Grilling Pizza Crusts

Grilling Pizza Crusts

Grilling Pizza Crusts 2560 1920 Daryl Duarte

Grilling Pizza Crusts

This recipe is a must-have in your bag of culinary tricks.  The dough and crusts can be made ahead, cooled, wrapped, and frozen.  Then, you can pull one crust out from the freezer to use the base for fantastic appetizer pizza that will wow your guests.  But, first, let’s master the art of making the dough and grilling the crusts!
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • grill


  • 1 envelope of active dry yeast - or 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsps kosher salt
  • ¼ cup jonnycake meal or fine ground white cornmeal
  • 3 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ - 3 ½ cups unbleached white flour


Make the dough

  • Using a liquid measuring cup, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast and stir until the yeast has dissolved.   Let this stand on the counter for 5 minutes. You should start to see bubbles and then a foam-head form on the surface.   Wait until it is 1/2 as high as the water and yeast mixture to make sure the yeast has a good start.  
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, olive oil, and 1 cup of white all-purpose flour.   Pour the yeast mixture over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to give it a good mix, until you have a very liquid but smooth batter-like dough.  This stage is often called a "sponge".    Gradually add white flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until a stiffer - but still fairly wet dough has formed.    
  • Place dough on a heavily floured surface and knead it for several minutes, adding only enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking.
  • When the dough is smooth and elastic, transfer it to a bowl that has been brushed with olive oil. Brush the top of the dough with additional olive oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, away from drafts until double in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • Punch down dough. Knead briefly, and then let it rise again for 30 minutes. The dough is now ready to be grilled.

Grilling the dough

  • Get your grill ready, either a charcoal or a gas grill.  (I prefer a gas grill for this process because you need an even heat across the entire surface of the grill to prevent some areas from getting overdone and others not done enough. If you are an expert on charcoal grills - have at it!)  Get the grill very hot while I work on forming the crusts. 
  • Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces - depending on how big you want your pizzas.
  • Generously oil the dough, and the work surface.   Using both your fingertips and palms, flatten the dough into round or rectangular crusts.  Pizza dough is very elastic.  It will continue to shrink back to a smaller size - as you try to stretch it.  The best way to make progress is to do each of the balls to the same size and then walk away.  Give the dough a ten-minute rest.  When you come back - you will notice a difference in the elasticity. This process is known as “relaxing”.  The dough will hold the shape as it relaxes.  You don't want it too thick - or too thin.   Practice makes perfect.  
  • When the grill is hot, use your fingertips to lift the dough gently by the two corners closest to you, and drape it onto the grill - swinging it gently so the hanging part of the dough goes to the back of the grill, and then as you lower the dough - you are also pulling forward.  You want the dough to drape evenly over the grill surface.  
  • Close the grill for 30 seconds.
  • Open the grill - and see if the dough has puffed up - if not, close it again. Perhaps your grill was not hot enough.
  • You must move quickly and learn when to flip the dough. Take your tongs, and lift one edge of the dough - to check for grill marks. If they are black - it is a bit late - but not ruined. You want a nice dark brown grill mark.
  • When the first side is done, using the tongs, gently loosen all the edges - and then pull slowly to free the crust from the grill's surface.
  • Once free - flip the crust and close the grill again. Leave the dough on the grill for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Open the grill - and check the underside of the crust to make sure it looks browned and fully cooked. If so, grab the crust with the tongs - firmly - so that at least 3 inches of the crust are in the tongs - and carry the crust off the grill to a cooling rack.
  • I cool these completely, and then wrap them with plastic wrap, and store them in the freezer.
Keyword grilled pizza, pizza
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