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Fresh toppings make all the difference
After cutting up all of the toppings, I used a large stainless steel sheet pan. to store and transport all of the fixings and grill tools out to the grill. I used a Black & Decker Workmate as a table hold the sheet pan. It was raining pine needles this Fall day and the EZ-Up helped prevent the addition of pine needles as an unwanted fresh topping. I’m happy to say the EZ-Up has some added benefits I hadn’t thought of.
The sheet pan loaded with toppings and all the needed grill tools
The WorkMate makes a great grill table base
When making grilled pizza you use a 2 zone fire. I set 3 burners on high and 3 burners on medium heat. I also oiled the grill grate generously to make sure the crusts slid easily. Coating the crust with extra virgin olive oil also helped in this regard. You have to be careful not to put too much olive oil on or you’ll get flare ups and burned crust. Don’t ask how I know this. After 3 minutes under high direct heat and the crust is ready to be topped. The crust is slid over to the medium heat side and flipped. Be sure to coat the top side with olive oil before flipping the crust.
The crust is flipped and moved to the medium heat zone to be topped
The herb & garlic pizza is topped and ready to slide back over to the high heat zone
One thing I learned is my grill had a hotspot towards the rear on this particular day. To deal with that I started rotating the crusts 180 degrees midway through the cook time. Another thing to know is to keep the ingredients layered on thinly. If you lay things on too thick, the crust will burn before the toppings are cooked..This I learned last year. As it was my works pizza and the pepper & onion pizzas required a little tweaking. The cook time was 3 minutes on the high side of the grill. I closed the lid to help speed the cooking. For the two pizzas with thicker toppings, I slid the pizzas over to the medium side for an additional minute and one half. My gas grill has 6 burners. The next time I do this I may use a 3 zone fire: 2 burners on high, two burners on medium and two burners off. This way I could finish the pizzas with more or thicker toppings indirectly.
The pizzas turned out well and the fresh toppings make a big difference. The fresh pizza crusts were tastier than the store bought ones. But the store bought pizzas were easy to get on the grill and were nicely round. I’m torn on the crusts where we sacrifice flavor for convenience. Overall though this years pizzas were an improvement over last years. I certainly would not hesitate to serve these to any guests. The pictures of the final products are shown below.
Herb & Garlic Pizza
Red & Green Pepper & Garlic Pizza
For supper I finally got around to smoking my skinless hot dogs. Twice before I’d planned on this for supper but was too full. I’d really enjoyed the smoked beans I’d made the day before so I figured I’d throw on another batch. When I went to the store to grab some more Nathan’s skinless hot dogs I was in for a rude surprise. Now that summer was behind us the hot dog selection was half it’s summer size. I was not able to get the Nathan’s hot dogs. Looking at the deli case I found some Kayem skinless hot dogs which I figured I’d try. For this cook I used a perforated non-stick tray for the hot dogs.. The hot dogs are turned to even out the heating as the ones closer to the side firebox would cook more quickly The tray allowed me to quickly turn the hot dogs around in one operation, losing far less heat in the process. I used the gas grill to toast up some buns I had coated with melted butter. On my grill about 30 seconds over high heat toasts the buns up nicely.
The tray allowed for a quick 180 degree rotation
For this cook I got to see the EZ-Up in action in the rain. Right after I finished the pizzas it began to rain. Light at first, but steadier as the afternoon progressed. The folks at EZ-Up make a point of saying their shelters are primarily for shade and not meant to be waterproof. My primary use is intended to be when I attach the sides to make a windscreen. Keeping the grills dry was an added bonus. So how did it do? I was able to sit outside under the top and read the whole time. Eventually drips started coming down where the seams were. I had to move my chair bit to get out from under any roof seams. All in all the area stayed reasonably dry. This will certainly help keep the grills warmer during long cooks. Plus if you’ve ever tried to balance an umbrella, plate of food and the grill lid with two hands you’d appreciate the cover provided by the EZ-Up.
The smoked hot dogs and doctored Bush beans
The hot dogs were interesting. While they were skinless, they did not absorb as much smoke as the Nathans. The Kayem skinless dogs had much more smoke flavor than the Kayem’s with natural casings, but noticeably less than the Nathan’s. So for me for smoked hot dogs I think I’ll try to locate a supply of Nathan’s and stick to those. I’m glad I discovered this in a test cook instead of for a group of people. This is what Grill Camp is about:. Learning new things in a low stress atmosphere. If something edible turns up, so much the better!
PICTURES: I updated my pictures of the GRILLED PIZZA with pictures from this day’s cook.
In 2010 I discovered a variation on the cooking method shown here which has some definite advantages. See this blog entry of more information: BEST YET GRILLED PIZZA 2010 Blog Entry