Anyone into pizza grilling?

Husband and I got a Big Green Egg earlier this summer, and lately we’ve been on a pizza grilling kick with it. We usually use the pre-made doughs from Trader Joe’s, because I’m not very good at making anything involving yeast. Sometimes we have some major issues getting the pizza off of the peel and onto the stone in the grill, so I’m wondering if anyone can give me some pointers on how to keep that from happening. Here’s how we’ve been doing it.

  1. We roll out the dough on a well-floured cutting board on the kitchen counter.
  2. Once the dough is rolled out, we move it to a wooden pizza peel that has flour and cornmeal on it.
  3. We top the pizza on the peel.
  4. We take the pizza out to the preheated and cornmeal coated stone in the grill, and pray that the pizza slides out onto the stone without sticking and losing all the toppings.

For some reason, the TJ’s plain dough sticks more than the whole wheat or herb ones do. Does anyone have any ideas as to what we can do to keep our pizzas from sticking to the peel?

Use cornmeal on the peel, not so much flour. You dough should already have enough flour and be pretty dry (not moist in the least)

Also, after you stretch the dough and put it on the meal covered peel, slide it around periodically to make sure that it is not starting to stick.

I generally slide it around after I put on the sauce, slide it some more after cheese and toppings.

It should not stick.

Make your own dough, it is not that hard.

Hmmm…grilled pizza. Interesting – we never had a problem with it sticking to anything. Is is going from cold to warm (from freeze or fridge to warm prep area) and moisture from the temp differences is getting the dough where it’d stick to anything? Regular dough does get more affected by moisture than wheat.

Fresh dough is more room temp, so the moisture is more controlled. Maybe you want to get the pre-made crust more room temp before proceding?

If you’re topping the pizza on the peel, you need to “scoot” it every couple of minutes so it doesn’t start sticking. Other than that, the peel-to-stone move takes some practice.

I love grilled pizza! I use a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, where I do them al Forno style, right on the grill rack. You roll the crusts out really thin, oil them up, put them on a clean grill for a few minutes, then flip them over and top them (sparingly–I like tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and herbs) and cook until they’re done. It’s hard to get a nice round pie, but they look more authentic when they’re amoeba-shaped, IMO.

You can do naan with pretty much the same process and a different dough.

I envy your Egg, BTW. I’ll probably break down and get one next summer.

I grill pizza on my little gas grill, and I’ve found that the easiest way to get the proto-pizza off the peel is to parcook the crust. I shape the dough, brush on olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper (since everything on the grill gets salted and peppered) then toss the dough on the grill for 2-3 minutes. I then take it off, flip it over, put the toppings on the slightly cooked side, and put it on the grill again for about 5 minutes. This gives it just enough structural stability to be easily manipulated once it’s loaded with toppings.

Caveat: I don’t use a pizza stone. I just throw the dough directly on the cooking grates, but the general principle should be the same.

liberally douse the pizza peel with corn meal.

Before building it, give it a couple of shimmies to make sure it’s sliding.

Before dumping it onto the stone give it a couple more shimmies just to make sure it’s sliding easy.

This is a little hard in words, but here goes:

When I go from peel to stone, I like to angle the peel down a little. Put the leading edge an inch or so from the other side of the stone, and then shimmy the front edge of the pizza onto the stone. It will stick just enough so that you can pull the peel away.

What you don’t want to do is go, “ready, set, GO!” and try to dump the whole pizza in one crazy-quick motion onto the stone. Slide that front edge on there and then pull back the peel.

It takes a little practice, but once you get it, you got it.

Not to hijack my own thread, but it’s been pretty life-altering. We’ve been using it as an oven a lot during the summer to avoid heating up the house, and it makes excellent meatloaf and pot roast. You can maintain an even temperature just as easily as you can in your home oven. I’ve done 18-hour smoked pork on there that is to die for, and with judicious use of a hair dryer in the bottom vent, we’ve gotten it up to about 900 for steak sears. I have never made a bad meal on the Egg.

Hmmm…I never use cornmeal. If it makes it easier for you, go for it, but I don’t want cornmeal touching my thin crust pies. I just dust with flour, stretch out and form into a rustic circle by hand, and work very quickly once the toppings get on, giving the board/peel a jiggle to make sure it’s loose and moving.

This guy is the go-to for Neapolitan/NY Pizza tips. He recommends:

Another egg owner here. What it needs is more [del]cowbell[/del] cornmeal. As has been said, move the pizza back and forth on the peel every so often to make sure it isn’t sticking.
Two other tips, have the pizza stone hot, and a raised grid (level with the opening of the egg) is much easier to deal with.
If you have any other egg related questions, feel free to e mail or PM me.

DoctorJ I love my egg, worth every penny. You will not regret the purchase.

New Egg owner here.

I love it, but I am having a little issue with temp control: I tried to do an 18-hour Boston Butt, and found I grievously miscalculated the amount of charcoal required. It got too hot, and I cinched down the lower and upper vents, and then it got too cool, and then my charcoal was gone.

Other than trial and error, can anyone recommend a good rule of thumb for how much to load the thing?

I dunno about the peel, etc. I use the dough’s stickiness to transfer it to the grill - and I cook directly on the grill. (Brown side A, flip, top, brown the bottom while melting the cheese.) I encourage the dough to stick to the bottom of a sheet pan, then flip the whole thing onto the grill and peel off the pan with a spatula.

One note about grilling directly - the dough will let you know exactly how even your fire is.

When we have Gettysdope this fall, I’ll bring a pizza kit and try grilling a pizza. It sounds like a good idea.

I’ve been grilling pizzas for 20 years. My best is a white seafood pizza with shrimp, crabmeat, bay scallops and roasted garlic. I always used to grill right on the rack the whole time, but lately I’ve been suing a stone on low heat to cook the toppings, then sliding it onto the rack to finish the crust.

It’s an art that takes a little bit of practice. We’ve done four butts so far, and the middle two did much better than the first and most recent (not sure what went wrong on that last one). We’re seriously considering getting a BBQ Guru or a Stoker so we don’t have to worry about it as much.

That having been said, while my husband is in charge of the fire, here’s what he does when we want to do a long smoke. First, clean out the fire box completely. Remove all ashes and used lump. Make sure your bottom vent area underneath the fire box is clear as well. Take your bag of lump and pour it into a box. Separate out the pieces as best you can, from large to medium to small. Put the biggest chunk of lump directly in the middle of the fire box. Fit in the rest of the large pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, fill in gaps with the medium, and then pour the small/dust pieces on the top. Level it out at the top of the fire box–don’t build a mound, just make it even. This will make it so that your air holes don’t get clogged with ash–the ash from the small pieces on top stays at the top. Light the lump at the top of the pile, not the middle like you would with a steak. It burns up too fast if you light it in the middle.