I wanted to start this post off with “we love grilled pizza on the big green egg!” and then I thought “ok, I sound crazy sometimes when I love everything we grill! Ha!!”
I really do love what we grill. That is one of the major reasons why we decided to create a blog about grilling. It is a lot of fun to share the recipes for others to enjoy.
On to the pizza! It took us quite a bit of time to figure out our favorite techniques for grilling pizzas. We hope that this post is helpful to others so they can skip the mistakes we made.
Pizza Dough – Preparing Grilled Pizza on the Big Green Egg
Let’s start out with the dough. We use a dough made in the bread machine for a thin and crispy crust. Just pop the ingredients into the machine and push start. In 90 minutes, it is ready to roll it out.
We tried several dough recipes, but the one in the recipe section is our favorite. It grills quickly and is crisp when grilling directly on the grate.
We use other dough mixtures for cast iron skillet pizzas, but for pizzas grilled straight over the coals, this is a great one to have in your back pocket! It works every single time without fail!
Note: If you are busy and don’t have a lot of time to prep for this meal, make the dough a few days in advance. After finishing in the bread machine, wrap it in saran and store it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to grill, take it out, and let it return back to room temperature. Because of the yeast, it may continue to rise in the fridge, so check on it periodically.
Rolling out the Pizza Dough
We are fortunate to have granite countertops, so rolling out the dough is easier with a dusting of flour.
Use a rolling pin to smooth out the dough. I recommend to get it as close to 12” in diameter as possible. That is a good size for the Large Big Green Egg, and is still manageable to slip on to the pizza peel. We also have used the dough to make 3 smaller pizzas so each of us will have our own toppings.
The dough is sticky, so don’t skimp on the flour. This is really one of those “feels” in the dough making process that a lot of people hate. Too much flour and it’s dried out, too little and it’s a sticky mess. Most of the time, I add just a little bit to the rolling pin. Temperature and the yeast will make finding the right amount of extra flour a challenge. What works this week may not work next. Just accept it and be patient with it.
Sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza peel to create an even coating. Lift the dough from the counter and place it on the pizza peel. Add more cornmeal to the top of the dough. Both sides should have the cornmeal at this point. You don’t need a ton, so start with a dusting at first. If you like the flavor and texture, add more next time.
Note: This is not a pretty, round pizza. I have yet to get it into a perfect circle (or anything resembling a circle). I like to think of it has having character! It still tastes the same! Most of the time the pizza dough will come out as an irregular object that don’t resemble much of anything. I assure you, it doesn’t affect the flavor!
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Definitely DO NOT use jarred pizza sauce if you have a few minutes to make this homemade version. I think the sodium and other preservatives in store-bought sauce distorts the flavor too much. Just spend a few minutes to make the sauce, if you can.
If you are short on time, the sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time. It freezes great!!
Preparing the toppings
This is my favorite part of creating the pizzas. Everyone has their favorite toppings, and it is fun to collect the different ingredients and using leftovers. Sometimes it’s crumbled up sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms – seriously, if you can think of it, then add it. Oh, don’t forget the olives! We have even sauteed onions and peppers a few times. Again, it’s a little extra work, but the flavor is outstanding.
Add ingredients to different bowls and place them on the counter in assembly line style.
Note: When we had friends over, we made these grilled pizzas. It was great. The kids could pick and choose what they wanted on their personal sized pizza.
Grilling the Pizza on the Big Green Egg
With the dough rolled out and on the peel, and the ingredients staged, it’s time to grill! This is a two person job for us.
Jason mans the grill and runs in and out as I’m prepping the next dough or adding ingredients.
The grill should be set up for direct heat without the plate setter in place, and the temperature should be around 350.
Lightly oil the grate using a paper towel with olive oil. It helps to minimize any potential sticking.
Transfer the rolled out pizza dough from the peel to the grate. With the cornmeal and the light oiling, the dough should transfer to the grill pretty easily.
How Long does it take to Grill Pizza on the Big Green Egg?
Set the timer for three minutes. It doesn’t take long for one side of the dough to cook into a nice crust. The bottom of the dough should be a nice golden brown with the searing marks visible. If your grill temperature is lower, you may need another minute or two.
When the bottom is a nice golden brown, transfer back to the pizza peel. It should have the cooked side facing up.
Add the sauce and ingredients to the cooked side of the pizza.
When you are ready, transfer the pizza back to the grill. Set the timer for another three minutes until the bottom is a nice golden brown and the top has the cheese melted.
Take the pizza off the grill with the peel, and bring it inside. It is ready to be sliced and eaten! Yummy!
Do I need to use a Pizza Stone on the Big Green Egg?
No. You do not need to use a Pizza Stone for this recipe. We will add a post later where the Pizza Stone is used, but you do not need one to grill pizza on the big green egg.
Do I need a Pizza Peel?
Have you seen pizza peels in the stores and wondered if you really needed them? For this recipe, it helps a lot! We made grilled pizzas without them in the past, but found it is much easier and less stressful when we used a pizza peel. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. We used larger spatulas with cookie sheets or a large dish to transfer it.
If the dough is a little more crispy, tongs work as well.
Does it Make a Difference to Add Cornmeal?
Shhh! This is a secret to a smooth grilled pizza experience. The fine granules of the cornmeal create a space between the dough and the grate. This significantly reduces problems with the dough sticking.
We made pizzas without the cornmeal, but sticking dough proved challenging.
The light coating of cornmeal adds a fun texture that reminds me of pizzas from nice italian restaurants. It’s a little thing, but it has a big impact.
If you want to mix it up, try the dough recipe from our Cast Iron Grilled Pizza recipe. It is always fun to make this recipe a little differently each time.
Recipe note: Prep as much as you can earlier in the day or the day before. The dough, pizza sauce, sauteed veggies, and other toppings can be prepared ahead of time to save time on grill day.
Recipe note: Play with the cheeses as you start on the grilled pizza journey. I can’t tell you how much fun this part is. Sometimes we slice mozzarella. Sometimes I just buy the bagged pizza cheese mix in the bag. And sometimes I just use what is left over in the house.
The one that I always like to add is parmesan, though. You only need a bit, but it heightens the flavor quite a bit.
Until next time, enjoy!
- Divided into single servings or one large pizza
- 3/4 c water at about 110 degrees
- 2 c flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1-2 garlic cloves to taste
- Mozzarella cheese pepperoni, cooked sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes
Prepare the Dough
- Pour the water in the bottom of the bread machine.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Set bread maker to dough function and press start.
- When it is complete, roll the dough out to about ⅛ - ¼" thick.
Make the Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients and mix. No need to cook this or anything.
Grill the Pizza
- Set up the grill for direct heat at about 350 degrees
- Lightly oil the grate and then add the pizza dough
- Set a timer for three minutes. The bottom of the dough should be a nice golden brown.
- Remove the dough from the grill and place it cooked side UP on the pizza peel
- Add the sauce, cheese and toppings
- Place the pizza back on the grill. The UNcooked side will be closest to the charcoal.
- Set the timer for another three minutes and check for the bottom to be a golden brown, and the cheese properly melted.
- Remove the pizza and eat!