Grilling Mat Makes for Perfect Grilled “BBQ” Pizza!
By Kent Whitaker
I’m often asked for tips on grilling unusual items not normally associated with “grills” during chef demos and book signing events. One of the topics that people are curious about is how they can grill pizza! People stress out about grilling a pizza crust. Good news – it’s easy! It just requires that you think of your grill as either being a Kitchen oven – or a wood fired pizza oven.
Grill as an Oven!
For the best results, you’ll need a covered grill. Closing the lid traps heat which essentially converts your grill into an oven. You can use charcoal or gas – but use wood chips for an authentic “pizza oven” flavor. Also, use lower temps than you would to sear a steak. You’re looking to bake a crust, melt cheese, and reheat pre-cooked toppings.
Why pre-cooked toppings? You don’t want raw chicken or pork cooking on your pizza crust making it soggy from drippings. And, do you want to risk under cooking a raw topping risking food poisoning? Grilled pizzas are perfect for using leftovers such as smoked chicken, turkey, pork, Cajun shrimp, and even grilled steaks.
Grilling Monster Kitchen Grill Mats – Perfect Crusts!
There’s three ways to do a pizza crust on the grill. You can use your favorite made from scratch crust recipe or a raw dough from a store. Secondly, you can use a pre-made and pre-cooked crust from your grocery store. And lastly, you can use other things as crusts such as French bread, flat breads, and more.
The great news is that a non-stick grilling mat, such as the Monster Kitchen mat, is perfect for all the above crust options. A homemade, or unbaked store dough crust, is ideally suited for grilled pizza. No drooping crust between the grates. Pre-baked crusts and assorted bread options won’t stick to the grates as well or a cookie sheet.
Plus, grilling mats allow for easy movement! You can rotate your pizza, move it from one side of the grill to another, all to ensure even cooking. Another great reason for using a grilling mat is that the bottom of your crust won’t pick up residue from previously grilled items that remain on your grilling grates.
Here’s a version of the Grilled Pizza recipe that I used in my new book – Great American Grilling. It uses pre-cooked (left over items) which speeds things up and add bonus flavor instead of just sliced pepperoni and boring cheese. You can make two pizzas, or several smaller pizzas. It may depend on the size of your grill. Hope you enjoy it!
Kent’s Grilled “BBQ” Pizza
2 pizza crusts – your choice
2 cups barbecue – I most often use hickory smoked pulled pork
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup pizza sauce
Chopped green pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded pepper jack cheese
First, preheat your grill. Place your Monster Kitchen mat on baking/cookie sheet and then add the crust. Coat each crust with a mixture of your favorite pizza sauce and the barbecue sauce. Next, layer the pizza with your toppings including the pulled pork – or your choice of smoked chicken, turkey, steak etc. Work in with the cheese and end with cheese on top.
Gently slide the mats off the baking sheets onto the grill. Prepping on the baking sheet allows you to work on your crusts and building your pizzas without working over hot charcoal! Cook on a covered grill for about 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted with golden edges. Slide the Monster Kitchen mat mats back onto the baking sheets if you need to move them prior to slicing.
Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Kent’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. His newest title is Great American Grilling. Kent lives in Tennessee with his wife, Army strong son, and their grill happy pups. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com or twitter @thekentwhitaker .