Fresh Ideas: Pizza on the grill

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.

By Helana Brigman

Special to Food

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.