A Grilled Pizza Party
For the past few Tuesdays, culinary director Vincent Huynh and chef de cuisine Marcelo Garcia have been grilling pizzas and wings on the patio at Eight Row Flint as part of the Outdoor Cooking Series. They've put together some tips on successful pizza grilling to share with you for your next grilled pizza party at home.
Use a very light and airy dough that is well proofed. Pro tip: You can purchase dough from Coltivare (14oz for $6), which is what Vincent and Marcelo used at Eight Row. The chefs recommend to use the dough the same day.
Make sure your grill grates are on very high heat and clean before cooking your dough. Just before placing the dough on the grill, reduce coals/or direct flames to medium setting to allow time for dough to crisp and rise.
Semolina flour will allow you to stretch doughs on a cutting board without sticking. They will act as tiny ball bearings and won't cause doughs to become pasty like extra flour will. After stretching, simply grill your dough without toppings a minute or two on each side. This will mean you don't need a pizza stone or any careful shifting of a raw pizza covered in toppings. Freeform shapes rule.
After the first flip, apply your toppings. For summer grilling, keep toppings light, fresh and peak-season flavorful. Precooked corn, onions, peppers or grilled squashes make great toppings. Summer's best toppings are (no question) bursting sweet tomatoes crushed raw with olive oil and basil.
Consider serving more rustic style flatbreads with one or two ingredients like smoked cheese and anchovies. These make great bruschetta style slices to eat around a pool.
Don't be afraid of dark spots and charred dough. The first pizza is always a learning curve, but those charred bits always become everyone's favorite part. After all, grilling is about getting outdoors and having a great time. For best results, keep cold beers on hand.