Everyone loves grilling, and everyone loves pizza, so why does it seem like these two culinary cousins don’t get along at the BBQ family reunion?
There are pizza parties, and summer get-togethers would seem a little strange if there wasn’t the whiff of smoke in the air. It would certainly be noticed and probably be mentioned.
I gotta wonder, why are pizza grill parties not a thing?
One of the coolest things about a pizza grill party is making the pizza yourself. That means you aren’t going to use a frozen pizza. Trust me on this and don’t try it.
That’s right—you’re going to be making your own. When you think about it, pizza is actually perfect grill food. The setup for grilling takes a while, right? While your coals are burning down and getting to the right temperature, you’re going to have time to kill. Don’t just stand around with a cold beer, telling stories about how good you were in high school to justify your opinion on a controversial part of last night’s game.
Instead, get your pizza ready. Feel free to bring the beer along. If you are going all out and you have guests to impress, you probably started your own sauce hours ago. By now, your dough also should have had time to rise.
On to the fun part.
While creating your own masterpiece, do your own thing. This is your pizza—express yourself. Add some smoked salmon, fresh veggies, or pesto. Done? Great. It’s time for it to go on the grill. Now you just need the last piece of the puzzle: a good stone for your creation.
Which method should I use?
There are many ways to grill pizza. Usually, it’s done by placing the pizza directly onto the grate and covering it up. This can make things a little tricky, as the dough has to be grilled first. The crust is flipped before adding the toppings.
This method takes a fair bit of preparation, as well as experience in grilling methods and temperature management. An easier option is to use a pizza stone.
Raw food in direct contact with a heated stone is an ancient method of cooking. It probably dates back to when some bearded ancestor of ours was walking around a fire and dropped an egg or something. Luckily for him (and us) the stone was very close to the fire, and he was pleasantly surprised by the results of his mistake.
The science behind this method of cooking hasn’t really changed much since then. The difference is that nowadays the stones can be replaced with ceramics, metal, or salt. Salt is becoming ever more popular as the material of choice.
A pizza stone is designed to act like the surface of a pizza oven, providing an even heat source and serving as a moisture-absorbing platform. The slightly porous nature of the stones allows for the dissipation of moisture, which results in a crispier crust.
Which type of pizza stone is best for me?
A simple baking stone is as good as you can get, really. Baking stones are usually a little thicker, so you may need to heat them up for half an hour or so before you are ready to cook.
The pros of using a baking stone are that you can control the temperature by heating it for different lengths of times, and that they are not prone to cracking. The only downside is that they are relatively heavy. You may need a larger grill to accommodate its bulky size.
Pizza stones are great in the oven too. Here’s my guide on how to use them.
The only fire Pizza Oven Kit is designed specifically for the grill. Its cooking surface is slightly elevated off the grate so you can cook with a greater level of control.
The kit includes the steel chamber, pizza stone, pizza peel, and thermometer that takes the guesswork out of grilling pizza.
The only real con is that the only fire will fit only 22-inch grills such as Weber, Char Broil, and Napoleon, so if you’re using a smaller or larger grill, this will not work for you.
The Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone is another one worth checking out. It looks beautiful, sporting an elegant glazed black surface. But, don’t let its appearance fool you—this guy can cook!
One interesting feature is, because this model can handle super hot temperatures, moisture can be absorbed from the surface of the crust without using the porous stone method.
It is well worth noting that some pizza stones are prone to cracking. Terracotta garden tiles have a habit of doing this, and unfortunately so does the pizza stone made by Pampered Chef.
To sum up.
Pizza stones are a great option for experienced grillers and novices alike. While it might be nice to have a pizza oven in our garden, maybe it’s better to walk before we take flight. The pizza stone is a great compromise between power and convenience.
If you have a Kamado grill, you might want to read our article on the best pizza stones for Kamado grills.
Check out the models available to you in your area to add another tool to your culinary toolkit. Your summer pizza parties will never be the same!
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Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: DVIDSHUB and Naotake M.