Grilled Pizza, the technique

Hello all -  hope you all had a wonderful weekend. This week we'll continue our posts about the grilled pizza, plus a few recipes for some antipasti starters that we served at the meal. Below are Vincent's instructions for grilled pizza making...

There have been many Grilled Pizza methods and books with literally dozens of techniques. The original and most popular version was created by Joanne Killeen and George Germon, the husband and wife team behind the Providence , RI restaurant, Al Forno. Their book, Cucina Simpatica is a must have for any serious grilled pizza chef. Although you can you a cast iron stove top method at home as well as a gas grill, charcoal works best. The flavor of real NY style brick over pizza will as well as the high temperature make charcoal the best source for full flavor. When you stack the coals for your fire make sure to build a higher stack of coals to the side if the grill where you will be stretching your dough on a prep table. This makes the all challenging transfer from  stretching surface to the hottest part of the grill much easier.

Hold your hand 3-5 inches above the hot part of the fire for a count of 3 before the heat forces you to remove it. Then you know the fire is hot enough to start grilling pizza. A cold grill is not going to work. Then place a 5 oz ball of dough on a well oiled metal sheet pan and stretch it out  with your fingers, some of my friends use a roller, thats ok but make sure it doesn't stick.  Oval shaped almost football like are the easiest shape to achieve. The thickness should be about 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch and even all around. Don't make a loop around for extra crust as you would a traditional pizza, make the thickness consistent throughout.

When the pizza is about 8-10 inches long you can transfer the dough lifting it on each side with your thumb and pointer fingers and spread it across the hottest part of your grill. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes or until bubbles appear on the top almost like a pancake.

Using tongs and a spatula flip your pizza over on to the cool part of the grill. Quickly brush the top with olive oil and add toppings as fast as possible. The idea is to get each ingredient on to every part of the pie evenly. Then using the tongs slide the the pizza over to the hot side of the grill. When the cheese is melted and starts to bubble its ready. Slide it of to a wooden cutting board, garnish cut and serve right away. The ideal crust is chewy in the center and crunchy at the same time. Practice makes perfect.