BBQ Pizza

24 06 2011

I remember the smell of BBQ wafting through the neighbourhood on summer evenings, hoping, as I rode home from god-knows-where, that the smell was coming from my house.

Good BBQ food – the kind that makes you bike home faster – is not always easy to find for vegetarians.  Sure,  grilled vegetables are good, but sometimes I want something that makes all the parents in the neighbourhood wish they were having dinner at my house.

The solution: BBQ pizza.

A few years ago I had the best pizza, fresh from a wood fire oven; just thinking about it makes me pine for that crispy spelt crust covered in too-many mushrooms.  A few weeks after that pizza experience, I was home with my brother when we decided to host a BBQ pizza party at my parents house (because they have a BBQ).  Armed with some pizza dough and the sexiest toppings we could find, we made eight pizzas for 15 people.

Now that summer is here again, I feel the need to share the secret.  The secret is that it looks good, tastes awesome, and is almost easier to make than toast.  A couple of tricks to remember:

  1. Your BBQ can’t be too hot.
  2. You absolutely must prepare all your toppings in advance, especially if you want your veggies cooked.
  3. This is an informal kind of meal.  You will not have eight pizzas ready at one time… unless your BBQ is ridiculously large.
  4. You need tongs.
  5. You must have fun while doing this.

One last thing before I jump into the recipe: I did not make the pizza dough myself.  I could but this was a last minute decision and bread + yeast + last minute does not equal success.  I bought some dough in the bakery section of my grocery store.  There’s a bakery near me that sells spelt pizza dough… unfortunately they were closed when this cunning plan was hatched.

BBQ Pizza

appropriate quantity of pizza dough

cooking oil or non-stick spray

creative toppings:

zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, artichoke hearts, pear, apple, beet

mint, basil, thyme, oregano, arugula, spicy peppers

truffle oil

tomatoes, caramelized onions, pesto

Daiya non-dairy cheese

You can prepare your toppings way in advance, if you’re having a party and making loads of pizza, or you can prepare them while the BBQ warms up.  In the event that you’re only making one pizza, start warming the BBQ up to medium heat – around 400ºF.

Prepare all of you toppings.  I find it helpful, when making more than one pizza to have bowls ready to hold my chopped up mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and tofu and to keep them from getting all mixed up together.  This also allows me to do all the cutting before I start cooking any of my toppings.  (Hmmmm, caramelized onions, they are an awesome replacement for tomato sauce.)

When your toppings are ready and your BBQ is hot and ready, it’s time to roll out your pizza dough.  Because the cooking process is so fast, you want to roll the dough out as thin as possible.  Despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to get the crust really, really thin, but it’s still really, really good.

Now you need to get organized.  You need a way to get your pizza dough, non-stick spray, toppings, and some tongs out to your BBQ.  Now that you’re outside with everything, the fun begins.

  • Spray the BBQ with non-stick spray.
  • Place your pizza crust on the BBQ and close the lid for 20 – 40 seconds.  If you’re worried about burning, open the lid and take a peak to make sure your crust is cooking, instead of burning.
  • Spray the crust with non-stick spray.
  • Flip the crust over.

  • Place your toppings on the pizza.
  • Close the lid again.  We’re looking at about 2-3 minutes from the time you flipped the crust until the time pizza is done.  So, how long you keep the lid closed the second time will depend on how long it took you to get your toppings on.
  • Remove from BBQ.
  • Cut into pieces.
  • Enjoy like nobodies business!