Celebrating With Food, or, How to Grill Pizza

We forgot the bacon-wrapped dates.

She’d come 1000 miles and brought Shauna Niequest’s book with the famed recipe. We’d made a special trip to Aldi’s just for the goat cheese for that recipe. (In our swimming clothes, fresh off of cliff jumping and still giddy that we get to have this much fun as adults.)

I’d never bought goat cheese because I had enough experience with poorly refrigerated goat milk in my teens to be highly sensitive to the least hint of goaty flavor in a product, and besides, I wouldn’t know what to do with that little log of odd-smelling, creamy stuff.

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{ready to hike to the cliff jumping spot}

Kristina did, though—we were grilling pizza that night (it’s tradition, when she comes, to grill our Friday night pizza) and she proposed some gourmet topping ideas. We sautéed bacon, sliced some peaches, and dabbed little chunks of the goat cheese over marinara sauce and mozzarella and handed off the mound of cheesy dough to Jeremy, begging him not to burn our creation.

He didn’t, returning it instead with perfect, criss-cross grill lines on bottom, and the goat cheese melted and puddling on top—white gems among the creamy mozzarella. We carefully sliced our creation in half (because friends share) and waited impatiently for it to cool.

topping grilled pizza

That first bite blew my mind. After the initial thought “this tastes like goat”, was the reaction, “Yes, but it’s good!” It was the perfect combination of flavors—and especially textures—the crunch of the bacon, juiciness of the peach, and the two cheeses marrying it all together.

After that we decided that from now on we would use grilled pizza night to experiment with gourmet and exotic flavor combinations. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new because grilled pizzas are small by necessity, and if you don’t like the flavors you try, it is not a waste of a huge pizza, just one small crust.

grilled glory

But we forgot to make the Bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed dates. I also forgot to make the Baked French Onion Soup Dip I’d been planning for weeks to make her. We ate platefuls of tasty food while she was here—15 meals (including not one but two stops at Chick-fil-a) we had stopped our activities to build a meal, and gathered all around the table and poured glasses of raw milk, or kombucha, or wine, depending on our mood and the time of day, and celebrated our time together with food. Chicken Tenders with Caesar Salad*, Grass Fed Steak with Baked Potatoes and Creamed Spinach, Blueberry Oven French Toast, Homemade Tortillas and Fresh Guacamole (twice!), and Biscuits and Sausage Gravy with Spinach Salad and Berry Vinaigrette* on the side. Chocolate Cake with Homemade Vanilla Icecream—so much good food.

But I never made any hors devours. I think it is because that would take stopping a little sooner in the afternoon, to have that much more prep time to get a little something made and finished before the rest of dinner is made anddone. I have learned the habit of halting my activities by 11:30 to get leftovers on for lunch, and by 4 or 5pm to get dinner on at a reasonable hour, but hors devours must be the next level of forethought. I’m not there yet.

That’s ok, I’ve got plenty of time to practice.

She’s promised to come back.

How to Grill Pizza

How to Grill Pizza

Make the dough. Amazing, soaked, whole wheat pizza dough recipe available in my book, Real {Fast} Food. Quicky, unsoaked recipe here. Make sure the dough gets a nice, poofy rise in before dinnertime.

Prepare toppings. Basic toppings around here are tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. After that it gets very individual. Jeremy likes pepperoni and sautéed garlic and onions, I love that plus mushrooms. The kids love pineapple. Bacon, pesto, green peppers, fresh fruit, berries, broccoli, even nuts would be cool. Different cheeses to mix are awesome—feta, parmesan, and goat cheese are what we’ve tried so far.

Heat the grill. Jeremy says you want it hot—400-500 degrees.

Shape the Dough: Spread a large cookie sheet or serving tray generously with an oil or fat that doesn’t mind high heat (lard, tallow, butter, palm shortening—I usually use coconut oil. Get the skinny on good fats in chapter 3 of this book). Grab a tennis-ball sized chunk of dough and roll it around in the oil so it doesn’t stick to your hands or the pan, then flatten it with your palms till it’s ½ in. thick, and 8 or 10 inches across. You don’t want it too thin, or it may tear as you transfer it to the grill. Too thick and you’ll have trouble cooking it through. Be prepared that this may take a bit of experimenting. But pizza is one of those things that good even if it’s not perfect, so don’t freak out. 

First Grilling: When dough is flattened, transfer it to the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bottom side starts to brown. Don’t flip it yet!

grilled pizza crusts

this is what the crust should look like after its first grilling

Toppings: When the bottom is golden brown, transfer the dough disc back to the cookie sheet, flipping so the grilled side is up, and the doughy side is down. Now you add your toppings to the grilled side—sauce, cheese, etc.

applying toppings

Second Grilling: Lift the pizza back to the grill to finish baking what is now the bottom of the crust and to melt the cheese. Cook 3-4 more minutes, and when the bottom is golden brown and the cheeses are pooling, you know you’re done. Transfer to a plate and wait for it to cool or you will lose the roof of your mouth.

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Repeat as necessary till everyone has their own, individual mound of glory on their plate and dig in. We usually have 2-3 grilling at a time and it’s a wonderful flurry of flipping crusts around and throwing toppings on for 20 minutes, then we all sit down, catch our breath, and dig in.

It’s a wonderful way to celebrate a friendship.

*recipes in my new book, Your Real Food Journey. Get it here. 

2 responses to “Celebrating With Food, or, How to Grill Pizza”

  1. Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake Avatar

    Thanks for the link love! 🙂 I’m so excited for you about this new book and I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Debi @ DebiStangeland.com Avatar

    That pizza sounds really good. I am a fan of marinara, thin sliced potato, Kalamata olives, basil and a nice mild sheep cheese. That’s my pizza night go-to. Looks like you had a lot of fun. Good friends make food better, I say.

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