Barbecue Pizza

Posted on September 29, 2014

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Barbecue Pizza on things{we}make

Was yesterday a dream?

That sunshine! The heat! I was sweating my…Autumn clothes off.

Now it’s dull and rainy and Monday.

It feels like we made the most of the one day Indian Summer though. Ed was up and out early, walking Ernie in the woods, then back to paint our gradually disintegrating veranda. I cleared the vegetable beds and emptied the compost heap onto them. Eventually, when George dragged himself out of his onesie and away from the X Box he came out into the garden too; he turned his homemade rope-ladder into a swing using an old drawer front and my Dad’s old brace and bit.

A proper Autumny Sunday of leaf raking and general tidying up.

It was such a nice day that we decided to chance one last barbecue. We’ve been thinking about buying an outdoor oven. Some might expect us to build our own, but there are just too many other jobs on the list for it ever to get done, so when we saw that we could buy one for the same price as a new radiator for the dining room we started to wonder if cooking roasts and pizzas in the garden might be a bit more fun than owning another cast iron radiator.

In the meantime, while we throughly considered our purchase – we’re not ones for making rash decisions – we wondered if we could bake pizzas on the barbecue. Bonus: our ‘pizza stone’ (an old tile from a baker’s oven) just fits the kettle barbecue so we thought we’d have a go. So whilst Ed finished turning the compost heap I made a pizza dough, a simple tomato sauce then rescued a few frozen ‘massive meatballs‘ to scatter on the top. Ever the pessimist I considered switching the oven on too, in case our experiment went wrong.

Ed set the barbecue going then sat the pizza stone over the grill and closed the lid to let everything get up to heat.

We had to stretch the dough out long and thin to fit on the rectangular stone. We added sauce, cheese, meatballs and herbs then quickly slid the pizza onto the stone trying not to lose any heat. With the lid back on it was a nervous wait to see if it did nothing, or burned to a black crisp. Then, through the air holes we could smell dough rising and cheese bubbling. A good sign.

After 4 minutes, we took it out. It was bloody perfect! A crispy bottom and hot bubbling topping. Not quite hot enough to give that char that you’d get in a wood-fired oven, but still with a good stone-baked flavour.

A production line began: rolling, stretching, topping, and barbecuing with George timing each one with his phone.

George reckoned that they tasted like Pizza Express pizzas. Not a bad review from a 12 year old.

When we’d eaten enough pizza we twisted the last lump of dough into bread sticks; barbecued and dunked in hot Nutella – amazing. Almost worth having a barbecue just for that to be honest. We stayed out until the sun went down and the solar lights flicked on.

Maybe we don’t need that outdoor oven after all.

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Things{we]make Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 450g Strong White Flour
  • A little boiling water and some cold water
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Polenta (I use quick cook for this)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 7g sachet of easybake yeast
  • Semolina flour for rolling out – or plain flour will do.

I find this dough is easier made with my Kenwood and a dough hook than by hand.

Put the tablespoon of polenta in a jug and pour over half a cup of boiling water and stir.

Weigh the flour into your food mixer. Pour in a 7g sachet of dry yeast and the teaspoon of salt and mix through well.

Top the jug up with cold water and the spoonful of olive oil. You will need about 350-400ml but it’s difficult to be exact.

Pour most of the liquid into the flour and yeast and let the mixer do its thing. If after a couple of minutes it’s not come together into a doughy ball you can add more water. All flours are different so sometimes you need to be ‘flexible’ with quantities. Don’t be afraid of a wet dough, it will make the bread rise better and it will firm up as it proves.

Allow the dough to mix for a good 8-10 minutes. I then put a plate or cling film on top of the mixer bowl to keep it warm and moist and let it rise until it has doubled in size.

Knock it back down and let it puff up again if you have time, dusting with flour if it’s sticky. I sometimes do this twice before baking.

Use balls of dough, a bit smaller than a tennis ball for each pizza, rolling and shaping using plenty of semolina flour.

Top and bake in an oven until cooked…or in your barbecue for 4 minutes.