It's Friday, and that means pizza night here at The Perillo house. A few weeks ago I started experimenting again with the grill. My past attempts have ended in tears or doughs that are cooked through with a crisp bottom but rather unattractive pale white surface. So, when the weather creeped into the upper 80s a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to trade my own for the outdoors and give it a try again. Practice makes perfect, right?
This last time, the figurative lightbulb went off and I decided to treat my pizza more as a flatbread to prep the crust. After shaping the dough, I placed it on a preheated grill until it started to puff slightly and the bottom got some nice grill marks. I should've taken a picture to show you, but with a hot grill and two kids after a long week, let's just say it was better to limit my multitasking. Once that side was ready, I took the crust off the grill and that bottom now become the top—see those gorgeous grill marks in the picture of the finished pie?
It was time to flip the crust and add some sauce, pecorino and mozzarella to that nicely charred crust—the other side would get its chance on the grill in a few minutes. If I was better prepared I would've had all my ingredients outside to simply scatter atop. But I wasn't, so I had to go inside to add my toppings. This is a great example of why even homecooks should always have their mise en place set. It makes for much smother sailing.
Now, this is where it gets tricky—or at least always has for me when grilling pizza. If put over direct heat, that bottom is going to be ready in about a minute. Hardly enough time to melt the cheese, even with the grill cover closed.
It's time to understand and embrace indirect heat. It is your absolute friend in the world of home gas grilled pizza. Need a crash course in direct vs. indirect heat? Go read this article I wrote, featuring Elizabeth Karmel, the ultimate pitmistress.
So, I turn off the center gas burner, left the outer two on and in a few minutes, voila. Enough heat circulated to melt the cheese, and the crust was cooked just right.
I should've been happy.
But I wasn't.
See, I like a golden bubbly finish to my mozzarella.
Since building a brick, wood-fired pizza oven is not in my future—that's Tamar's undertaking, the only way to achieve what I desired was a quick run under the broiler. So, in the end this isn't a 100% grilled pizza, but it's still a better alternative to cranking the oven to 500ºF when it's approaching 100ºF outside.
After Kim is done with her insane commitment to no carbs and alcohol—she's on embargo until July 4th, I'll have to extend the invite and let her be the judge since she's already had my gas oven version. We're both in the homestretch of a very big project, and when it's done there will be lots to toast. This is one yummy mummy I'm delighted to have in my life and being able to share this journey is exciting and somewhat less intimidating.
As for the recipes, I'm taking a little shortcut since time is fleeting and school pick up is literally minutes away. Click these links to get my recipes for whole grain pizza and a basic all purpose flour crust. If you're up for giving the grill a go tonight, then follow my instructions above instead of the oven ones included in the recipes.
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