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Clockwise from top left; grilled pizzas with peaches (Credit: Doug Young)

Clockwise from top left; grilled pizzas with peaches and prosciutto; zucchini, sausage, and goat cheese; classic Margherita and garlicky spinach and ricotta.

5 great pizzas you can make on the grill

You may not have realized it, but if you own a gas grill, you also own an outdoor pizza oven. Now that you know, you can take a break from grilling steaks and chicken and start cranking out pies to order.

Pizza on the grill is convenient (you can make the dough up to 24 hours in advance of cooking), crowd-pleasing (there's a topping for everyone) and healthy (it's the perfect vehicle for the vegetables you pick up at the farm stand). Best of all, grilling pizza is lightning fast. Place your dough on the grill, and you can be eating freshly baked pizza in 5 minutes.

If you've never done it, here are a few tips for success:

1. MAKE IT PERSONAL: Personal-size pieces of pizza dough are easier to handle than one large piece, which is more likely to become misshapen as you're transferring it to the grill. Shape your pieces into ¼- to ⅓-inch-thick ovals. Any thinner and your dough may tear or burn.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE: Make the process effortless by using ingredients that don't have to be cooked ahead of time, or that can be grilled before the pizza goes on.

3. GET READY: Organization is essential, because once the dough hits the grill, it will cook very quickly. Have your toppings prepped and right by the side of the grill before you start cooking the dough. Know how you are going to arrange them, so you can do it as quickly as possible without letting too much heat escape the grill.

4. PAY ATTENTION: The great thing about the grill is that it gets so hot, great for producing crisp pizza crusts. But crusts can go from golden to charred in seconds. So check the bottoms of the pizzas frequently and adjust the heat of your grill as necessary to avoid burning.

5. GO EASY ON THE CHEESE: Unlike pizzas that bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, grilled pizzas can be ready in less than 5. If you want your cheese to melt in this short time, crumble it into small pieces, slice it thin, or shred it. And use just a little, so it will melt as quickly as the dough bakes.

6. PIZZA FOR DESSERT: If you have your heart set on grilled chicken for dinner, you can still enjoy pizza for dessert. Spread some Nutella on the half-grilled dough and top with sliced bananas; try mascarpone and raspberries or small cubes of pineapple with sweetened ricotta.

Now, here are five recipes to get you started:

Grilling pizza dough

(In lieu of making this dough, defrost a
(Credit: Doug Young)

(In lieu of making this dough, defrost a pound of store-bought frozen pizza dough, divide into 4 pieces, and press each piece into a 6-inch round on a greased baking sheet, as directed. Or buy dough from your local pizzeria and do the same.)

3¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups room temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 topping recipe (see below)

1. Make the dough: Combine flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the water and olive oil and give the mixture a few turns with a rubber spatula to form a rough dough. Mix on medium until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until at least doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours. If you aren't going to use the dough immediately, refrigerate until you need it, up to 1 day.

3. Preheat a gas grill to high. Grill topping ingredients as necessary and set aside.

4. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough onto baking sheet and cut into 4 equal pieces with a sharp chef's knife. Shape each piece into a round and let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

5. Press each dough round into a 6-inch circle. Don't worry if the shape isn't perfect. Carefully lift the dough pieces, one at a time, and drape over the grill grids, stretching them in the process.

6. Cook the pizzas uncovered until they are golden, with blackened grid marks, on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, peeking underneath often to make sure they're not burning. Use tongs to flip the dough over. Quickly apply your toppings, cover the grill, and cook until the toppings are heated through and the bottom is well browned, a few minutes longer. Use a large spatula to slide pizzas onto a platter or individual plates, and serve. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

Garlicky spinach and ricotta pizza

1 (5-ounce) box baby spinach 2 tablespoons olive
(Credit: Doug Young)

1 (5-ounce) box baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1. Combine spinach and olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

2. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and garlic in a medium bowl. Mix well.

3. Pile spinach on top of 4 6-inch, half-grilled pizza crusts. Spoon dollops of ricotta cheese mixture on top of spinach. Close lid and grill until spinach is wilted and cheese is warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

Peaches and prosciutto pizza

2 firm but ripe peaches, thinly sliced 2
(Credit: Doug Young)

2 firm but ripe peaches, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
6 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces

1. Combine peaches, oil and thyme.

2. Scatter peaches on top of 4 6-inch half-grilled pizza crusts. Scatter mozzarella slices over peaches.

3. Close lid and grill until cheese is melted and bottoms are golden with dark grid marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, scatter prosciutto over pizzas. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

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Cherry tomato margherita pizza

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tablespoons olive
(Credit: Doug Young)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt
Ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded and drained on paper towels
Small basil leaves for garnish

1. Combine the tomatoes, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

2. Scatter tomatoes on top of 4 6-inch, half-grilled pizza crusts. Sprinkle with cheese. Close lid and grill until cheese is melted and bottoms are golden with dark grid marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

Zucchini, sausage and goat cheese pizza

2 medium zucchinis (about 1¼ pounds), cut lengthwise
(Credit: Doug Young)

2 medium zucchinis (about 1¼ pounds), cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Ground black pepper
2 Italian sausages
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1. Brush zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until softened and golden with dark grill marks, 6 to 8 minutes total.

2. Grill sausages (you can do this at the same time as zucchini), turning once, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Cut into ½-inch-thick rounds.

3. Arrange zucchini, sausage and goat cheese on top of 4 6-inch half-grilled pizza crusts, close lid, and grill until cheese is melted and bottoms are golden with dark grid marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

S'mores pizza

8 ounces milk chocolate chips 1½ cups mini
(Credit: Doug Young)

8 ounces milk chocolate chips
1½ cups mini marshmallows
½ cup caramel sauce, warmed

Scatter chocolate chips and mini marshmallows over 4 6-inch half-grilled pizzas. Close lid and grill until chocolate is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, drizzle with caramel sauce. Makes 4 personal-size pizzas.

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