Grilling Frozen Pizza

by Troy on March 14, 2011

Grilled Frozen Pizza - plated

Eating the grilled pizza

Frozen Pizza on the grill?

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my good friend Dave (the almighty tennis coach) somehow challenged me to grill a frozen pizza. As I recall, I was already grilling SOMETHING for a gathering, and he brought over a tombstone to throw on the grill afterwards.  Rather than closing the vents of the grill and extinguishing the burning coals, I let them burn, and we put the tombstone frozen pizza right on the grates. The temps were already low, so we let the pizza stay there as we ate our REAL dinner. About 25 minutes later as we were opening the second bottle of wine, we remembered the pizza. The outside crust was slightly burnt, as was the bottom, but oddly enough, the pizza tasted absolutely amazing. The slight char on the crust had no impact on the flavor. There was a thick, savory smokiness that made the pizza taste incredible. We all stood over the kitchen sink eating the piping hot pizza. That tombstone was the best tombstone I’ve ever had, and it kicked off a really fun series of experiments.

How To Grill A Frozen Pizza

Grilling a frozen pizza is only slightly more challenging than using your oven.   Don’t try to use the oven cooking  instructions that came with your frozen pizza, but you can certainly use the time and temperature as a starting point.

  • Thaw your frozen pizza first. I like to take mine out of the oven right before I start the charcoal.
  • Thinner pizzas are easier, and you can use a hotter grill (fresher charcoal).
  • For thicker pizzas, use lower temps and longer times to reduce over charring the crust.
  • Use a pan if you don’t want your crust to be crispy. Pans might help for thicker pizzas. Make sure your pan has holes in it.
  • Thin frozen pizza : higher heat (400-500) :: thicker pizza : lower heat (300 – 350)
  • DON’T OPEN THE LID – when you open the lid, the heat above the cheese floats away while your crust continues to cook. Opening the lid increases your chances of burning the bottom crust. Thin pizzas cook in about 10 minutes. Thicker ones 15- 20. Remember, your crust is closer to the heat source than it would be in the oven.
  • Expiring coals work great. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to put a frozen pizza on your grill right after you finish grilling an amazing meal – but the remaining coals are likely perfect for slow cooking a pizza. It’ll take a bit longer with the lower temps, but your pizza will get an amazing flavor. Pepperoni pizza makes a great dessert ;)
  • Experiment with cheap frozen pizzas. Buy a 6 pack for 10 bucks. You’ll be surprised on how great a cheap crappy pizza will taste after cooking it over charcoal.

Last Night, I grilled a frozen pizza for dinner

I chose a Freschetta Flat Bread pizza – we like our pizza thin and crispy, and this brand makes one of the best in my opinion. This was my first grilled frozen pizza that was actually intended to serve as my main meal.

I lit a chimney of Royal Oak Steakhouse Lump and spread it evenly on my Performer. I tried to let the charcoal burn down a bit in hopes of getting more even heat – but I was hungry. So I put the pizza on while they were still glowing red hot (about 600 degrees).

After 8 minutes I peeked. I knew it was too early to be done, but with the higher temps I was a little nervous. The crust was starting to curl up, which is a signal for scorching, but the cheese wasn’t completely melted yet :(

I closed the lit and waited another 2 minutes. I checked again, the cheese was melted – but not toasted. At this point I had to choose – burn the crust and toast the cheese? Or eat it as is. I pulled it, using the smooshed frozen pizza box as my pizza peel (works great, much better than that circular cardboard).

I let it sit for 2 minutes to cool before I cut it. This allowed me to pour myself a Stella Artois.

I cut it into traditional wedge pieces and devoured. It tasted amazing. MUCH better than the same pizza cooked in the oven.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve Sheldon July 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm

If I may offer a suggestion or two for your consideration, you might try using fewer that a full load of charcoal briquettes in order to reduce the temperature of your grill. Also, if you have access to some hardwood (perhaps a maple tree in your yard that could stand just a tiny bit of trimming?) you might consider adding a few twigs or bits of branches to your charcoal before you put the pizza on. Not directly under the pizza so as to start a flare-up that would burn the crust, just off to the side. Or maybe in an aluminum foil packet with holes punched in it to let the smoke out. That might add a welcome twist on the natural fire flavor.


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