If you own a barbecue, you also own a pretty decent pizza oven. By using a pizza stone, or even a heavy baking tray, you can cook beautifully light, crisp pizzas in minutes. The basic dough and sauce can be used for any pizza, so play around with toppings. The biggest mistake people make is to add too many ingredients, which means the crust is cooked well before the toppings have got going. Use your toppings sparingly, spread in an even layer ,and you can’t go wrong. This recipe uses one of my favourite ingredients, ’nduja. It's a fiery Italian salami from Calabria with a soft, spreadable consistency, perfect to dab over a pizza.
For the dough
- 400 g strong white bread flour
- 100 g fine semolina, plus extra for dusting
- 7 g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 330 ml (1 ⅓ cup) lager
- olive oil, for greasing
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 600g good-quality Italian canned chopped tomatoes
- pinch of caster sugar
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 400 g buffalo mozzarella
- 100 g ’nduja
- 50 g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 small bunch of basil, leaves torn
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine on a low speed and pour in the lager. Knead on a low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to the next setting and knead for a further 6 minutes. If you’re making the dough by hand, combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a rough dough. Tip out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl, lightly greased with olive oil, and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave somewhere warm for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Fire up the barbecue to a high temperature for direct grilling (see page 11). Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a very low heat, add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Set a pizza stone or heavy baking tray on the grill, close the lid and open the vents as wide as possible. Dust the work surface with semolina, turn the dough out and divide into four equal balls. Roll each out thinly to make a large round, then spread with the cooled tomato sauce. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and dot over the sauce. Dot the ’nduja over the top and finish with a scattering of Parmesan.
Use a pizza peel or thin, flat baking tray to lift the pizzas from the work surface and slide them onto the hot pizza stone or heavy baking tray. Close the lid and bake for 3–4 minutes (depending on how hot you can make your barbecue) until the base is crisp and the cheese is golden and bubbling. As soon as each pizza is ready, scatter over a few torn basil leaves, cut into slices and dive in.
Recipe and images from Fire and Smoke: Get Grilling with 120 Delicious Barbecue Recipes by Rich Harris (Kyle Books, RRP $45.) Photography: © Martin Poole 2016.