Fresh Ideas: Pizza on the grill

By Helana Brigman

Special to Food

Photo by HELANA BRIGMAN -- Great pizza can be made on the grill. Try Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza, which takes advantage of store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Photo by HELANA BRIGMAN -- Great pizza can be made on the grill. Try Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza, which takes advantage of store-bought rotisserie chicken.

One of the things I’ve come to love about living in south Louisiana is how early summer starts and the endless opportunities to cook outside.

When I was growing up in the Northeast, grills would sit covered and dusty until about mid-June, sometimes speckled with frost during the first weeks of May. But, not in Louisiana.

By April, my grill gets a good cleaning, the grates are scrubbed and the outdoor cooking utensils organized, prominently placed by the kitchen door, reminding me about the other options Louisiana cooking permits.

As much as I love to make good use of my gas stove, I take my dinner outside and onto the grill, seeing what happens with a simple vegetable or homemade bread over flaming charcoal briquettes. (Yes, even bread can be transformed on the grill.)

Here’s the truth: Great pizza starts at home.

And, great pizza can attain even higher status with the smoke from a grill and smart, quick cooking tips that make any night a pizza party right at home. Here are some tips:

For this recipe, fresh is best, and you’ll be grateful you took a few extra minutes to roll out the dough whether you made it or bought it fresh.

Since no pizza is finished without a few crunchy garnishes (green onions, for example), I’ve suggested a few extras that add flavor and creativity to any homemade pie. Try a combination of green onions with blue cheese and basil for a gourmet-style pizza right off the grill.

Gas grills run less of a risk for burning, but in my experience with coal grilling, the crust simply blackens and will not burn unless directly exposed to a flame the entire time. So, watch your grill.

This May, take advantage of south Louisiana’s extra-long spring by moving dinner outside with this easy Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at hbrigm1@tigers.lsu.edu.