Hi all. I have never sent a blog or a post or what ever you call this in my life before, so forgive my internet ignorance.
And if anyone else has covered this topic or has a better way of doing it, let me know.
Get yourself some CAST IRON CREPE PANS, the cheap commercial ones are perfect. About 12" diameter for personal size pizzas or any size or shape that fits your BBQ with the cover CLOSED. I pay $7 each for mine so I have accumulated 8 to accommodate my entire family or guests. No teflon coatings, just old-fashioned seasoned cast iron with minimum lip. (You can use your high-sided regular cast iron pan to test my method before going out and buying the crepe pans. It will work almost as well)
First, you need about a 1-foot square piece of scrap board or plywood. The absolute necessity for this or a viable substitute will become apparent later. (Apartment dwellers read on. You can get around your lack of lumber and power saws easily)
Whip up your usual pizza dough recipe and cut your toppings on the thin side. Spread your dough directly on the COLD, lightly oiled pans. In my typical non-foodie fashion, I use a wallpaper seam roller. (If you can spin your dough in the air like pro, I envy you.) THIN CRUST is slightly better for this method.
Add your sauce, toppings and cheese keeping it light for ultra-fast baking time.
When you are ready to eat, put all the bottom burners on your gas BBQ on high, leave the racks in and don't bother with any extra burners in back or on top.
Keep the kids away and REDLINE the temperature on your BBQ. I don't trust my built-in thermometer for accuracy, but it says 600-650 degrees. Not important. Get it as hot as you can safely get it. (The coal-fired oven at Lombardi's pizzeria in NYC runs at 800 degrees and takes 3 minutes to bake a pizza. This is where I got the idea.)
Place 1 or more pizzas in their crepe pans directly on the racks and close the lid. Cooking time will vary with temperature, but after 5-8 minutes check the bottom of the crust to make sure it is perfectly mottled golden brown. If the crust is ready and the toppings are sizzling, it's done.
Use a long metal spatula to loosen the pizza from its pan and transfer to a cutting board.
DO NOT bring the hot pan to the table as it is needlessly dangerous for the table and all sitting around it.
I use one professional bakers mitten on my hand and the other wrapped around the handle to take the pan off the BBQ, i.e. double-thick protection. My mitts are slightly blackened from doing this.
Place the hot pan on the scrap lumber or other non-combustible surface (your now-useless pizza stone, old wood cutting board, bricks, ceramic tile) in a safe place out of reach of children or unsuspecting guests and let it cool. It will stay too hot to touch for about 15 minutes.) The pan will blacken the wood slightly, it's so hot.
The secret to this method: The thick cast iron absorbs heat slowly as the toppings are baked by convective heat that swirls up inside the BBQ cover. By the time the iron is hot and the crust perfectly browned underneath, baked-through and crispy, the toppings are also done.
Whew. It's a lot easier to do than to explain.
One more thing. You serve these pizzas one at a time. Put the cutting board and pizza in the middle of the table, cut it up and invite everyone to take a slice. Meanwhile, put pizza no. 2 on the grill.
You can work your way up from light, appetizer toppings with drinks to rich, robust variations as the main course. Or you can have everyone do up his or her favourite pizza and serve it up inviting friendly commentary and comparisons.
It's a nice, homey, convivial way to share a meal and everyone will rave about the crust.
Guaranteed. Just don't burn the deck down.