Pizza on the Grill (or in the Oven)

Pizza…what a wonderful concept.  It’s a complete meal on a piece of flat bread. While I love ordering out for pizza, there are limitations. A few years ago, our favorite pizza spot burned to the ground (Pizza Man) and we haven’t found the perfect replacement. Moreover, I haven’t found a pizza place in Milwaukee that makes a tasty, thin, whole wheat crust.  White crust made with refined white flour is junk food, and I prefer to save my junk food intake for sweet treats.

This pizza crust is 100% whole wheat but doesn’t taste that way, and really, isn’t that the goal?  “Pizza on the Grill” brings zero complaints at mealtime, and it couldn’t be faster or easier to make, even when the kids help.

Grilled Pizza
Recipe type: Meals on the Grill
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 pizza serves 2 people
This no-sauce pizza is a great way to use small portions of vegetables you have left over in your refrigerator. My favorite combination is simply sliced tomatoes topped with olive oil, chopped basil, wilted spinach, and thinly sliced gorgonzola or fresh mozzarella. Don't pile on the ingredients--the crust is too thin to hold up.
  • 650g/5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ⅓ cup vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t salt (or 3 ½ t kosher salt)
  • 1 ½ t quick-rise yeast
  • 3 T + 6 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 + ½ cups luke-warm water
  • 5 t chopped fresh herbs (optional)
  1. MAKING THE DOUGH: Using a mixer, food processor, or simply by hand, mix/pulse the flour, (gluten), sugar, salt, (herb) and yeast to combine.
  2. While mixing, slowly add 3 T olive oil and 2 cups water until it forms a course ball—about 4 minutes. Slowly add the ½ cup of water if the dough ball doesn’t readily form.
  3. Allow the dough to rest 15 minutes then mix another 2 – 4 minutes until the dough is smooth, supple and tacky—not sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a smooth clean surface and divide into 6 equal pieces. Gently round each piece into a ball and rub each ball with olive oil.
  5. Drizzle each with 1 t olive oil and use immediately. Or store each ball inside a freezer bag and drizzle 1 t olive oil in each bag. Squeeze out excess air and seal.
  6. If freezing, store the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours before placing it in the freezer. Stores frozen for 3 months.
  7. MAKING THE PIZZA:Have all of the topping prepared and ready to go.
  8. Using a large cookie sheet or cutting board, turn the ball of dough in your oiled hands letting gravity slowly stretch the pizza crust thin. Once you reach the near approximate shape and thickness, place on the lightly oiled cutting board and finish shaping with your hands. It will not be perfectly round; it’s artfully rustic. Do not use a rolling pin.
  9. Gently transfer the dough to a heated clean grill--medium high heat. Cook about 2 minutes and then flip using a large spatula and tongs. Immediately place your toppings after flipping. Cook the other side of the crust for another 2 minutes.
  10. With tongs and a spatula, slide the finished pizza back to the cutting board, slice, and serve. You may want to tent with tin foil if you are making a few.
FAVORITE TOPPINGS: Toppings can be raw, sautéed or grilled. They can be left-over side dishes from the night before or toppings grilled just before the pizza crust was started. Use your imagination. However, it is essential to have them ready to go.

Favorite Toppings:

  • Cheese, grated, sliced or shaved—Parmesan, mozzarella, and goat

  • Fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced

  • Fresh herbs, chopped

  • Fresh red onions, thinly slices

  • Banana peppers, thinly sliced

  • Roasted red peppers

  • Spinach, wilted

  • Arugula, wilted

  • Zucchini, sautéed

  • Garlic, roasted

  • Caramelized onions

  • Cooked sausage

  • Sun dried tomatos, pesto or rehydrated

  • Pesto

Grill Tip: Heat and clean the grill grate completely before cooking.  I use a pair of metal tongs and a wadded up piece of aluminum foil.  Cheap and works like a charm.

Pizza for a Crowd/Pizza made by Kids: You can lightly cook both sides of the crust on the grill with no toppings and place on a cookie sheet.  Add toppings later and heat under a broiler in the oven.  I use this method when cooking for a large crowd or as a safe way to involve the kids in making the pizza.

Oven Alternative: When it’s absolutely too cold or raining outside, just use your oven.  A pizza stone  works nicely.  A cheap one is fine–$10 – $15 is the most you should spend.  In fact for years, I used an untreated $2.50 stone flooring tile leftover from a bathroom renovation project.  Place the pizza stone in the oven and heat for 25 minutes at 450F.  Once the stone is hot, you can cook the crust the same as you did on the grill. If you don’t have a pizza stone, a cookie sheet produces a fine pizza crust.

Preserve it:  Freezing the raw dough and the cooked ingredients can make this a near instant meal.  If you have the freezer space, grill all of the crusts at once and freeze them in freezer storage bags.

Cooking with Kids: I include them in every part of the preparation.  To make the dough, big girl does the measuring and little girl does the adding and mixing.  Once the dough is prepared, we weigh the entire dough ball in grams, divide by 6 and big girl measures them out while little girl rolls them into balls.  The girls add their own toppings only when we finish them in the oven.


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