People love grilling pizza at home, so imagine their delight if they’d find grilled pizza at your venue — especially if pies aren’t your specialty. Owners/operators of restaurants or entertainment venue chains are finding adding grilled pizza to the menu is a true brand differentiator, and many are surprised at just how easy it is to do once they understand how to maximize their grill’s capabilities.
Grills are generally standard issue in commercial kitchens but, like ovens, every type produces different results:
Indoor and outdoor charcoal grills
For flavor, these direct heat grills are unbeatable but if you’re a stickler for the “perfect pie,” the more informal aesthetics may be disconcerting. Depending on size, grate wires can leave thick char marks on the dough and the finished crust is organically shaped rather than round. However, if you position the grilled pizza as” rustic,” patrons will expect and appreciate these characteristics.
Cast iron skillet grills
For flat top gas iron ranges, cast iron skillet grills are a preferred indirect heat tool for grilled pizza. While temperature is easily regulated with the range-skillet combination, it’s important to note that size can be a challenge. Standard skillets may not be big enough to grill a six or eight inch pie, and larger commercial varieties often have high sides which can blemish or even burn pizza edges.
Open-faced and panini grills
With a number of good open-faced and panini grills available at retail, it may be tempting to buy a few off the shelf to call on when grilled pizzas are ordered. However, professional kitchens often need NSF-certified grills sized to around 1500 BTU and that can accommodate direct and indirect heat, as well as top melt and using pizza stones (options absent in most panini grills).
Dough Balls and Crusts that Perform on Grills
Pairing the appropriate dough balls and crusts with your grill type is critically important for consistently delicious grilled pies. Partnering with an expert pizza dough manufacturer like Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust is invaluable in helping you find the right products, and for guidance on which dough balls and crusts align with direct and indirect heat.
If you’re considering adding grilled pizza as a permanent menu feature, or maybe you want to selectively use it to showcase limited time or seasonal offerings, keep these dough balls and crust types top of mind:
- High gluten dough balls, like Dough Shop® by A&K Wood Fired High Gluten Dough Balls, is a perfect way to add ultra-premium grilled pizza to your menu. In addition to being able to withstand high direct heat, these dough balls can be easily stretched, rolled out, docked and prepped with olive oil for easy grilling in a salamander or top broiler.
- Other varieties of pre-made dough balls from Dough Shop® by A&K, along with our Cobble Hill par-baked crusts are ideal for high indirect heat applications, like pizza stones. Preheated on a 450℉-500℉ grill, these stones will bake up a golden brown pizza crust in about 20 minutes — fast and delicious.
Grilled pizza is a surefire hit with patrons, so adding it to your menu is a profitable and relatively easy move, provided you partner with proven pizza crust manufacturers like the experts at Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust. Weigh the advantages of pre-made dough balls versus scratch-made dough using our Pizza Dough Cost Calculator.