Introduction: Stone Cooked Pizza on Your BBQ
Chuck US loves a good barbeque, but he loves pizza even more. When Chucks sister in law (Dr Bec) told him about cooking pizza on a bbq using a pizza stone he knew that his favourite meal would never be home delivered again. Chuck US wants to spread the good pizza news so if you like bbqs and love pizza like Chuck does, read on...
You will need:
1 x hooded BBQ - gas or charcoal is OK, Chuck uses gas.
1 or more x Pizza Stones
1 x Pizza Peel
1 or more pizza pans - these are not for cooking in, but for transport and assembly
800g flour - strong bakers flour is best, plus some more for flouring work benches etc.
1 x sachet dried yeast (7g)
500ml warm water
2 tsp salt
Beer (not pictured)
Toppings - Chuck prefers tomato paste, pepperoni, pineapple, mushroom anchovies, cheese and chilli flakes. Some say that less is more when it comes to pizza toppings. Chuck US says that more is more-ish!
This is enough to make 8-10 pizzas. The dough can be frozen for future use.
Hint: instead of buying $20 pizza stones, Chuck uses unglazed quarry (terracotta) tiles. He is a notorious cheapskate.
Step 1: Make the Dough
You will need to make the dough at least 2 hours before you need it. You can make it the day before or even earlier if you like.
1. Combine the flour yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Slowly add the warm water and keep mixing. TBLBITST* likes to use a wooden spoon first and then she hooks in with the hands. Keep going until all the ingredients have come together into 1 big dough ball.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured bench and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy. Place the dough into a clean bowl (Chuck likes a quick spray with cooking spray) and cover with cling wrap. Leave it in a warm place for about 2 hours. It should nearly double in size
3. Once the dough has finished rising, turn it out onto the floured surface and cut into 8 equal sections. Give each dough ball a quick knead and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
4. These are your pizza bases, ready to be cooked or frozen in ziplock bags for a future perfect meal.
*TBLBITST - The Best Looking Brunette In The Southern Tablelands
Step 2: Hungry Time
At this point Chuck likes to get the barbeque fired up and and indulge in a couple of VBs (Vitamin Beer) before dinner. TBLBITST likes to supervise this step so that Chuck doesn't overindulge, but Chuck has his ways...
You should take out the grills and plates and place the pizza stones in the bbq before you light it. You have to heat the pizza stones up slowly or they will crack. Also you will burn off the seasoning from your grills if you leave them in. The idea is to cook with indirect heat so Chuck has the two outer burners on high and the centre burner on low. (This is a 5 burner BBQ). You'll work it out. Close the hood and let the BBQ heat up. You will want to get it pretty hot (~250 Deg Celcius) or so. It will take 2-3 VBs (30 minutes) or so.
Step 3: Makin' Pizza. Mmmm
Now we make pizza! Mmmmmm.
First roll out your pizza ball on your floured surface. You can make it thick or thin, it doesn't really matter. If you make it too thin, you might have some trouble moving it about. You can also toss it up in the air if you want to impress someone. Chuck has tried this and no-one was impressed. Chuck likes to roll it out and then transfer it onto a floured upside down pizza tin. If you have a solid pizza peel you could flour that and do the rest on there.
Now you can put your toppings on. Chuck likes a tomato puree first then pepperoni, pineapple, mushroom etc... TBLBITST likes lite ham and goats cheese with a couple of olives. The kids like ham and pineapple with an egg in the middle. This is where you get to be creative. Try sweet ingredients (stewed apple and brown sugar) for dessert.
A word of warning: Chuck has found that if you load up too much at this stage, your pizza base will get soggy and won't transfer onto the pizza stone. He puts most of his ingredients on after the pizza is on the stone.
Take your creation to the BBQ and transfer the pizza onto the stone (a bit of flour on the stone is also advised). This is one of those arts that can not be taught, only learnt. Chuck has made some pizzas that did not look like pizza. Don't panic though. It will still taste great. Chuck adds his final ingredients at this stage, and sprinkles some (lots of) cheese on top. Close the hood and wait a few minutes. Using the pizza peel, check under the base to see if the pizza is cooked. It should be browned and the toppings should be bubbling and delicious looking and smelling. If you check too often you will lose the heat out of the BBQ. If you don't check often enough, you will be ordering takeaway.
When the pizza is cooked, slide it off the stone and onto the pizza tray.
Cut it up and eat. Close your eyes and give thanks.