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It was inevitable, pizza on the barbecue.

It was inevitable, pizza on the barbecue

Barbecued pizza? Isn't that carrying agood idea a little too far? Not if you want to turn out pizza similar to that baked in a big pizza oven--really crisp on the bottom, slightly aromatic from the smoldering wood embers, and, for summer cooks, blissfully out of the kitchen.

We first came upon the idea when wereported a barbecue cooking contest in Sebastopol, California (see page 258 of the May 1985 Sunset), and noted one contestant's success with pizza cooked on the barbecue.

The process is simple and effective. Stokethe barbecue with a measured number of charcoal briquets, then arrange the ignited briquets to frame the pizza pan's perimeter. Cover the barbecue, open the drafts, and let the heat build up. Then sprinkle the soaked wood chips on the coals and set the pizza on the grill to give the wood-oven taste made famous in Italy and featured by specialty pizza restaurants here. Cover the barbecue and let the pizza bake.

Here, we present a good basic sausage,onion, olive, and red pepper pizza made with thawed bread dough, as well as a somewhat more sophisticated alternative with artichokes and roasted peppers. Or you can use your own favorite recipes for dough and topping.

The technique works with any unbaked,ready-to-cook pizza, including ones you buy refrigerated or frozen (follow package directions for thawing first).

Want to bake more than one pizza? Cookthem in sequence; we give directions on how to maintain the barbecue's heat.

Pizza on the Barbecue

1 jar (about 1 lb.) marinara sauce

2 cups hickory or mesquite woodchips (optional)

Water

1 pound mild Italian sausage

Olive oil

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen white breaddough, thawed

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese,shredded

1/4 pound jack cheese, shredded

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 medium-size red bell pepper,stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 to 1/3 cup calamata or nicoise olives(optional)

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

Bring marinara sauce to a boil in a 5- to 6-quartpan; over medium-high heat, stir frequently to prevent sticking until reduced to about 3/4 cup. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days.

Mix wood chips with about 2 cups warmwater and let soak at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Peel casing off sausage and break meatinto bite-size pieces in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 15 minutes.

On the firegrate of a barbecue with lid,ignite charcoal briquets--use 50 briquets for 23-inch-diameter round barbecue, 75 for 18- by 32-inch rectangular barbecue. When covered with ash, about 30 minutes, push coals in a circle or rectangle just larger than the pizza pan. (If you plan to cook more than 1 pizza, at this time add 10 briquets to the round barbecue, 20 to the rectangular one; space evenly.) Set grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Cover barbecue, open drafts, and heat until temperature in barbecue is 400| to 450| (set an oven thermometer in center of grill, not over coals; or refer to thermostat on barbecue, which should read hot), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, oil a 14-inch-diameter pizzapan or a 10- by 15-inch shallow rimmed pan. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out dough on a lightly floured board: for pizza pan, roll dough into a 15- to 16-inch-diameter round; for rectangular pan, make dough about 11 by 16 inches. Lift dough into pan; dough tends to shrink, so pat firmly out to pan edge.

Evenly spread marinara sauce overdough, leaving about 1 inch of dough uncoated at the edge. Mix the mozzarella and jack cheeses, and scatter over sauce. Top the cheese with sausage, onion, bell pepper, and olives. Let stand until barbecue is ready.

Drain wood chips and sprinkle over coals.Place pizza on grill within (not over) rim of coals; cover barbecue. Cook with drafts open until crust is well browned on bottom (lift with a wide spatula to check) and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes; check crust after 10 minutes. Remove from barbecue, top with basil leaves, and cut into wedges to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Pizza

Make pizza as directed, preceding, omittingthe sausage, onion, and bell pepper; olives are optional. Top the cheese with 1 jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained; 1/3 cup crumbled crisp-cooked bacon (1/4 lb. uncooked); and 1 jar (7 oz.) drained roasted red peppers.

Photo: 1. Arrange pizza toppings ondough in pan; at the same time, start second pizza

Photo: 2. Ring firegrate with hot coals;to prevent burning, pizza pan goes on grill in center of coals

Photo: 3. With grill in place,add damp wood chips, then pizza to bake

Photo: Savor each slice:barbecued crust is crisp and the flavor woodsy-- just like the authentic pizza baked in a wood-burning Italian oven but requiring much less effort
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipe
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 1987
Words:829
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