Everyone loves a pizza party. National Pizza Day is the perfect time to fire up your outdoor pizza oven or grill island (weather permitting) to try out some new recipes or classic favorites instead of calling up your local delivery spot.
Before you roll up your sleeves and start rolling out the dough, here are a few tips for grilling a pizza worthy of a chef’s kiss.
- Give your grill or oven enough time to heat up
It’s hard to be patient for pizza, but not allowing your grill or oven to heat up to the right temperature will result in a less than perfect pie. Preheat your grill to around 500 degrees, which usually takes 10-15 minutes, to make sure your pizza cooks evenly. If the temperature is too low, your dough will stick.
- Pick the right wood or coals
If you’re using a grill and coals, you want to build your coal bed on one side of the grill rather than in the center. This allows you to stretch the dough and achieve those beautiful grill marks. It also gives you a cool side of the grill so you can avoid burning.
If you’re using a wood-fired pizza oven, make sure you’re using a seasoned hardwood, such as oak, maple, hickory or birch. These won’t produce saps, which can affect the oven and flavor of your pizza.
- Don’t cook your dough as soon as you make it
Fresh dough can stick to a grill or pizza oven, which isn’t great for your final product. Make your dough the day before, let it rise and refrigerate for 24 hours. When you’re ready to make the pizza, let your dough get up to room temperature so it’s easier to roll and stretch.
- Make sure to clean your grill or oven
You don’t want any remnants from a previous meal stuck to your dough. If you’re using a wood-fired oven, let it cool down completely before you start to clean. Then, scoop out all the ash and debris and scrub off any baked-on residue with a brass or copper brush head.
When using a grill, make sure to clean the grates with a clean grill brush. Even if you plan on using a pizza stone and won’t place the dough directly on the grates, it’s still a good idea to give them a good cleaning.
- Cook your toppings ahead of time
To prevent your dough from getting soggy, cook any toppings that need to be prepared in advance. Preparing any meats or veggies ahead of time prevents the release of liquids so you have a nice, crispy crust. This also helps all your ingredients heat evenly and prevent over or undercooking.
Try out these tips for National Pizza Day and all year long! And make sure to check out Belgard’s Elements line of products, which includes outdoor pizza ovens and grills so you can make the perfect pie.