Grilling: Pizza 8 Ways

By: Liz Gray

Grilling pizza should be a summer rite of passage for any food lover, but until last week, I'd managed to miss out. Maybe it was nerves. Maybe it was laziness. Once I tried it, though, I'm wondering why it took me so long. My pizza was not engulfed in flames, and it wasn't stuck to the grill. It was, however, crisp, charred and delicious.

Don't be like me -- just do it! Here's how, and 8 reasons to try it before summer's end.

Grilling pizza seems like a lot of trouble (or at least, it used to) but it's really pretty simple: roll the crust ( homemade or store-bought), grill one side, flip it and add the toppings. Here's a step-by-step tutorial, and some keys to success:

Clean the grill. Bits of last night's dinner are not good eats on the bottom of tonight's pizza.

Oil the crust. Brush olive oil over the rolled-out crust before you slap onto the grill.

Get the toppings ready. Once the crust is on the grill, it happens fast! Have the toppings ready, by the grill.

Like any pizza, topping choices are endless. I topped mine with roasted potatoes, caramelized fennel and onions, walnuts, parsley and mozzarella cheese, but here are 8 more inventive pizzas I can't wait to sink my teeth into:

1. Eggplant and Olive from Smitten Kitchen. Olives add a briny, satisfying salt-factor, plus if you cook the eggplant on the grill, you won't heat up the kitchen. Double win!

2. Bobby Flay's Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage and Ricotta. Instead of traditional mozzarella, Bobby opts for oregano-flavored ricotta. Dollop it on top of grilled sausage and peppers after you take the pizza off the grill.

3. Fennel and Olive Pizza From 101 Cookbooks. Take a cue from Heidi and keep it simple. She tops her overnight crust with a fennel-olive mixture.

4. Aida Mollenkamp's Zucchini-and-Herb Pizza. Take a break from zucchini bread and top your pizza with your bounty instead. Aida also piles on fresh herbs -- she uses basil, but mint, rosemary or oregano would also be tasty.

5. Bacon-Rosemary Pizza From Framed. There's bacon. There's cheese. There's rosemary. And a grilled crust. Do I really need to say more?!

6. BBQ Chicken and Corn. Todd and Diane from White on Rice Couple top their pizza with grilled chicken, BBQ sauce and fresh, just-shucked corn.

7. Nectarine Goat Cheese Pizza From Wild Yeast. Good for the main event or for dessert, I love the idea of pairing sweet, in-season nectarines with goat cheese and melting it all on the grill.

8. Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza from Bell'alimento. Because no one should have to live without grilled pizza, here's a special gluten-free version of the classic margherita pizza, with all the fresh flavor of the original.

How do you top your grilled pizza?
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