Are you looking to prepare homemade pizza, but you don’t have a stone? Why not grill it! Making pizza on a grill is not as unconventional as it seems. Traditional Neapolitan pizza has always been made using charcoal ovens.
Grilling gives pizza restaurant-style crispiness and smoky flavor. The good news is that you can grill pizza right at home, especially during those hot summer days when you don’t feel like cranking up the oven. Read on for a guide and tips on how to cook pizza on the grill without a stone.
What You Will Need
- A grill
- A pair of tongs or a spatula
- Bakin sheet
- Olive oil
- Kitchen brush
Step-by-Step Guide on Cooking Pizza On The Grill Without a Stone
Follow these easy steps to grill pizza even if you don’t have a stone.
Step 1: Get the dough ready
An hour or two before grilling, take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm for 10 minutes. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over the thawed dough and cover it with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel.
Place the dough on the countertop for 30 minutes to one hour to proof it. Proofing at room temperature makes it easier to work with the dough.
Step 2: Prepare the toppings and heat the grill
As you wait for the dough to proof, now is a good time to prepare your favorite grilled pizza toppings.
You also want to heat your grill just as you would preheat an oven. Allow the grill to heat for 20 minutes to a temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking pizza on the grill on high heat gives it a crispy bite on the outside and a nice chewiness inside. It also keeps the dough from sticking to the grates.
Step 3: Shape the pizza dough
Now that your pizza dough is proofed, shaping it into a pizza base should be easier. Flour your hands and countertop or table from where you will shape your pizza. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and working surface.
Next, flatten the ball of dough using your palm. Give the dough 3 to 5 more minutes to acclimatize. Then, use your fingers to spread out the dough to make a circular base.
Don’t worry about attaining a perfect circle. Keep spreading out the dough and flouring it as necessary. Lift the dough and let it hang with the center sitting on the palm of your hand. This will allow the dough to stretch out further.
Put the dough back on the work surface. Continue using your fingers to even out and spread the dough, ensuring all edges are of an equal thickness. Here is a helpful video if you would like to learn more about how to shape pizza dough like a pro.
Pro Tip: Don’t raise the rims of the pizza base to make a crust. This will keep the dough from grilling properly and achieving the desired texture.
Step 4: Oil the grill
One concern most people have with cooking pizza on a grill without a stone is that the dough will fall through the grill grates. Admittedly, I was worried about this too, but you can rest assured that this will not happen.
Immediately the dough touches the hot grill, it contracts and firms up to form a solid base. The base will hold your array of toppings and will not melt and ooze through the grates.
To get started with grilling your pizza, brush the grill grates using a small kitchen brush dipped in olive oil. This will keep the dough from sticking to the grill. The olive oil will also elevate the dough’s flavor.
Step 5: Grill one side of the pizza base
Now, with a hot and oiled-up grill, your pizza is ready for grilling. Pick up the pizza dough and place it on a floured baking sheet.
The flat sheet will help to slide off the dough directly onto the grill grates. Tilt the baking sheet at an angle over the grill and let the pizza slide onto the grates.
Cover the grill and wait for 3 minutes for the dough to cook. The pizza base will char a bit and give out a delicious, smoky aroma and flavor. Dough cooks very fast on a hot grill. Keep a keen eye to prevent it from burning.
Step 6: Inspect the dough
Ideally, the dough’s underside should brown within 2 to 3 minutes if the grill is adequately hot. Before flipping the dough to grill the other side, ensure that the underside is fully cooked. There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, check for air bubbles on the top side of the dough. If these haven’t formed yet, close the grill and give it an extra one minute. Air bubbles might take longer to form if the grill was initially not hot enough.
Another way to check for doneness is to slightly lift the dough to check for browning on the underside. Again, if the pizza base has browned evenly, it is time to flip it to cook the other side.
If after three minutes the dough hasn’t browned, the grill was likely not hot enough. Cover the grill and cook for an additional two minutes until the underside turns a light brown.
Step 7: Flip the dough
After the underside is cooked, it is now time to cook the top-facing side of the pizza base. Using flat tongs, flip the dough so that that the top side faces down. Do this gently to avoid tearing the dough.
If your pizza dough is large, I recommend using the baking sheet to help flip the dough. This will prevent the large dough from possibly tearing. Cook the dough for three minutes or until it browns.
Pro Tip: Opening the grill cover can cause heat loss. Before flipping the dough, cover the grill for five minutes to get it to heat up once more.
Step 8: Add toppings
Time is of the essence when it comes to topping your grilled pizza. You will build your pie on the grill, so you want to add your toppings fast enough to get the cheese to melt without burning the pizza base.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when adding toppings to a grilled pizza, especially when you aren’t using a pizza stone. First, you should be moderate with the sauce. A single layer is enough to give the pie the right amount of flavor without making the base soggy.
Second, avoid overloading your pizza with toppings, as this will weigh down the crust, causing it to break. The secret to a perfectly grilled pizza is a thin, crunchy crust with a well-balanced dash of your favorite toppings.
When adding toppings, a good rule of thumb to follow is 1 cup cheese, 1 cup toppings, and ½ cup sauce.
Step 9: Let the cheese melt
Once you add the toppings, cover the grill one more time to get the cheese to melt. One minute is usually enough to melt the cheese while keeping the pizza base at a safe zone where it is neither too crunchy nor too charred.
If you cannot add the toppings fast enough while the dough is on the grill, you can leave the dough on the baking sheet and add the toppings before sliding it back to the grill. As usual, cover the grill for three minutes for the underside of the dough to cook and cheese to melt.
Once the pie is done, use a pair of flat tongs to pull it onto a serving tray. Slice, serve warm, and enjoy!
- To keep the dough from sticking to the grates, try using rice flour instead of regular flour to shape and stretch the dough. Rice flour burns at a higher temperature than normal flour, keeping the dough from burning.
- Arrange the charcoal correctly so the pizza base can cook evenly without burning and hardening the center. Try arranging a coal bend around the sides or circumference of the grill (depending on the shape) and leaving just a few lit-up charcoals in the middle.
- If you overheat the grill, the dough might cook too fast outside and remain uncooked inside. In this case, water down the grill before placing the dough. This will provide just enough heat to cook the dough evenly.
No Pizza Stone? You Can Still Grill It!
You don’t have to be a pizzaiolo to cook pizza on the grill without a stone. The secret to the perfect grilled pizza is to start with a well-proofed dough.
Being moderate with your toppings will also give you a light and crunchy yet filling pie. So, don’t let the lack of a stone keep you from making and enjoying the tantalizing flavors of lightly charred, smoky grilled pizza.