I'm obsessed with homemade pizza. Don't get me wrong, I love Pizza Hut (yes Pizza Hut), Domino's, Louie's and Coal Vines (Dallas pizza joints), but from time to time I want my own. Many people (i.e., my husband) are of the mindset that there is just no reason to make homemade pizza, when it has already been perfected elsewhere. But the truth is I'm not trying to be Louie, or the Pizza Hut man with the hat. It is a different type of pizza, lighter and fresher perhaps, but delicious all the same.
John's brother and his wife were visiting from Geneva, Illinois this weekend, and we wanted to have everyone over for dinner on Sunday night. We wanted to grill, but I was sick of the same old grilling options. Aha! A grilled pizza party. It sounded fun, and it was.
The secret to perfect homemade pizza is obviously the crust. I tried a new technique this time, and I will never go back. We like thin and crispy crust, so if you like chewy then this is not for you.
I used this recipe and technique here, which requires a 24-hour rising period. I also used bread flour, which has a higher gluten content than all-purpose, and helps produce the crispiness. The crust was amazing - very crispy, and very flavorful from the overnight refrigeration.
After letting the dough rise for 24 hours, I took it out of the fridge to bring to room temperature before rolling - this took about 1.5 hours. I divided it into three pizzas for ease of grilling and to maximize my options for pizza toppings (one of the benefits of homemade pizza - multiple varieties!). Preheat the grill to high (about 500 degrees), and brush both sides of the pizza dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Brush the grates with olive oil as well, then throw the pizza dough onto the grill. Close the lid and let cook for a few minutes. When the bottom has dark grate marks and is firm enough to flip, use a couple spatulas to turn it over, and cook a few more minutes. I did this with each crust, then brought them inside for topping. I made 3 varieties - BBQ chicken,
Sausage and Red Pepper,
For the margherita pizza, I topped the crust with pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and thinly sliced fresh basil. I then threw each pizza in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese and finish baking the crust.
I feel really happy all over again looking at that picture. And really happy to know there are some leftover slices in my fridge at home...
Here is my helpful husband doing the wretched job of slicing the pizzas (I can't explain my unfound hatred for this process)..
And here are the happy pizza party attendees (aka John's family):