Skip to content

Our New Summer Tradition: Grilled Pizza

tomato, tarragon, and mozzarella
As we sat in the grass biting into our hot-off-the-grill personal pizzas and looked out over the lake at the Chicago skyline, Andrew commented, “Why isn’t this a Chicago tradition? I mean, it has all these Chicago elements: pizza, the lake, summer grilling in the park…” I had no explanation. I couldn’t stop thinking about or congratulating myself for the chewy and crispy crust I was indulging in…or the fresh and delicious ingredients topping it.

I had a bunch of leftover items in the fridge and pantry that I considered throwing into a pasta: green garlic (I’d already roasted it), garlic scapes, bacon, half a tomato, and tarragon. When I saw how hot it would be yesterday, I immediately came up with an alternative that didn’t involve turning on the stove at 6 p.m., the time of day when our kitchen gets the hottest. So I began making a pizza dough and throwing ingredients into Gladware, then into a picnic basket, along with olive oil, salt and pepper, napkins, a plastic cutting board and a spatula, all with the intention of finally giving grilled pizza a try.

The grill tender First try at grilled pizza crust

On the grill
Top Left: Andrew getting the grill started; Top Right: The first crust to go on the grill! Bottom: Bacon, brie, garlic and arugula top the first two pizzas.

I wasn’t sure how it would work. I was slightly worried about the dough falling through the grill’s grates so I brought some aluminum foil just in case. My worry turned to joy and surprise when I learned that a hot grill begins cooking the crust so fast that it doesn’t have time to slip through! Also, this is why you get both the chewiness and gorgeous grilled-crunchiness.

Rather than wax on about how perfect these pizzas were (and only got better as we cooked more) and how there’s no need to go spend $13 on one tiny pizza at any of the trendy pizza spots and how I want to do this at least three times a week for the rest of summer experimenting with toppings, I’ll simply tell you the following:

  • • Make a pizza dough (I use the recipe for Basic Pizza Dough in Joy of Cooking; it’s yet to fail me, though I’d like to find one equally as delicious for a whole wheat crust).
    • Get your toppings ready, i.e. pre-cook them if necessary and prepare them for travel if you are not fortunate enough to have your own outdoor space.*
    • Start the grill, keeping the coals somewhat close to the top.
    • Once the goals are good and hot and you have a medium to high heat, brush the grate with olive oil and throw on the dough (which, presumably, you’ve shaped and allowed to rest for 10 minutes).
    • Turn the dough after a minute or two and put on your toppings (I start with a drizzle of olive oil, always).
    • If you’re using cheese, cover the grill for a minute to get the cheese to melt.
    • Remove pizza before it gets too charred (some charred spots are good though).
    • Enjoy!


    1. Susan Gill wrote:

      Wow! I can’t wait to try this delicious looking treat! Thanks for the photos!

      Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 8:33 am | Permalink
    2. We’re totally doing this when we host a cookout July 4. I’m calling Nadia right now.

      Monday, June 30, 2008 at 9:25 am | Permalink
    3. Joe Horn wrote:

      Great Blog, love it. Love the pictures. I just grilled some pizza on my grill. If you have a minute come check it out at my blog.

      Thanks, Joe

      Saturday, July 5, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
    4. Amanda wrote:

      We tried this last night and it was the BEST homemade pizza we’ve ever had! Thanks for the recipe!

      Monday, July 7, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
    5. Angela Sadova wrote:

      Thank you for sharing such a practical and most likely

      delicious recipe with the rest of us! Thanks again, Angela.

      Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
    6. Karen wrote:

      My daughter and i were just talking about doing this yesterday! We will try it tonight! Thanks.

      Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    One Trackback/Pingback

    1. [...] The end result was chewy, crispy and delicious. You can find the complete recipe we used on my wife’s food blog. Try it out sometime this summer- it could be the next great Chicago tradition (though I [...]

    Post a Comment

    Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *