If you were to describe the best pizza you’ve ever had, you probably would say it had limp crust and bland toppings. Rather, you’d probably mention a crisp crust, melted cheeses and a kaleidoscope of seasoned flavors.
The pizza experience you just recalled (or wished for) is why wood/coal-fired pizzas are one of the hottest food trends. Wood/coal fired restaurants are popping up left and right and some people are paying anywhere from $1,500 to $9,900 to install wood-burning pizza ovens in their homes.
Although a lot of factors fan the flame of this trend, it boils down to a crispy crust and an array of bold flavors.
Luckily, you don’t need an expensive specialty oven to make unforgettable wood-fired pizza at home; all you need is a good charcoal grill, quality lump charcoal and a pizza stone. In my opinion, the best backyard pizza oven is a kamado-style grill like Char-Broil’s Kamander, which I used for this tasty pizza. The high, clean-burning heat and the insulated dome lid mimic high-end pizza ovens used in restaurants, producing a perfectly-crisp crust and stunning taste. No reservations needed, just your own backyard.
- 1 rolled pizza dough
- Parchment paper cut into a 14 in. circle
- 8 thin slices provolone cheese
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- 8 ounces fresh Mozzarella, sliced, shredded, or both
- 6 slices Genoa salami, halved or quartered
- 16-18 pepperoni slices
- 6 sweet mini red bell peppers, sliced and seeded
- 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (see recipe steps 2 and 4)
- Red pepper flakes
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Preheat your grill to 450°f and set it up for indirect heat. For the Kamander, load your lump charcoal on the coal grate and light it with both vents wide open. Once the grill reaches 300°f, place the drip pan and drip pan support in. Add the cooking grate and your pizza stone on top of that. Shut both vents to the 2 setting. As the temperature approaches 375°f, gradually close the vents so you “coast” up to 450°f. Remember: the vent number settings are just approximations and change based on the fuel, wind, air temperature, humidity and other factors. Go by your dome thermometer and adjust the vents for the needed temperature.
- Roast your veggies. Place the onion and bell peppers in a oven save pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and Italian seasoning, and toss to coat. Place them on the grill, close the lid and let roast for 20 minutes. You can stir half-way through the roasting. Remove from grill.
- Turn it up. Open your lower vent a little to bring the cooking temperature up to 550°f.
- Roll it out. Roll out your dough on a 14” piece of parchment paper. “Dock” your dough by jabbing it with a fork or docking tool as shown in the Notes/Substitutions section. Brush the edges with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dough, except for about ½ inch from the edge, with the provolone. Next, top that with sauce – use an amount to your liking but I think less is more. Add the salami, about half of the veggies, and top that with the mozzarella. Add the pepperoni and rest of the veggies.
- Fire it up. Hold the edge of the parchment paper and slide your Char-Broil Pizza Peel under the paper. Carry it to your grill. Open the grill and then holding the parchment paper edge near the pizza peel handle, angle the peel towards the grill and carefully let the paper and pizza slide onto the stone (remember, the stone is HOT at this point). If it’s off center, don’t panic, just use the peel to adjust it back onto the stone. Close the grill and let cook for 5 minutes. Rotate the pizza about 180 degrees and cook until the crust is crisp and the cheese starting to turn golden brown, about another 4 to 6 minutes.
- CAREFULLY slide the peel under the parchment paper and remove the pizza (this will be EXTREMELY hot, so exercise caution). I like to let mine sit on a resting rack for about 3 minutes to let the pizza cool off just a touch. Move to a cutting board, slice and serve.
Dough: I recommend buying your dough the first time. Most pizza places and now many grocery stores sell relatively inexpensive fresh pizza dough balls. Some even sell the dough pre-rolled and folded up.
Pizza sauce: You can buy some decent pre-made pizza sauces, but I recommend making your own. I like to do a variation of this recipe that makes enough for 2 pizzas and do so the night before for convenience during the week.
Fresh mozzarella: This makes a big impact on the taste and texture of your pie. You can use pre-shredded, but try shredding a fresh mozzarella ball if possible.
Drip pan: The drip pan works but for high temperature pizza cooking, but I prefer to use a 14” pizza stone as a heat deflector on top of the drip pan rack.