How to Grill a Pizza on Your Barbecue (With Tips From Jamie Oliver)

Americans love to grill, and they also love pizza. These are just two facts of life. Need more proof? Probably not, but we’re going to give it to you anyway. The research says that more than 95 percent of Americans say they like barbecue, and 98 percent of Americans eat pizza. So why not combine these two loves and put a pizza *on* the barbecue? We’re thrilled to announce it can be done—even Jamie Oliver has done it.

In a video uploaded to social media last year, the popular British chef walked viewers through exactly how to barbecue a pizza. He started by making his own dough (of course), and then layering it up with tomato sauce, courgettes (with flowers intact), chilis, fennel seeds, and mozzarella. Oliver used dairy mozzarella, but there are plenty of vegan versions of the creamy cheese available (find more info in our guide to vegan cheese shreds here!).

After that, he showed you how to grill the pizza on the barbecue. “What I’ve done here to give you a really good pizza environment is I’ve stacked up hot coals to one side,” he said after opening up the barbecue to reveal a perfectly cooked pizza, which was prepared in advance.

“I’ve then pushed the pizza stone to the other side, so you don’t get any scald marks,” he added. “If you want to make the base crispier, put a few more coals underneath. If it’s too hot, pull a few more back.” Before taking a bite of the finished product, he declared it a “beautiful, beautiful pizza.”

Jamie Oliver GrillJamie Oliver

How to grill a pizza on your barbecue

Oliver used a pizza stone to grill his pizza, which is a flat slab (usually circular or rectangular), often made from ceramic or stone. The pizza stone—which can withstand extremely high temperatures—will help to absorb and distribute heat evenly, which helps to ensure that the pizza cooks all the way through at the same rate.

If you don’t have a pizza stone, you could try using a thin grill pan instead, or alternatively, just place the pizza directly onto the grill. Note that this method increases the risk of tearing or uneven cooking, and some of the toppings could fall through the grates. To improve your chance of success, make sure the grates are well-oiled, and the dough is nice and thick, so it is less likely to tear. 

And the golden rule: Don’t take your eyes off your pizza! Grills can vary in temperature and heat distribution, so it’s a good idea to monitor your tasty pizza closely to stop it from burning.

Oliver isn’t the only fan of cooking pizza on the grill. Other fans of grilled pizza include chef and food journalist J. Kenji López-Alt, who wrote for The New York Times back in 2021: “The most celebrated pizzas in the world are baked in ovens that generate temperatures in excess of 900 degrees. At these temperatures, a pizza takes around two minutes to cook, and something magical happens to the dough as it rapidly puffs and chars, creating a smoky, crackly eggshell-thin crust that covers a poofy, steamy, lightly chewy crumb underneath.”

“Unless your home is outfitted with a dedicated pizza oven, the grill is the only piece of equipment where similar temperatures (and thus, similar pizzas) can be achieved,” he continued.

Vegan PizzaUnsplash

What else can you cook on the grill?

Pizza isn’t the only unexpected food you can cook on the grill. Of course, burgers and sausages are classic choices, but you could also opt for these Spicy Grilled Cauliflower Skewers, for example, which are served with a homemade adobo dipping sauce.

These Smoky Eggplant Vegan Hot Dogs are another delicious choice (just don’t expect them to taste like beef). For another unique option, you could try this flavor-laden recipe for Vegan Grilled Onigiri With Japanese-Style BBQ Glaze.

VegNews.EggplantHotDog3Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, these Gooey Grilled S’mores With Strawberries and Bananas are hard to beat.

But if you want to keep things as easy as possible, there’s nothing wrong with buying some of the delicious plant-based meat options on the market. After all, when it comes to sausages, burgers, ribs, and vegan chicken, there are more options than ever on the shelves. For ideas on what to buy and where from, find our Essential Vegan Guide to Grilling here.

For more plant-based cooking tips, read:

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