How to Cook Pizza on a Barbecue

Cooking pizza on a barbecue is both an art and a science. A lot of things can go wrong, but with a bit of practice, it's quite easy to barbecue a pizza to serve along with other barbecue treats. Read this article to get a sweet, delicious barbecued pizza on the grill.


  • Pizza dough
  • Cheese
  • Tomato sauce
  • Desired toppings, thinly sliced


  1. Image titled Cook Pizza on a Barbecue Step 1 preview
    Evaluate your barbecue. There needs to be enough radiant heat to be able to cook the toppings. Otherwise, you will only be cooking the crust from below.
    • Does your barbecue have a lid and thermostat? Can it reach and maintain a temperature of around 220ºC/428ºF? If not, there is still a simple way to work around this, as explained in the next step.
    • Does your barbecue have a large, flat hot-plate? You can use a slotted grill, but this does make the process far more likely to be a mess.
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    Prepare and preheat the grill. A little preparation makes for much more even heat and a better pizza.
    • The big issue/virtue with barbecues is the smoke factor that gives that smoky flavour to food. If the barbecue is not clean it will smoke the food too much and your pizza will not taste of anything aside from smoke. Its best to clean the plate before and after use as well as allowing a long enough preheat time to burn off any debris. As per the warnings below, with residences becoming closer, or similarly if you live in an apartment, it is best to consider your neighbours and ensure that the wind factor is favourable to blow any smoke away from homes (especially clothes-lines). As many restaurants now serve a form of grilled pizza, it would be better to frequent these places instead of becoming the local enemy if you don't have space to BBQ.
    • Use bricks to retain the right level of heat. Place bricks (free of any dirt that could burn, wrapped in foil if you wish) around the barbecue to simulate a baker's oven and preheat the barbecue until it reaches temperature. It will take more time to preheat adequately using bricks, but the heat will be more even and appropriate for cooking pizza.
    • If your barbecue has no flat plate (having only slotted or bar grills), cook the pizza on a heavy cast iron skillet, a pizza stone, or other heavy-duty and flame-proof flat piece of cookware.
    • If you have no lid, improvise one using an upturned roasting pan (which likewise must be preheated), which will radiate heat. Place the pizza under the roasting pan. Practice utmost care with this method, to avoid burns. For wood-fired barbecues or fire pits, try making a fixed frame surround out of bricks and using a hot roasting pan filled with hot coals.
      • This fixed structure should consist of placing one or two brick courses high, making two sides and a back, and leaving the front and top spaces open. The distance between the two side walls should be small enough that the roasting pan will sit firmly and safely on top. Then place the pizza into the space inside the "walls" and place the roasting pan on top to radiate heat down onto the pizza. (Only do this with a fixed setup; do not attempt to do this with loose bricks). Remove the roasting pan when the pizza is cooked to access the pizza, or if it is browning too quickly on top.
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    Start with a fairly thin crust. Most barbecue pizzas have thinner crusts and have very few raw ingredients because they cook from the base up. A barbecue with really good heat control can allow more variations to crust thickness and structure; you'll need to experiment to learn what works best with your own barbecue.
    • Using wholemeal flours or fine cornmeal makes a more protein-rich and chewier dough, but it also takes longer to cook through.
    • You can precook or pre-grill the base in advance and then freeze it. The bases do freeze very well, so try making a batch of them at a time. A pre-cooked crust may not taste quite as good as one cooked from scratch, but it will save a lot of trouble.
    • When the crust is almost cooked through, add cooked toppings and bake long enough to warm them through and melt the cheese.
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    Slice the toppings thinly and choose flavorful toppings. Or keep it simple but still delicious – some barbecued pizzas are little more than the bread dough cooked briefly on both sides like a pancake, then brushed with an herb and garlic oil and eaten as is or wrapped around other foods, and they're still delicious.
    • Precook any meat, especially seafood and chicken. You don't want it to come out too rare. It is best to place meat closer to the edges of the pizza to cook it faster.
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    Place your pizza onto a peel. You can also improvise with a wooden chopping board, baking sheet or other flat item to allow the smooth transfer of pizza onto the barbecue plate. Should you be using a dough and not a precooked base, try not to allow the dough to prove too much or it will go soft and will tear easily. Another "practice makes perfect" activity.
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    Watch your pizza cook. A barbecue is a very difficult thing to control heat-wise, so regular checking is essential to avoid burning.
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    Remove the pizza once cooked to your satisfaction and serve without delay. If there are various people sitting around, ask for several helpers to keep tending the pizza cooking so that you can share the duties and enjoy the eating when your own pizza is ready.


  • Barbecued pizza can take a lot of work, practice, and experimentation before it comes out well, compared to cooking in a normal oven. If you're dedicated enough, it can be worth it.
  • Avoid flooding your pizza with toppings, particularly cheese and different sauces. Cheese caramelizes quickly and also melts, so too much may make the topping ooze. It could also be a flame risk or it could smoke the pizza beyond eating.


  • Barbecue only in areas where & when it is appropriate to do so. Be mindful of smoke and be aware of local government fire restrictions and bush-fire risks.

Things You'll Need

  • Barbecue
  • Pizza pan
  • Roasting pan (optional)
  • Oven mitts

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