Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grilled Pizza Puffs Experiment

When's the last time you went roller-skating?

You remember those skating rinks, right?  
  • Dark lighting, loud music, and tan rental skates with orange wheels.    
  • Speed races, Red Light/Green Light, and of course, "couples skate only".
  • Snack bars serving cheap, fast food, fountain drinks, and slushies.  Normally they smell of nachos and reheated frozen pizzas.  

Last night one of Alexis' co-workers came over for dinner and afterward on a whim, we all ended up driving 15 miles to the nearest skating rink.  We skated like dorks, laughed at ourselves, and had a hilarious time.

The concrete block really helps soften the blow of crashes.

So last night, as I was going to sleep and feeling my back & hips tighten up (wait, I don't remember THAT when skating back in 1980), I recalled the smell of the snack bar.  Then I started thinking of ways to make a pizza appetizer on the grill.   I thought of doing some kind of a pizza puff......

But wasn't sure if I wanted to use pizza dough, crescent roll dough, or puff pastry.  So I decided to test out all three in a "proof of concept" kind of way.  I'll write out the recipe for how I did the puff pastry.  The ingredient quantities are estimates.  This is snack food, not rocket science.  Just eyeball it!

These are easy finger food and would be ideal for tailgates, parties, or heck, if you happen to run a skating rink.

Grilled Pizza Puffs

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed according to directions, each cut into 9 squares
  • 2 Johnsonville Pizza smoked sausages*, cut into 9 slices
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce*
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or just mix dried oregano and basil)
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill with a pizza stone to 400f.
  2. Top each puff pastry square with cheese, about 1/2 tsp of pizza sauce and a slice of sausage.  Fold top over.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. Place on pizza stone and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk the egg, Italian seasoning, and 1 Tbsp of cold water together for an egg wash.  Brush onto the tops of the pizza puffs.
  5. Cook another 5 minutes or until golden brown and then remove to a cooling rack.  
  6. Serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping
  • Pizza flavored smoked sausage - These were perfect for this but they are a limited release from Johnsonville right now.  If you can't find them in your area, you can use another smoked sausage or pepperoni.
  • Pizza sauce - I just used a jarred sauce but use your favorite homemade or commercial one.  I hope to have my neighbor do a pizza tutorial post at some point, he is the pizza king around here.  He does one on his Big Green Egg at least once a week.

These new sausages have chunks of cheese, tomato, and pizza seasonings already built in.

I tested some with chunks of mozzarella and some shredded, not a big difference either way.

Top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano. 

You can also do this in a 400f oven but the wood coals make it even better.

For the pizza dough ones, I crimped the edges shut whereas I left them open for the puff pastry.    

Pizza dough version

Crescent roll version

Puff pastry version
The puff pastry ones were my favorite.  The flaky layers just make the appetizer so light and airy.  The crescent rolls were my second preference and had a noticeably different taste.  But it turns out, that's all it is - preference.  Others in my family liked the pizza crust ones or crescent roll ones the best.  It all depends on what you like.

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I have a business relationship with Johnsonville as a sponsor of my blog and received the new sausages free of charge.  I have full editorial control of my blog and the opinions stated are my own.  

[Non-Standard FTC Disclaimer] I have no affiliation with the American Skating Rink Association (ASRA), the American Association of Skating Rinks (AASR), or the United Brotherhood of Skating Rink Snack Bar Workers #109.  

Update:  MyBizzyKitchen - They are out in limited markets right now but here is what to look for.  They should be by the other Johnsonville smoked grilling links in the meat department.  They might not be right next to the raw bratwursts.


  1. So sorry for your loss. Continue with the food therapy. It's good for you.

    I haven't tried to skate for years and never was good. I would break a hip now. I love experimentation in cooking. All versions look great.

  2. Your second disclaimer totally cracked me up, Chris. Curiosity has the best of me now and I'm headed to google to see if there really is a United Brotherhood for Snack Bar Workers. ha ha. These puffs actually look delicious. I love when something that crosses your mind on a whim turns out so well! Way to go on the skates. I can't even remember the last time I tried that.

  3. Great post! Makes me think of the silly things I do with my friends remembering the 80's......oh and the puffs will be tried today, thanks for all your posts.

  4. You are a man after my own heart: drop back 5 yards and punt (i.e. improvise)

  5. Oh my hell - they LET you onto the rink?!? Were you drunk? Isn't there some kind of age-limit? Did you get an Senior/AARP discount? Were there young kids there to laugh and humiliate you? I think the smoke is finally getting to you...might want to install some fans and wear a mask, smoke damage has been known to cause all kinds of brain issues, delusions come to mind...and obviously did in yours! Now, onto the serious stuff...the pizza puffs look great - will make some for tomorrow night's football game where the Seahawks will attempt ANOTHER win!

