Grilling a pizza is one of those things that I’ve always planned to get around to.. in the future. Maybe it was the tinge of weirdness, or additional steps required after making a pizza by hand, but I’ve always decided to do it a different day, or a different occasion. Procrastination aside, I finally started trying to grill pizzas over the last few weeks, and it’s been a revelation. Not of divine proportions, but probably about as close as you could get from a pizza lover. The fantastic thing about cooking pizza on the grill is you can get the pizza to a much higher temperature than a conventional oven. You also get a smokey, barbecuy taste that can’t be matched.

General Tips (recipes follow)

 

1) Have patience

 

Grilling is always an imperfect science at the best of times. Getting the condition right for your particular grill or barbecue takes time. We had a few disasters here, quite a few.. 2 totally burnt pizzas, a dropped pizza (that one almost ended in tears), and a few that still tasted good but I knew could be better. So don’t despair, it’s worth the persistence, well worth it!

 

 2) Thin on the base, thin on the toppings

 

Because the pizza cooks so fast, and the heat can be very very hot, we’ve found you get more consistent results with a thin base and thin toppings. Feel free to experiment.

 

 3)  Even heat distribution

 

Using a gas grill:  Make sure your burners are in tip top shape, and not producing any hotspots Using a charcoal bbq: Keep your coals even across the span of the pizza stone.

 

4) Use a pizza stone if you can

 

There are two schools of thought with grilling pizzas. One is to cook your pizza straight on the grid with an indirect heat source. The other is to use a pizza stone.  Using a pizza stone tended to even out the heat a lot better, reduced the risk of burning the pizza, and of course you can compile the pizza in the kitchen rather than on the grill itself.

Recommended recipes

 

The pizza dough

 

This recipe is great on the grill. It makes 2-3 pizzas depending on the size of your pizza and how much pizza dough is stolen. I tend to split the pizza dough in thirds, use one, and wrap the other two separately with lots of plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

 

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)

1 envelope instant yeast

1 1/4 cups water; at room temperature

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

22 ounces bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

 

 

1. Sprinkle yeast onto the warm water for about 5 minutes. Then add the room temperature water and olive oil.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse the food processor while adding the liquid ingredients from step 1. Process until dough comes together, and is smooth and stretchy.

3. Dump out onto a floured work surface. Kneed briefly to form a ball.

4. Put the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place, 1/2 to 2 hours.

 

BBQ pizza sauce

 

This sauce is exceptionally simple, and works best with fresh tomatoes, but you could use canned.

 

1 lb tomatoes

1 Tbsp Olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Salt to taste

1/4 cup good bbq sauce, such as Grumpy’s Goodnight Lovin’

 

1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the Olive oil and garlic for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it.

2. Add in the tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes melt down and thicken, about 20 minutes

 

 

The toppings

 

4 oz Mozzarella, shreaded or cut half inch thick

8 oz Pepperoni, peeled and thinly sliced

 

That’s it. You could do whatever you want for a topping and sauce, but remember, be spartan: less is more, especially on the grill.

 

 

Grilling the Pizza

 

1. You want an even heat distribution over your grill. If you’re using gas, turn on all burners, if charcoal, spread coals evenly across the bbq. Put the stone in when the grill is still cold, and close the lid for it to preheat (about 20 minutes depending on your grill).

2. Sprinkle semolina or cornmeal onto a pizza peel, then place your pizza dough onto the peel. If you don’t have one, you might need to improvise a little.

3. Add the sauce, and toppings.

4. Take the pizza peel over to the grill and slide the pizza onto the pizza stone.

5. Cooking times vary greatly but you want to take the pizza off when the crust starts browning in spots, about 5-10 minutes. Be sure not to leave it unattended as it can go from delicious looking to a burnt mess in minutes (from experience).

May 2nd, 2012

Posted In: BBQing HowTos, Recipes

Last week, while searching for inspiration on what to write about, I came across a half used bottle of Grumpy’s BBQ Sauce in my fridge. A packet of spaghetti noodles waved at me from the pantry. Hmm. Deep smoky spiciness mixed with tomatoes, garlic, and onions? Sounded delicious to me. There was some ground beef in the fridge as well, the perfect excuse to try something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile. Smoking some meatballs.

 

My wife wasn’t impressed with the idea of BBQ and spaghetti, but I’m happy to say that after tasting the dish she admitted complete defeat.

