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How to make Charcoal Grilled Pizza

If you’ve never grilled pizza it will be a revelation of flavor. The smoky, lightly charred crust is completely addictive.

a slice of pizza on a cutting board

I’ll eat pizza any time and we have a favorite local spot for takeout. Homemade pizza tends to be a summer specialty at our house because I like to make pizza outside on the grill.

I have both a gas and a charcoal grill, but I always use charcoal for pizza. I love the smokey flavor the charcoal imparts on the dough and I love the charred bits on the bottom of the crust.

You could probably use the same method on a gas grill by lighting the side burners and leaving the middle burner off. I’ve never made it on the gas grill so you’d have to work out the method by trial and error.

I’ve been making pizza over charcoal for almost 20 years, and I would say it took about 10 years to figure out a system that works for me every time. It took many burnt crusts (and fingers) to come up with this method.

I’ve got two pizza dough recipes for you, my Easy Homemade Pizza Dough using commercial yeast and my Sourdough Pizza Crust for those who keep a starter.

Visit this page to see how to shape pizza dough then you’ll be ready for grilling.

If you love this charcoal grilled pizza as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of pizza on a cutting board

How to Make Pizza on a Charcoal Grill

Yield: 2 pizzas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Estimated Cost: $10

If you've never grilled pizza it will be a revelation of flavor. The smoky, lightly charred crust is completely addictive.

Materials

Tools

  • Charcoal Grill
  • Charcoal Chimney
  • Charcoal
  • Pizza Peel
  • 2 large grill spatulas
  • Forks
  • Pastry brush

Instructions

    1. Using hardwood charcoal, build a split fire. Put 1/2 the coals on each side of the grill and leave an open space between. (If your charcoal grill is too small to do a split fire you can try the same method with one hot side and one cool side.) Place the grate over the fire and allow it to heat up for 5 minutes. Use a grill brush to clean the grate. Hold a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil with long grill tongs and oil the grate. a split charcoal fire for making grilled pizza
    2. Slide the dough onto the grate between the two sides of the fire. Poke it all over with a fork to pop the bubbles that will form as soon as the dough hits the heat. sliding pizza dough from a wooden peel onto a grill
    3. After a minute or two the edges of the dough closest to the fire should no longer be raw. Use two large spatulas to spin the dough a quarter turn so that the two sides closest to the coals are away from the heat and the other two sides are now facing the coals. Lift the dough occasionally to make sure no spots are burning. pizza dough on a grill
    4. After about 4-5 minutes the bottom of the dough should be baked and just lightly browned. The top of the dough should be pale but set and probably bubbling. Use a fork to pop any very large bubbles.
    5. Brush the dough with olive oil and then add the toppings. Keep an eye on the bottom of the dough and continue to spin quarter turns to avoid burnt spots (personally, I like a little char). Sometimes I'll move the pie over one of the hot spots very briefly to evenly brown the bottom of the crust. a pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella on a grill
    6. You can remove the pizza from the grill and finish baking it in the oven if the bottom of the crust is done baking before the toppings are ready. I usually preheat the oven so I can finish baking the first pizza while I put the second pizza on the grill.

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Samuel

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

I love grill pizza. Thank you for share these helpful instructions.

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

You're welcome, Samuel. As I said, it took many burnt pizzas and many burnt fingers to get the process right.