  6. Oh i haven't been to a skating rink in years! Now I want to. I almost forgot about those. lol.

    Those pizza puffs look really good. I wish I had a pizza stone. Do you think anything else would work as a substitute without cremating the puff pastry?

  7. Chris, I am keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers, and I'm glad that you are cooking again.

    I love that you went to a roller rink, and love that photo!
    Thanks for testing the three different types of dough for these pizza puffs. I can't wait to try them!

    Kim in MD

  8. Awesome finger foods, Chris and what a hilarious story to go along with it. Loved the second disclaimer. I tried making puff pastry pizzas back in February. Worked out ok, but after taking them off the egg, the toppings caused them to deflate. I could see where folding them over might work around that idea. Now I need to revist that idea. Thanks for giving me some new finger foods to try out.

  9. Yep, think I'll make these for my husband next week for his football food - I'll have to look for that sausage, it sounds amazeballs! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. How fun! My daughter and I just went roller skating last month and we had a BLAST!! I think both versions look amazingly delicious... yummo.

  11. this put a smile on my face, i love that you went roller skating! i took my kids not too long ago, but they didn't appreciate it the way i did growing up.

    pizza puffs on the grill? delicious! i think i would prefer the crescent rolls too.

  12. Pizza sausage - how unique and delicious! All of the pizza puffs are calling my name! Heehee I remember roller skating - a trip down memory lane!

  13. I can remember Friday nights at the skating rink. Those were fun times. I can't remember the last time I was in a pair of roller skates. No doubt you guys had a lot of good laughs and a great time.

    The pizza puffs are a nice adult version of skating rink food.


  14. OMG.. I have such wonderful... and very awkward... memories of the roller rink!! Love that you all decided to go.. how very fun.

    As for the pizza puffs.. love this idea! Can't wait to try them... oh the endless possibilities of what could go inside....!!!

  15. What Mary said about the disclaimer. Your puffs look totally delicious and will need to be tried. When I was a kid the roller rink 4 blocks away was the only thing to do in the winter so I did it 3-4 tims a week. Haven't been in about 20 years and imagine I'm a little top heavy now.

  16. Here's an update for you...I did make these - and they were great! I used puff pastry, I figure if I'm going to be puffier after eating them I might as well get a head start. We stuffed ourselves on all kinds of "game food" but these were are favorite - thanks! Oh, about the game...did you see the Seahawks steal the win from the Packers? As Seahawks fans, we were totally embarrassed...but hey, a win is a win! Okay to repost about the pizza puffs? I think my readers will love them!

  17. Great photo of you at the rink! Coincidentally I just went roller skating for the first time in MANY years when I attended my 20th high school reunion. It was a hoot. The pizza puffs look awesome!

  18. These are so cool Chris. I can think of lots of times to serve these.

    I haven't been to a skating rink since I was a teen. Imagine I couldn't even skate at all now.

  19. Wow! these look so good! I would love a dozen of those....:)Love your sounds fun!

  20. Oh, the puffs look fabulous!!! They'd be a great reward if I were to survive the skating - grace is not on my list of attributes. I last went skating in 1979, I think; I ended up on one of those wretched "couple's skates" to K.C. and Teri DeSario singing "Yes, I'm Ready." Yeesh!!!

  21. YUM!! What a great idea! (and I am NOT a hot pocket kind of person). and i'm chuckling at your photo...I totally remember hanging out at the roller rink (Starlight Roller Rink). I even had my own pair of "tennis shoe" roller skates. Two tone blue. Wow...memories. Best of all...roller skating along Venice Beach.

  22. The skating thing I'll politely leave alone. The "puffs" are right down my alley though. GREG

  23. You totally crack me up Chris and so do some of the comments! I vote for the puff pastry and think I will try these for game time tomorrow - yum! The skating I will pass on, I'd probably break a hip or something ;)

  24. LOL figures I have to follow Martha... I read this and thought - wow perfect for football so I'm making them too. And hey I still skate!

  25. Oh the memories of skating. Bringing back memories! And sausages with chunks of cheese, tomato, and pizza seasonings already built in?!?! I must buy these bad boys!

  26. LOL over your disclaimers. And I'm very glad to know that. Love the photo too. Too funny. I think the last time I skated was about 20 years ago. Some kid plowed into me from behind and I went down. Hard. Lived to tell about it. I'm loving these little pizza things. I swear my Safeway doesn't have these flavored Johnsonville Brats. Who do I complain to? The NAGS? (National Association of Grocery Stores)


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