, it'll step up your pizza game to a whole new level.

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Want to take a more casual approach? You can grill pizzas directly on the grates of either a gas or coal-fired grill. The end results are slightly different, but the technique is simple, and I have never seen a grilled pizza go uneaten in all my years making them.

You can make your own dough using our Neapolitan Pizza Dough recipe, but even store-bough dough will do the trick.

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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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