Flatbreads on the Grill: Lessons, Mistakes, and What’s Next

We’ve been having fun with flatbreads and pizzas on the grill this summer, so it seemed like a good time to share some successes and a few “oops”.

The two best investments in flatbreads on the grill or in the oven

Two of the best investments you can make in your home pizza journey are:

Zoe & Jeff really cover everything you need to know in their book.  It is well worth the price, and is full of great ideas.  I have only just started to try the many great ideas they have.  The crust recipe is really versatile and is super easy to make; you can forget kneading and hours of rise time.

I started out this spring with a smaller uncoated stone for use in my oven.  I was having so much fun with it, I asked for the Emily Henry stone for my birthday.  It’s big enough for two flatbreads at a time, and the ceramic coating means you can cook other items on it; plus it’s a bit easier to clean.  It’s thicker than my other stone, so it seems a little better suited for use on the grill.

Your stone will need at least 30 minutes on the grill to heat up to a proper temperature.  That’s OK, you need time to prepare your pizza.

Hand stretched crust

You can either roll the crust out with a rolling pin, or hand toss.  Hand tossing is fun, but I can’t seem to get the crust quite as thin as when I roll it out.

My daughter Casey is a great crust tosser – on her first try!

My daughter Casey would have no part of a rolled crust – she had to hand throw hers – and she was a natural!  Her crust turned out great.

Dress your pizza lightly for the grill

One of the keys to success is to make sure the crust doesn’t stick to the pizza peel.  I have been using cornmeal, and it generally works very well.  There is a trick – you need to use enough, but too much can cause burning on the bottom of your crust.  Not enough, and you can have the classic problem when you transfer from the peel to the grill.  You skootch the crust off the peel, except the crust sticks and the toppings slide onto the grill. OUCH.  If the crust sticks, you just need to keep calm and do your best to get it onto the grill.  You might be able to release it with a spatula, or you might just need to be creative!

An oblong flatbread allows two on the stone at a time

These are hand tossed crusts, a little thicker than rolled.  Also, this is probably too much cornmeal.  You might be able to blow it off or dust it off.  Once the crust starts to cook, the cornmeal isn’t necessary anymore.

Without toppings, you get a quick, tasty bread on the grill

The pizza dough makes a great grilled bread for summer meals.  You can cook it directly on the grill – no stone required.

You need to pay attention when cooking directly on the grill!

When you’re cooking directly on the grill, you need to watch the crust closely.  I got distracted in the kitchen and came out to this.  Oops!

Even an oops! can be saved

I just cut the burnt part off, and tossed on some grated cheese.  Back on the grill for a few minutes and we’re all set.

The pizza dough makes a great summer bread on the grill

When you pay attention, you get a great summer grilled bread with your dinner.

Garlic scapes & onions, speck, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, green olives, mozzarella

I cook on a basic Weber grill.  After a preheat of at least 30 minutes on high (all 3 burners), a pizza or flatbread takes about 7 minutes to cook.  The crust is well cooked and crisp on the bottom, the ingredients are all hot and the cheese melts, but I don’t get great crust top browning out on the grill.  In the oven, I didn’t have that problem.  On the suggestion from a fellow blogger on Fortify!, I have tried running the center burner at medium or low, outer burners on high.  It didn’t seem to help on my grill, just took longer to cook.  Don’t get me wrong, the pizza tastes great, it just lacks a bit of top browning on the crust.

The following are some of our successes with pizza and flatbread on the grill this summer:

Classic black olive pizza with mozzarella and fresh basil

If you like adding whole fresh basil leaves, wait until the pizza is off the grill and has cooled just a bit.  Add the leaves just before you serve.  They darken quickly, and will darken just from the heat of the pizza.

My hand tossed crusts are a little thicker than rolled crusts

We love Pizzaria Lola; this is our ode to zaza with kimchi

Casey’s sweet potato, peppers, onions & chevre

We had a little trouble with the dough sticking to the pizza peel in Casey’s Sweet Potato Flatbread above.  A couple of extra hands, a couple of spatulas, and we got a workable flatbread.  A bit of an unusual shape, but it had style and pizzazz!

You can add fresh greens after the pizza comes off the grill

Chicken sausage, BBQ sauce, mango, topped with cilantro

Trout, pineapple, onion, shiitake, tomato, chevre, dill with balsamic drizzle

Family pizza competition!

Last Saturday, we had a family pizza competition.  You can see the four competitors in the photo above.  It was great fun as a group activity, and we ate the results!

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