FOGO Pizzeria: Part 1 How make the Best Italian Pizza
Ciao and welcome back to a new recipe. This week we start a 2 part, FOGO Pizzeria series featuring two similar yet very different pies. With all of the craziness going on in the world with the pandemic, one thing that I think we can all agree on is that everyone loves a good slice of pizza. Whether its thick crust, thin crust, Sicilian, stuffed, NY or Chicago style, once you take a bite it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
Back when I was in high school in Hauppauge,NY, my buddies and I all worked at Vinny’s Village Pizza. We had a great time working there making friendships that would last a lifetime and serving up the best Italian dishes around. I’d start each day telling myself, OK, I am going to go the whole day today without eating pizza...then the first pie would come out of the oven and all bets were off. The smell of the dough, tomatoes and cheese would fill the air and I just couldn’t resist.
The good news is that I get to relive some of those old times by making pizza directly on the BBQ grill. This can be done over charcoal, wood or even on a gas grill. Don’t be afraid, try it out, you just may surprise yourself!
For this week's recipes, I took the easy route and went to my local pizza place and purchased my dough from them. Most places are happy to sell you a ready to use pizza dough for between $3-5. There are plenty of recipes for dough on the internet and it is easy enough to make yourself, but I wanted to keep this really simple.
Directions for Pizza #1
- Light your charcoal and let the fire build for a bit. Place your grates and pizza stone on the grill and allow it to heat up with the grill. We are shooting for a cooking dome temperature of 475-500°.
- Flour your work surface liberally so the dough does not stick to the table. Stretch the dough by pressing down and rolling your fingers on the dough. Try to keep it all at a uniform thickness. If using a pizza screen, stretch it to fit the screen or trim the extra if it is too big. If using parchment paper, make sure it will fit on whatever size pizza stone you have.
- Place a ladle full of sauce in the center and use a circling motion to spread the sauce evenly across the dough. Don’t be afraid to go right out close to the edge. I like to bring it out far so we are maximizing our flavor. Spread your mozzarella evenly over the entire surface of the pie.
- Place any toppings on the pizza and same thing, bring them right to the edge. There’s nothing worse than taking 2 bites and realizing that you already finished all of your pepperoni and still have ½ a slice left!
- You can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over it at this point or do like I do and do it halfway through the cook.
- Place your pizza on the already hot pizza stone and close the lid. Check on it after 3-4 minutes. Once you can see the dough has really begun to cook, spin the pizza 180° and close the lid again. Just before it is done cooking, remove the screen or the parchment paper and finish the pizza directly on the stone. Another minute or two, remove the pizza, let it cool for a minute, slice it and enjoy!
Directions for Pizza #2
- Stretch the dough per the instructions above. Break up your tomatoes and scatter them all over your stretched dough. Make sure to have good coverage but it does not have to cover every square inch of the dough.
- Sprinkle a small amount of chopped fresh basil on the pizza, then place your mozzarella slices evenly spaced to cover the pie.
- Grate some quality parmesan cheese on the pizza and place it on the stone. Use the same cooking instructions as above.
Whether you make plain cheese pizza or load it up with toppings, I’m sure that you and your guests will enjoy your homemade, grilled pizza. Don’t forget to tune in to the next episode. I’ll be showing you how to make calzones on your grill. Will it be a smooth cook or did I run into some obstacles? I guess you’ll just have to tune in to see for yourself!
Until then, as Vinny used to say, Mangia and enjoy!
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