 

Spaghetti with Smoked Meatballs and BBQ Sauce

Meatballs:

2 slices of bread, torn into small pieces. Any type will do, I used multigrain with seeds, which gave a bite to the meatballs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 pound ground beef, or other meat
1/3 cup grated cheese. The stronger the better, I used cheddar
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon garlic powder. I would have used a fresh clove minced, but I was out.
2/3 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon salt Black pepper, good pinch, or ideally, freshly ground  

BBQ Tomato Sauce:

2 Tablespoon Oliver Oil
1 Large onion, diced. Feel free to add more, they only improve the sauce.
1 teaspoon garlic powder. Again, if you have a close use that, minced.
1/3 Cup bbq sauce. I used Grumpy’s bold bbq sauce 1 can of tomatoes  

The Rest:

1 pound spaghetti noodles. I used extra thick tubular noodles.
Salt
Freshly grated cheese, for serving

Step 1: Starting the BBQ or Gas Grill

I used a Weber with charcoal and wood chips to smoke these meatballs.

If you don’t have a charcoal bbq them you can use your gas grill to smoke with this method:

Put about a cup of wood chips, soaked for 30 mins, onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold the foil around the chips so they are enclosed in a pouch. Now turn the packet over and poke around 10 or more holes into the foil, so the smoke can escape. This can be put under the grate, just on top of the burner shield, holes facing up.

Whatever you use, you will need to:

1. Soak the woodchips for 30 mins

2. Preheat the grill or start the charcoal The meatballs should be cooked with indirect heat, so if you are using charcoal make sure they are moved to the side of the bbq. On a gas grill, you can preheat it with all the burners so it heats up faster, but before putting the meat on be sure to turn off the burner that will be under them.

Step 2: Preparing the Meatballs

1. Mix the bread and buttermilk together in a bowl and let the bread absorb the liquid for around 10 minutes, giving it a stir occasionally. You want it to become paste-like.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground meat, cheese, parsley, egg, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and bread-buttermilk mixture. Make sure to mix this very thoroughly.

3. Now it’s time to make the meatballs! You want them around 1  1/2 inches around, and make sure to be gentle when shaping the them. They shouldn’t be squeezed until they’re very firm. There should be about 14 meatballs when you finish.

Step 3: Smoking the Meatballs

1. Your grill should be hot now and the wood chips should have been soaking for at least 30 minutes.

2. Put the wood chips in the BBQ or Grill

3. Put the meatballs on the grate or grid, be sure they are not over direct heat. I had trouble with them slipping through on my Weber, so I put them on a cast iron pan and put that pan on the BBQ. You could also use aluminum foil if you have the same trouble.

4. Put the lid on and cook until an instant read thermometer  160 degrees F .

             

Step 4: Preparing Sauce and Noodles

While the meatballs are cooking, you can get the sauce started.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a tablespoon of salt. When this is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain.

2.  Pour the oil into a pan, heat up, then add the onions. To speed up the cooking, sprinkle them with a generous pinch of salt. This will help them release their juices faster and allow them to soften and begin caramelizing. How long to cook the onions is up to you. Anywhere from just soft, to fully caramelized. In my opinion, the more caramelized they get the better the sauce is. Just don’t let them burn. Keep a glass of water by the pan in case they start sticking. This way can pour a little  water in and they will come off the bottom, without the sticky residue burning.

3. Once the onions are cooked as you like, add the garlic (if you’re using fresh garlic, let it cook for 30 seconds before adding the other ingredients),  bbq sauce, and tomatoes. Cook this until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes have melded in. Around 20 mins, but it depends on the temperature you’ve cooked it at. If it thickens too much you can thin it with some water, more tomatoes, bbq sauce, etc.

4. Salt and Pepper to taste. Don’t forget, it’s very important!

To Serve

Put some noodles in a bowl and top with the sauce. Top the sauce with some meatballs, and sprinkle the entire thing with the grated cheese.

March 6th, 2012

Posted In: Recipes

 

Tried a delicious new marinade concoction yesterday. It would work well on any tougher grilling cut, such as rump or steak tips. Using a soy sauce base acts a little like brining; helps keep meat moist by increasing its ability to hold onto water while cooking.

 

Make more than you think you’ll need; it’s so good people won’t want to eat anything else.

 

2 lbs of Rump Steak

 

Marinade ingredients:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder (I made my own, recipe below)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste

 

Lemon wedges for serving

 

1. Trim any fat and gristle from the meat and cut into 1 x 2 inch strips.
2. Mix together the marinade ingredients and combine with the steak in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for ideally 1 hour, not more than 2 (or it could get too salty)
3. 15 mins before you’re ready to grill, preheat all of the grill burners on high with the lid closed.
4. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. It will smell fantastic.
5. Leave half the grill on high, but turn the other have to low.
6. Sear the meat on all sides on the hottest side of the grill. If the meat is thick you can move it to the cooler side to finish cooking to your desired doneness. Be careful, because the meat is cut up it cooks faster than normal.
7. Serve with lemon wedges

 

 

 

Chili Powder Recipe:

 

I kept this chili powder intentionally mild since there were a lot of young kids eating the steak. Ancho chilies run more sweet than hot.

