I first learned about pizza grilled directly on the BBQ during one of those marathon Food TV watching sessions I had when I pregnant with Cole. I can’t remember if it was Bobby Flay or Top Chef Masters (or maybe both) but I always wanted to try it. It’s the closest thing you can get to wood smoked pizza without investing in a clay fire pit for your home, and despite the fact that you’re flinging wads of fresh dough at your roaring BBQ, it’s actually kind of fool-proof. I couldn’t get the pizza dough to make anything like a circle as I prepared it for the grill, but no matter what shape you toss on there, it comes out looking good. Rustic, even. Amazingly it doesn’t stick either. Just plop the dough on, let it cook, flip it with a fork, apply your toppings, let the cheese melt a bit, and you’re done.
You can do this with any kind of pizza, obviously, but I went a bit crazy and marinated shrimp in tequila and lime, made a batch of homemade cilantro pesto (delicious, make a double batch, you’ll want more) and threw on grill-roasted red peppers and fresh mango, because that’s what I had in my kitchen. The mango was actually a happy accident, it really pulled everything together. The only thing I would do differently next time is to use larger shrimp. Even with just 15 minutes marinating, the tequila and lime cooks the shrimp so you can’t grill it for long. This would be even better with just a few large prawns, if you can get them. That being said, the shrimp were still great.
This is one of those dishes that everyone is like: “You are a genius,” as you’re pulling personal pizzas off your grill for them. The dough is a little smoky, it has that hand-crafted feel, and it tastes really good.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make the pizza dough.
3 1/2 bread flour (crispy) or all-purpose flour (more chewy) (plus another 1/2 cup or so if needed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 envelope instant dry yeast (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons if you’re measuring it out)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
3 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt in your mixer.
With the mixer on a slow speed, add the water bit by bit, scraping down the sides as you go. Continue with the olive oil one tablespoon at a time. It should look something like this:
(If it’s too wet, add some more flour as needed). Then put a little oil on your hands and pull the entire ball of dough out and round it as best you can, then leave it in plate with a clean kitchen towel over the top of it for one hour.
Next up, make the cilantro pesto. If you have a food processor, great. I used a blender and just proceeded carefully to pulse blend for a few seconds, then scrap down the sides and keep stirring it around so everything gets hit.
2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (In Mexico that was two bunches of cilantro)
1/4 cup walnuts (or pinenuts)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup grated cheese (I used some queso fresco I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil (feel free to add more if you’re using a blender, it helps to blend everything)
If you’re using a food processor, it’s really easy, you just toss everything in, except the olive oil, then turn it on and slowly add the oil until it’s done. For me, with my blender, I first chopped the walnuts:
I pulled the cilantro leaves and put those aside:
I chopped the cheese:
Then I added things to the blender: walnuts first (blend a bit), garlic, cheese, pepper, salt (blend some more), then finally the cilantro (added last so it didn’t get over blended). Then I slowly added the olive oil as I blended and scraped down the sides. Worked surprisingly well:
Next up: start your grill. You’ll want to time it so that it’s not super hot when you’re cooking the pizza as it’ll cook it too fast.
Then: prep the tequila shrimp.
20 medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon chili lime powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For some reason the limes had so little juice I had to mangle a million to get enough lime juice:
You basically just stick everything into a bowl except the shrimp:
Then when your marinade is ready and the grill is heating up, throw the shrimp in the marinade for 15 minutes before grilling.
So the grill is on, the pesto is done, the shrimps are marinating, it’s been about an hour since you finished the dough, so you go back to your dough and get it ready for the grill. Just cut it up into 5-8 balls, depending on how big you want each pizza and put them on a plate with the kitchen towel over them. They’ll be ready for the grill when you are.
Toss some red peppers on the grill. I like to cut them just on one side and throw them in like that, but it’s up to you:
Peek at your marinaded shrimp. Looks good:
Skewer them and put them on the grill for few minutes:
Next up the mango:
Chop one mango into cubes:
Prepare some cheese for the topping. I used Oaxaca cheese, which is like mozzarella, but it’s what we use in Mexico for quesadillas.
Okay so you’re ready to cook these guys! It’s really easy, just gather all your ingredients (you’ll want to take the red peppers off the grill now and slice them up and remove the skewers from the shrimp), and take each ball of dough and stretch it out to about 4-5 inches across and gently place it on the grill. Do 2-3 pizzas at a time, because more than that you’ll be too slow getting the ingredients on while it’s cooking.
After about 3 minutes, that dough is done! Watch your grill temperature because some spots are hotter than others, and it will all depend on how hot your grill is running.
When they are done on one side, flip them, then quickly add the pesto. Then add the shrimp, mango, red peppers. Then top with cheese. Close the cover of the grill and let them cook for about 3-5 more minutes.
You can see the various stages below. The dough cooking on the right and the half finished pizza still trying to melt the cheese on the left. In the back is an almost finished one.
When you pull them out they look something like this:
And everyone says, “ooh!”
And it’s really, really good.
This makes me happy. Really I think I could just eat the cilantro pesto, roasted red peppers and mangos all day.