When you think of food at a summer barbecue, you probably think of the usual suspects: burgers, hot dogs, and maybe even grilled steaks. However, not many people know that you can also use your charcoal barbecue grill to prepare delicious homemade pizza with a unique smoky flavor. All you need is your charcoal grill, your pizza ingredients, and a pizza stone. Let’s learn how to use a pizza stone on a charcoal BBQ!
What is a pizza stone?
A pizza stone, also called a baking stone, is a porous, often round slab of stone that retains heat and absorbs moisture. When a pizza is cooked on a pizza stone, it mimics the effects of cooking the pizza in a traditional masonry oven. In other words, it ensures that the pizza is evenly heated and makes the crust irresistibly crispy.
Preparing your barbecue
To begin preparation for your pizza, start by spreading a layer of charcoal beneath the grill grate. You actually want to avoid having too much charcoal piled directly beneath the pizza stone, as this can lead to a burnt crust. Instead, distribute the coals so you have an even, flat layer of charcoal beneath the grate. If you’re planning on adding a lot of toppings to your pizza, add a few lit briquettes to the charcoal basket as well to ensure a higher dome temperature.
Preparing your pizza stone
Your barbecue isn’t the only thing that needs some prep-work. Your pizza stone also needs to be ready for the occasion. You’ll want to preheat the stone over medium flames for 10-15 minutes before you add any pizza on top of it. Skipping this step risks your pizza dough sticking to the stone or even damaging the stone itself.
Building your pizza
Making a pizza for grilling is much the same as making a pizza for baking. Just make sure when you’re stretching the dough that it can fit on top of your pizza stone! Top the dough with tomato sauce or even barbecue sauce for a twist. Then it’s onto cheese and toppings. Remember: if you’re piling on the toppings, you’ll want to make sure your barbecue’s dome temperature is hot enough to heat them evenly. A hot, crispy crust is no good with cold toppings!
Barbecuing your pizza
Now it’s time for the big moment: throwing your pizza on the stone. Before you do this, make sure to spread some cornmeal across the pizza stone’s surface. This will prevent the pizza dough from sticking. Next, slide your pizza onto the pizza stone and quickly cover with your grill’s dome. Depending on the size of your pizza, it should take 20-45 minutes to cook fully. Once the cheese is melted and the dough is cooked, you’ll know it’s ready. Simply remove the pizza directly from the stone and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
Can I use oil or nonstick spray on my pizza stone instead of cornmeal?
It’s generally not a good idea to prepare your pizza stone with oil or nonstick spray. These liquids can soak into the porous stone and create a sticky residue that’s difficult to wash off. If for any reason you can’t use cornmeal, you can also place a sheet of parchment paper between the pizza stone and the pizza to prevent sticking.
Should I cut my pizza directly on the pizza stone?
Some pizza stones are glazed or otherwise treated to prevent them from being scratched by metal utensils. However, even if your pizza stone isn’t damaged, your pizza cutter or knife might be! Scraping across the stone’s surface may prematurely dull metal utensils. For this reason, it’s always safer to transfer your pizza to a plate or other surface before cutting it.
How do I wash my pizza stone afterward?
Making pizza can be a messy business. Melted cheese, pizza dough, and oils can all stick to your porous pizza stone and be a hassle to wash off. However, resist the urge to wash your stone with soap or to stick in the dishwasher! Soap can soak into the stone’s pours and ruin the flavor of your future pizzas. Instead, wipe your pizza stone down with a damp washcloth and let it dry completely before using it again. You can also use a stone brush or plastic spatula to scrape off more stubborn bits of food. Avoid using any metal utensils as they may scratch up the surface of your stone.
How can I stop my pizza stone from cracking?
Pizza stones may look sturdy, but they can be quite sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, sometimes even cracking into pieces. The most common cause of cracked stones is thermal shock: placing a cold pizza stone directly into a hot barbecue or oven, or placing a hot pizza stone on a cold surface. The best way to avoid these mistakes is to always preheat your pizza stone before use and to allow the stone to cool naturally before removing it from your barbecue or oven. And never use your pizza stone to cook frozen pizzas!
Do I have to season my pizza stone?
There’s a lot of contradictory information out there on whether or not you should season your pizza stone with oil. In truth, the answer depends on what kind of pizza stone you have. Some pizza stones are meant to be regularly seasoned, while others should never be. Oiling up a stone that isn’t made for seasoning can lead to the build-up of a sticky residue or even cause the stone to smoke when exposed to heat. If in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions. If you don’t know the manufacturer of your pizza stone, you’ll likely be better off forgoing any attempts at seasoning. Better safe than sorry!
How To Use A Pizza Stone On A Charcoal BBQ
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