 

3 dried ancho chilis
1 dried chipolte chili
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1. Slice the chills and cook them in a dry frying pan for a couple minutes, be careful not to burn them.
2. In a mini food processor or grinder chop the chills into a powder, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.

January 23rd, 2012

Posted In: Marinades, Meat Poultry & Fish, Recipes

Ingredients

The Meat:

  • 2 large racks of pork ribs

The Marinade:

  • 1 generous cup of rum
  • 2 cans coca cola
  • 10 oz tomato ketchup
  • 1-2 Squirts of tabasco Sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbls hoisin sauce (find this at your local asian supermarket)

Directions

1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then place the ribs in a plastic or glass dish and cover with the marinade.

2. Refrigerate overnight.

3. Set up your BBQ for indirect cooking. You are looking for a medium-low heat here, so be careful not to overcook it.

Tip:
If you are using a charcoal grill, it is recommended to leave at least half of the fire bed free of coals.
If using a gas grill with a lid, turn for example your left burner on and cook towards the right hand side.

4. Place the ribs in a heavy roasting pan and place on the cool part of the grill.

5. Close the lid, and cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Baste the ribs every 20 minutes with your marinade.

6. Add more coals to the fire or turn up the burner so the grill is medium hot.

7. Remove the ribs from the pan and place directly on the grill grate.

8. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until caramelized and lightly charred.

9. While the ribs are cooking, place some of the marinade in a saucepan on the grill, bring to a boil and reduce by half to serve as sauce with the ribs.

10. Enjoy, with your favorite beverage!

December 6th, 2011

Posted In: Marinades, Meat Poultry & Fish, Recipes

 

 

This recipe is not a breaded lemon chicken recipe that you might expect from your local chinese restaurant. It is a fantastic zesty marinade. Low calorie too, if you’re into that type of thing. The calories come from only the chicken breast itself and the olive oil to marinade it in.

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, preferably light olive oil as it has the highest smoke point, avoid extra virgin which has the lowest smoke point.
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a bowl. Set aside about 1/3 cup of the marinade that you will use to baste the chicken while it cooks. Add chicken to the bowl, and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Start up your BBQ, and preheat on high until it is nice and roasty. Discard marinade, and place chicken breasts directly on the grill. Cook for 6 or 7 minutes on each side, until fully cooked. Baste occasionally with the marinade you reserved. The internal temperature should be about 165 degrees or the juices run clear. Chicken breast can easily dry out, so be careful not to leave it on too long. Enjoy!

October 31st, 2011

Posted In: BBQ Maintenance

This recipe is spicy and delectable. Catfish is the perfect choice because of it’s firmness and general all round good taste. Make sure to get the freshest fish you can, to avoid that “fishy” smell that some people find offensive. This fish recipe comes from the guys at Slap Ya Mama Spices and Seasonings, and has been a fantastic way to use their seasonings. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 Catfish Fillets
  • 1 Stick of butter (8 Tbsp.)
  • ¼ Cup White Wine
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Seasoning to Taste
  • “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Pepper Sauce to Taste

DIRECTIONS: Wash your fillets in cool water and set aside. Butter Mixture: Melt butter in a bowl and add the juice of one lemon and mix well. Dip your fillets in the butter mixture then generously “slap em’” with “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun seasoning on both sides.  Heat a black iron skillet or sauce pan until it’s very hot.  Place the fillets in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side while moving the fillets around to prevent sticking.  Remove fillets from skillet and remove the skillet from the burner.  While your skillet is still hot, pour the butter mixture and the white wine into the skillet and mix well.  Then pour the mixture over the fillets and serve. Source: Slap Ya Mama Recipes.

September 12th, 2011

Posted In: BBQ Maintenance

We know that barbecuing and meat go hand and hand, while vegetables are kind of an afterthought. Thrown somewhere in between the quest for a bloody steak and a cold beer. That guilty feeling of neglect for my body has inspired me to test out a few barbecued vegetables.

 

 

1. Grilled Avocado

While avocado can be great on almost everything, grilling up halves of avocado was something I wouldn’t have expected to be so good. The smoky taste from the grill seems to match perfectly with avocado. Who would have thunk it? Highly recommended.

When ripe, an avocado has pale yellow to gold flesh and a delicate, sweet, nutty flavor. It should be just starting to soften. About as firm as the tip of your nose, rather than soft like your cheek.

How to cook: Slice avocados in half, remove the seed and brush each side with olive oil and lime juice. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes. If you like you can fill the hole with salsa or sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

 

 

2. Asparagus

While asparagus is quite often seen on a barbecue, I think it deserves a mention, purely because of how great it is. Asparagus must be purchased locally. Asparagus starts turning starchy straight after being cut.  It should be eaten as soon as possible, preferably the day it is cut.

