Outdoor pizza ovens were huge when I was growing up. Literally, every single one of my relatives built one in their backyards. They provided hours of fun, even for the kids. The whole family would get involved in mixing up and kneading the dough, waiting impatiently for it to rise, flattening it out. The kids would try tossing it into the air and catching it (usually). Once that was done, the time had come for the toppings. That, you can probably guess was the best part. Everyone dressed their pizza in any way they wanted. Then, once that was done, into the wood-burning oven it went.
Well, I don’t have a wood-burning pizza oven in my backyard, nor do I particularly want one. I’ve got a barbecue (two, actually). This is the way I make pizza now. I’ll even admit that I don’t always make my own dough. It’s just too easy to find good, ready-made, fresh pizza dough in my local grocery store. The hardest part is waiting for the refrigerated dough to warm up sufficiently so that it will stretch out well. Then, like above, add whatever toppings you like. For this last batch, we made one with olive oil, salt and basil, and the other with brown sugar, honey, cherries, chocolate chips and sprinkles. Yes, that was my daughter’s answer to “What’s for dessert?”
Once you’ve dressed the dough, the next step is easy. Heat the grill until it’s very hot (400°F or so). Then, turn off one side of the grill. That’s the side you’ll lay the pizza dough on. If you try to bake it over an active flame, the bottom will burn while the top remains uncooked. If you’re using a gas grill, pull the cover down. Let the pizza cook for about 10 minutes, then check it. It should be very close to being done by then. If the bottom isn’t as golden as you’d like it to be, slide the pizza over the flame, and let it sit there for a few minutes until it’s the colour you want it to be.
I have occasionally done this on a charcoal barbecue with mixed results. The key here is to make sure you’ve piled the charcoal on one side of the kettle, leaving the other half “cool”. As with the gas bbq, if you’re not careful to keep the dough away from the flame, the bottom will burn. You can cover the grill as long as the charcoal isn’t smoking. Try both ways to see which you like better.