Sunday, June 21, 2015

How To Cook Pizza on a Kamado Grill

My neighbor and BBQ teammate, John, makes the best pizzas.  If it is Saturday evening, you can book that he is out by his Grill Dome firing up this week's version.  They do them differently each time but the one constant is that they are crispy and delicious.

BGE pizza, kamado pizza, kamado joe pizza, vision pizza, primo pizza


One reason that their pizzas are always so good is that they get a LOT of practice. But a key to their fantastic pies is cooking them on a kamado ceramic grill.  The ceramic dome and wood coals mimic a wood fired pizza oven like all of the trendy pizza places use these days.  You can cook a pizza on just about any grill but a ceramic grill gives it that perfect crisp crust and subtle smokiness.

Like I said, John's "house pizza" varies from week to week but here are his general guidelines for cooking pizza on your backyard pizza oven, also known as a kamado grill.  If you are doing a pizza during the week, you can make this a 20 minute recipe by either making the dough ahead of time or cheat like I do and buy the dough at your local pizzeria.  Most only charge a few bucks for a ball of dough.

John's House Pizza
source:  John Makela

Ingredients
For the dough
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (plus extra for dusting surfaces)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (plus a bit more if required)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the sauce
  • 28 ounce canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 leaves fresh basil cut into small ribbons (chiffonade for you fancy types)
  • salt to taste
desired toppings

Instructions
For The Dough
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix the wet ingredients together.  Combine the two in a large bowl until in forms together in a ball.  
  2. Move to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding more water if it gets dry and begins to break.  
  3. Cover with a towel and let rize until it doubles in size, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on humidity, etc.  
  4. Then roll out as thin as possible into a 12 inch circle.  He suggests putting the dough on parchment paper to cook and move  to the pizza peel easily - idiot proof.  He underestimates my idiocy.
For The Sauce
  1.  Combine ingredients and bring to a slow boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
For The Toppings
  1. Whatever floats your boat.  For basic pizzas, John likes to start with a layer of thin sliced mozzarella or provolone on the top of the raw crust and then spoon a light amount of the sauce over this.  Then top with shredded fresh mozzarella and your favorite toppings.  See Variations for ideas.
For Grilling
  1. Either indirect with a pizza stone on the cooking grid or raised direct with the main grid raised above the felt line and a pizza stone on it.  It is very important to let the stone and ceramics of the kamado grill preheat to 500°F for 45 minutes to get the full "pizza oven" effect.  The air temp will be 500°F quickly but it takes time for the ceramics to warm all the way up.
  2. Place pizza on the stone and cook until the toppings brown slightly and the crust is nicely browned, 5-15 minutes depending on the toppings, crust, and cook temperature.  This will be about 5 minutes for Margherita style, 8-10 minutes for thin crust, and 10-15 minutes for thick crust.
 Variations
  • Buffalo chicken - substitute pizza sauce with buffalo wing sauce, top with about 1/2 cup of cooked shredded chicken, your favorite cheeses (make sure to put some blue cheese in there) and some banana peppers.
  • BBQ pizza - Use BBQ sauce as your base, leftover chicken, pork or beef BBQ,  cheese, and other toppings.
  • Margherita - Tomato, fresh basil, fresh mozarella, and a simple tomato sauce.  You can do at the same temperature (500°F) or go higher for true Neopolitan style at temps north of 750°F and very short cook times.
  • Can't decide?  Do a half and half!
Using the freshest ingredients make the best pizza so John and Anna Mae grow their own basil and tomatoes.

Have your kamado grill pre-heating while putting your pie together. 
BGE pizza
Rollin' rollin' rollin', get those pizzas rollin'!

John swears by using only high quality for his pizzas, says it makes a huge difference in the crust.

rolling out pizza dough
When moving the dough, Anna Mae rolls it up on the rolling pin to keep it from stretching out.

Notice the specks in the dough?  That's because another variation they like to do is to sometimes add some Italian seasoning, rosemary, oregano. or other herbs to the mix.  About 1-2 teaspoons total.

John says that sauce is one of those "less is more" things.

topping a pizza
Dress it up the way you like it.

pizza peel, pizza, parchment paper
The parchment paper and pizza peel make transferring the pizza to the grill or oven easy.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Pizza ready to go on the grill while the poor basil plant has to watch.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Raising the pizza up above the felt line and closer to the dome lets you take advantage of the reflective heat from the dome.

pizza set up Grill Dome, pizza set up kamado joe, pizza set up primo,
Notice that while the parchment paper browns, it doesn't ignite during the cook as long as you trim the edges so they don't stick out too far past the pizza stone.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Pizza al fresco - the best way to eat pizza! 

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Nice crispy bottom, ingredients perfectly melted on top.  If you like an extra crispy crust you can either A) cook the pizza lower in the grill so that the bottom is getting more heat or B) pre-cook the rolled out dough for 2-3 minutes before adding sauce, cheese, and toppings

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Italian style

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Breakfast Pizza

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Buffalo chicken pizza being put together.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Buffalo chicken pizza - one of my person favorites that John makes.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Two faced pizza being put together.

how to cook pizza on kamado grill, Big Green Egg pizza, Kamado Joe pizza, vision kamado pizza, primo grill pizza
Two faced pizza - half Buffalo chickens and half Italian.
So many pizzas - so little time! 

[FTC Disclaimer]  Grill Dome is a sponsor of our competition team and blog. 

11 comments:

  1. GREAT post! Thanx!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pizza on the grill is hard to beat and these all look delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Homemade pizza is the best. I love that you can make anything on the Kamado! John is a great neighbor to have!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Chris,
    Love the addition of honey to the dough, it will give it a little golden color.
    I had never thought of a breakfast pizza, but for sure my teen son will love it.
    Thanks for the recipe and ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  5. OMG Chris! I wouldn't know which to try first!! I just bought a Traeger, they say that you can make pizza on it! Ill try this for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I did this for the first time, temp 500 degrees, did not put the grill uppast the felt. Had the stone down lower and placed the pie on the stone, cooked for 5-8 minutes......it was terrible, the crust was at least 1/4 inch charcoal. Will move the stone up or maybe just do the parchment and grill and lower temp next time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably had your stone to close to the red hot lump and the stone overheated and burnt the crust, try raised direct next time to get more distance from the coals to the stone. You can do this by using 3 aluminum can resting on the fire ring and the grid on top of them, or go to a hardware store and 3 long stainless steel bolts and some nuts and washers and make legs on your cooking grid and these legs will sit on the fire ring.

      Delete
  7. So disappointed you didn't show enough pizza types here man! Lol. Great post, as you make it pretty clear how Kamado grills like the Grill Dome are among the most versatile cookers out there! Agree 100% on the quality of olive oil used. We love California brand olive oil in the rectangular green glass bottles.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You have been having such a great time! I know the competitions are exhausting but its your passion and it shows in your posts.

    Got to tell you…I love, love, the concession trailer. I am always having visions of a food truck and your trailer really made me smile.

    Happy 4th of July!

    Velva

    ReplyDelete
  9. I use 00 flour for my Margherita Nepolitian style pizza. While not absolutely necessary this Italian flour adds authenticity. 00 flour can be bought on the internet (expensive) or if you have access to a restrurant supply store (like some pizza parlors do) in large bags for more reasonable prices.

    ReplyDelete