Pizza on the BBQ

Whenever I say “Pizza on the BBQ”
I think of this monstrosity from the 90’s
“with Pizza on a bagel, you can have pizza any time”
Well pizza on the BBQ is almost easy, and not half as gross.

I like my pizza thin crust, and that makes life easy,
as you don’t have to wait long for the dough it to rise. 

Ingredients for the dough: 

·         225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour*
·         1 tsp (1/2 x 7g sachet) dried yeast
·         pinch of salt
·         ½ a teaspoon of sugar**
·         185mls (3/4 cup) lukewarm water
·         a good glug of olive oil

      * depending on what we’ve eaten that week, I’ll use a mix of plain or whole-wheat flour… you can make it 100% whole-wheat (if you are using Australian “Whole Wheat” that’s not very whole at all) but the white plain flour has more gluten and makes for an strong base – which is easier to move around.  
**if you are anti-sugar, drop it from the recipe… it’s not for flavor (you won’t notice it) but it activates the yeast faster than air & water by themselves
So in one of those glass measuring jugs put the sugar and the yeast and tap warm water
set aside – and wait 5-10 minutes or so to activate the yeast... it will bubble a bit, and make a foam on top.

before rising
In the meantime, add the flour and pinch of salt into the mixer.
Then wait for the yeast, it makes the whole process faster if the yeast is bubbling at this stage
so wash up, or start prepping your toppings…
when the yeast & water has bubbled a bit
add it to the mixer and turn on for about 5-10 minutes
you’ll see it turn from a paste to an elastic dough
my biggest mistake with this is not letting the mixer run long enough
after rising (ready)
by kneading the dough, you make chemistry happen
and gluten molecules get stretchy and make the dough resilient.
That’s as scientific as its getting on my blog…

but it’s a pretty amazing transition.

So then cover with a wet paper towel, a (clean) drying up cloth, and pop a plastic bag on top - set aside somewhere warm to rise.  It needs at minimum 20/30 minutes, but more is better.  Every 20-40 minutes “punch” it down… so the air that’s developed gets removed and it can re-grown.  This also makes the dough more resilient and tastier too. 
Now turn the BBQ on its top temperate and it’s time to prep your toppings:
Red sauce:
please make your own with 1 chopped onion & a few cloves of garlic fried off in oil
& then add a can of chopped tomatoes.  Simmer.
Get fancy, use fresh tomatoes, red peppers, chillies, more garlic a bit of red wine and some lemon juice.  Use your blender stick to smooth it out. 
(DON’T use “pizza sauce” in a jar, that’s just gross – why bother making pizza?)
I make a bigger batch up and freeze 1-toppings’ worth per container so I can pull it out as I go.
Don’t forget to check on the pizza dough as you go… punching it down as it grows.

Then chop up any other topping you want, & get them all in bowls and easily transported to the BBQ area outside.  Once all your toppings are ready, probably so is your dough.

Spread out a piece of wax paper
Spray the paper with spray olive oil
Pour a little olive oil on your hand, divide the dough in half
pop one half on the wax paper (put the other 1/2 aside for later) and push it out on the wax paper
a little bit like rolling it out, (you could I guess)
but I just stretch the dough out with my hands.
It will look like this, and be about ¼ of an inch or just over ½ a cm:
do the same with the second portion.

Now this happens very quickly…
Hold the wax paper up vertically, with the dough facing the grates and flop it down onto the BBQ

Quickly press all the way around the outside edge of the dough (thought the paper) so it sticks to the grill, and then peel away the paper.  Close the lid and give it 2 minutes to cook. 

(Fast is your friend, don’t be a perfectionist
– you are only going to eat it in the end.)

Lifting it off the BBQ at this stage is one of the trickiest steps: It’s a swift, confidence of movement that helps – hesitate and it will break apart… 
You’ll need 2 metal spatulas, one in each hand and slide them under the pizza all around to loosen it from the grill.  Then lift it, flip it, and put it grilled sided UP back on the wax paper.

Close the BBQ to stay hot, and load up your toppings.
Now it’s a delicate act of lifting the ½ cooked base and topping back on the grill.
I like to use my hands, (or if we have guest watching, the length of the spatulas to put it back on.)

  •  Start small, maybe make 4 individual pizzas till you get the hang of it…
  • Olive Oil is your friend when working with dough, it stops it sticking to your hands, the grill, and helps keep it moist – so don’t hold back. 
  • Even when it’s looks a disaster, don’t it will still tastes good, it’s pizza!
  • You might want to put the waiting pizza in the oven the stay warm, or do what we do and nibble while the other one cooks
  • Sprinkle rocket on top of any pizza, and you can pretend it’s healthy