In March, my dad ordered a new grill. Last week, the grill finally arrived.
You must understand, though, this isn’t just any grill. This is a wood burning grill that can burn as hot as around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This grill arrived on an 18-wheeler and weighs a little more than 450 pounds.
You might also think it is crazy that we ordered a grill in March and it arrived in August — but this grill was specially built for us after we ordered it. Of course, we were originally promised the grill at the end of June and we had to wait a bit longer to get it here, but the point is this: The grill has arrived!
Last week, my dad grilled hamburgers on the grill one night and chicken on the grill another night – just to get used to it and start seasoning the grate.
My dad has been grilling on a gas grill for years now and grilling on charcoal again is a little different.
But on Sunday night, he was ready to really show what the grill could do. We made wood-fired pizzas.
And they were delicious.
We had made grilled pizzas before, I think in January. But we cooked them over fairly direct heat on a gas grill, which just isn’t what we did on Sunday.
While dad worked on getting the grill ready, I was inside working on the edible parts.
I started my pizza dough on Saturday afternoon so that I could give it 24 hours to ferment before it was time to roll it out.
I also made a delicious bacon pizza sauce (for which I have included the recipe) and prepped all of the pizza toppings.
Once the grill’s thermometer was reading a steady 425 degrees, I started rolling out my pizza dough. The book that we have about grilling pizzas suggests that you roll them into an “organic” shape — so I did just that.
The family that had come to eat with us kept trying to figure out what they thought the dough was shaped as. To be honest, the shape was confined by the counter space that I was working on – and how often my rolling pin hit the microwave or the bag of pretzels.
Once the crusts were rolled, they went onto the grill. At this point the “top” (the side where we would put the pizza toppings) was facing down. That way, it could cook and get browned before we started layering the toppings on. They hung out on the grill for about 6 minutes before we took them off and started topping them.
I had a whole array of options for topping, but you could use anything that you like on a pizza. All the meats should be cooked before putting them on the pizza, as should any vegetables that you don’t want to eat raw. For example, I cooked up two kinds of sausage and I sautéed mushrooms before we started. The amount of time spent on the grill to finish them isn’t long enough to actually cook any of those items.
Crust, sauce, toppings, cheese — back onto the grill.
The second grilling took us about 9 minutes, and we rotated the pizzas once about halfway through. That way, there were grill marks on the crust. The second grilling time should be however long it takes for the cheese to melt on top of the pizzas. By then, the crust should be golden, crunchy and delicious.
If you want to try this at home, I highly suggest it. You can even take a few shortcuts by using a pre-made pizza dough (anything you find at the grocery store should work) and pre-made pizza sauce. However, I think the bacon pizza sauce is one of the things that truly makes these pizzas special.
(This article was originally published in the Daily Times Leader on Wednesday, August 21, 2013)