Jun 19, 2013 11:26 Fresh Ideas: Pizza on the grill 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. Helana Brigman| Special to Food June 19, 2013 Comments 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: Smart cooking. Always cook your pizza dough first before topping with the rest of your ingredients. When the crust begins to take a char, remove it from the grill, flip the dough and start loading up the cooked side with your favorite toppings and sauces. The results yield a perfectly cooked crust every time. Homemade dough. Use the dough instructions with the Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe for an effortless homemade pizza dough or buy pre-made dough balls from the store for just a few bucks. (Whole Foods sells a great one in the bakery section.) However, don’t be tempted by those middle-of-the aisle prerolled creations that have been vacuum-sealed. 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. Creative cooking. For this Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza, I’ve swapped regular tomato sauce for a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce made by Stubb’s and saved a lot of time using a store-bought rotisserie chicken, freshwater mozzarella and caramelized onions. 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. Grease those grates. When grilling, be sure to grease the grates beforehand and have a fire that’s hot, but no more than medium-high. Use a paper towel dipped in olive oil and run it quickly over the grates with grilling tongs. Blackened, not burned. Typically, I use a coal-burning grill and a product called Flare Down to keep the flames from scorching the bottom of the crust. 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 email@example.com.