A Grilled Pizza Party

May  3, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I've always wanted to have a wood-fired pizza oven in my back yard, but failing that, a charcoal grill works wonders.. One of the most fun birthday parties I've ever thrown for myself was the year I invited a bunch of friends, whipped up a pile of pizza dough, laid out a giant assortment of toppings, and set everybody to grilling their own. It was delightfully messy and everybody got to create their own memorable masterpiece. —Abra Bennett

What You'll Need
  • For the pizza dough
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 packets yeast
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups bread flour, or use all-purpose flour
  • additional flour as necessary for kneading
  • additional olive oil for the bowl
  • For the toppings (my suggestions, you can add and subtract as you like)
  • 6 cups pizza sauce, homemade or purchased
  • 2 cups pesto, homemade or purchased
  • 2 cups ricotta, homemade or purchased
  • 2 cups roasted garlic cloves, homemade or purchased
  • 2 cups sliced sautéed onions
  • 2 cups sliced sautéed mushrooms
  • 2 cups diced sautéed green peppers
  • 2 cups pitted black olives
  • 2 cups browned Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 2 cups sliced pepperoni
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • small bowls of crushed red pepper, fennel seed, and dried oregano
  • anything else your heart desires
  1. It's much easier to use a mixer to make this large quantity of dough, but of course you can also make it by hand as people have done for centuries. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or large bowl) combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it stand until it's foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the oil, then the whole wheat flour and the salt. When those are mixed in, begin adding the white flour, one cup at a time. Mix the dough until it comes together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean. The dough should still be a little bit sticky. If necessary, add a little more flour, but be sure the dough remains elastic.
  2. Using olive oil, lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in it and turn it over so that the whole dough ball is coated with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it stand in warm draft-free area until the dough doubles, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
  3. After the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down and knead it lightly in the bowl for a minute or two. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (it helps to use a kitchen scale for this so that everyone gets the same amount of crust to work with).
  4. Light a charcoal grill, using wood chunks if at all possible, high-quality briquets otherwise. Let the fire die down to a super-hot glow with no active flames.
  5. Now, depending on your guests, you can either pre-cook the dough rounds just before they arrive, or let each person work with her own dough. In either case, this is what you need to do. Roll or pat out each piece on a lightly floured surface to a 9" round.
  6. Pre-cook the crusts like this: place each crust on the hot grill and cook just until the underside is crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the crust and grill for another minute. The dough should not be burnt, but it will not be cooked all the way through either.
  7. Now you're ready to top the pizza. I suggest covering the whole dining table (or other very large work surface) in aluminum foil to facilitate cleanup. Place all of the toppings in the center of the table and give each person one of the pre-cooked crusts. Instruct them to place the toppings on the well-cooked side of the crust, because the lightly cooked side will get more cooking once the toppings are in place.
  8. Using baking sheets to ferry the topped crusts to the grill, let each person grill her own masterpiece. It's best to do this with the cover on the grill, to help melt the cheese and bring the toppings together. Depending on your fire, this last step should take 3-4 minutes per pizza. This means that everyone won't sit down to eat at the same moment, but both those eating and those grilling will be happily occupied, and every pizza will be crafted to the diner's exact specifications. People LOVE to do this, and it's amazing how many people have never made their own pizza before.
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  • Abra Bennett
    Abra Bennett
  • aargersi
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7 Reviews

monica's S. July 20, 2010
awesome idea for a party...for kids and adults a like!! can't wait to try this idea this summer, hopefully it will stop raining here in the UK :(


lapadia May 5, 2010
Ahhh…grilled pizza parties, the only way to go!
coffeefoodwrite May 5, 2010
Okay, I am cordially inviting everyone to my house in Los Angeles for a pizza party -- bring your own toppings and/or I will provide. Let me know if you are interested... :-)
Abra B. May 4, 2010
I can't claim the pre-cooking idea - I read about it somewhere eons ago and have done it that way ever since. And I love the idea of a toppings potluck - that would make it even more fun!
aargersi May 4, 2010
These parties are the most fun - I will try it on the grill and do the crust as you suggest next time!!! I also like to encourage folks to bring toppings that they want or want to see other people try :-)
What a great idea. As our grandchildren are getting a little older, I'm thinking in the next year this would make a great dinner idea that everyone would be happy with!
coffeefoodwrite May 3, 2010
What a lovely birthday. We do the same thing (using both the outside and inside method) and the parties are so much fun! And so fun to create and see what is created...I love your idea of pre-cooking the crust -- I'm definitely going to try that next time -- great to cut down on some of that waiting time.=)