How to cook: Break the bottom of the asparagus off to remove the woody part. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Place perpendicular to the grill so the spears don’t fall through the grill. Cook for roughly 3 or 4 minutes over a medium high heat. They should still have a bite to them.

 

3. Garlic

Rather than mixed in marinades or fried, roasting heads of garlic whole on the barbecue is fantastic. Simply cut off the root end and roast garlic indirectly for 30-60 minutes with the lid down, until the cloves are soft. To eat, squeeze the head of garlic onto bread, food, or just about anything.

4. Onions

Roasted onions are delicious and combine well with the garlic above. When they are quartered, they take about the same amount of time to cook as the garlic heads.

June 28th, 2011

Posted In: Recipes, Vegetables

Here are four ways to prepare your barbecued food. The tips are simple, but should be considered essential to properly grilling food. Once mastered, they will improve your ability to cook barbecued meat beyond mere mortals.

 

1. Salt your food properly

It is given top-spot in this list for a reason, and probably the most important tip for any form of cooking. Meat needs a lot of salt, probably a lot more than you normally use. Probably a whole lot more. Be generous and experiment. It makes an enormous difference to barbecued meat, and enhances seasonings and the charred flavor enjoyed by any grill lover.

 

2. Use freshly ground pepper

Like any spice, preground pepper loses it’s flavor, and particularly it’s aromatic properties, very quickly. I would recommend you try preground pepper and freshly cracked pepper side by side, the difference is huge. Be generous with pepper as well, you don’t need to be subtle when you barbecue.

3. Spice Rubs

Spice rubs add lots of flavor, you can really let out your creative beast. Same deal here, use whole spices and grind them as late as possible. Food should be spiced strongly and with much gusto to balance the grilled taste.

 

4. Glazes and Sauces

Glazes and sauces are great, and the sweetness does a lot for the charred meat. Just make sure not to make the Cardinal Sin of Glazes and Sauces – putting it on too early. Because of the sugar content it is very easy to burn the glaze and you end up with a sticky burnt mess. Glazes and sauces should only be put on the meat at the end of cooking, such as the last few minutes, or when the meat is taken off.

May 30th, 2011

Posted In: BBQ Maintenance

 

Always a popular appetizer, don’t the fancy name put you off, quesadillas are just tortilla sandwiches. And as we all know, sandwiches are quick, easy, and versatile. Your choice of fillings is only limited by your imagination (and what your taste buds can handle).

The technique couldn’t be simpler: Fill the tortillas, grill for a few minutes to brown and melt the cheese, cut into wedges, and eat.

Here are three ways I like quesadillas. These combinations are delicious, but don’t hesitate to change them in any way you want. Experimenting is all part of the fun.

 

Combination 1 – Avocado, Bacon and Cheese Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup shredded cheese
2 Tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Avocados (make sure they are ripe!), sliced into thin wedges
8 Bacon slices, cooked and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons toasted cumin seeds (seeds are ideal but you can use a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin instead)
16 Fresh cilantro sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combination 2 – Smoked Meat, with Pineapple, Jalapenos, and Green Onion Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup cheese
4 Pineapple rings, thinly sliced
1/2 Pound smoked meat (duck, beef, pork, venison, chicken, etc)
2 Jalapenos, diced
1/4 Sliced green onions, green and white parts
1/4 Fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Combination 3 – Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup cheese
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 Pound cooked shrimp, diced
1/4 Cup corn
2 Tablespoons Coriander seeds (seeds are ideal, but you could use a couple of teaspoons of coriander powder instead)
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the grill to medium to low temperature.

2. Lay four tortillas on a baking sheet and put the ingredients from the combination you are using on them, in the order listed. Top each of these with another tortilla and press down, so that it all stays together (it helps if the mixture is a little wet).

3. Carry the quesadillas to the grill using the baking sheet and carefully transfer them to the grill. Cook until the bottoms are crips and the cheese is melted. Approximately 3 minutes. Then turn them over (carefully!), cover and toast the other side.

4. Cut into quarters and serve on their own or with some tasty salsa

April 18th, 2011

Posted In: Appetizers, Recipes

Four simple rules to keep fish from sticking to the grill

1. Clean

Make sure your grill is super clean. Any residue will cause the fish to stick.

2. Preheat

Preheat the grill until it is very hot before putting the fish on.

3. Coat

Coat the fish very thinly with oil before cooking.

4. Leave it

After you set the fish on the hot grill, leave it there! Don’t move it for at least a couple of minutes. This will give it time to sear and separate from the grill. When you do move it, wiggle it carefully and then roll it over.

March 25th, 2011

Posted In: BBQing HowTos, Meat Poultry & Fish

« Previous PageNext Page »