Make Ahead Grilled Pizza Party Ideas

During a recent visit with friends on Smith Lake Mountain in Virginia we put together a gourmet grilled pizza party for our hosts and their neighbors.  The idea was to do something tasty, different, informal, and be able to spend time with their guests.  The menu included four varieties and everything was made in advance.  Once the guests arrived we assembled and heated the pizzas while enjoying our drinks and mingling with our new southern friends.  After the pizzas were delicately consumed (inhaled) we grilled off some fresh, just ripe peaches, drizzled them with honey and served them topped with vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts.  

As the professionals (control freaks) we of course made our own dough and took over the kitchen.  But you can make it easier on yourself by buying prepared crust or flatbread and including your guests in on the action.  Just grill the crusts in advance, set them out with the toppings so that everyone can assemble their own masterpiece, then heat on the grill while you enjoy a glass of wine!  

For inspiration, here's the menu that we prepared and the dough recipe if you'd like to make your own.

Thai Chicken - One of our signature items.  Chicken, Thai peanut sauce, shredded carrot, cilantro, bean sprouts, scallions, mozzarella, and chopped peanuts.

BBQ Pork - A collaboration with our hostess.  Pulled pork, BBQ sauce, red onion and cheddar cheese.  Tip:  Slow cook the pork in the crock pot with seasonings and a little BBQ sauce to avoid heating up the kitchen.

Taco - Seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, Monterrey Jack cheese, olives, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños.   

Margarita - Typically made with fresh mozzarella but we substituted goat cheese, which was delish!  Sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil.   

Pizza Dough

1 t.       Yeast
1/2C+  Warm water
1 1/2CFlour
2t        Sugar
1t         Salt
1T        Olive Oil

Combine yeast and water in a small bowl, let sit until foamy­—about 10 minutes. Using a food processor fitted with the plastic blade combine:  flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to mix.

Add yeast mixture and olive oil. With the motor running, slowly add enough water to bring mixture into a ball. Be careful not to over mix.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly, forming into a smooth ball.  Coat the inside of a large bowl with a little olive oil, also lightly coat the dough.  Place dough in the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Let rest in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until dough had doubled in size. 

Punch dough down and reform into a smooth ball. Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove dough from fridge, let sit a room temperature for an hour or so. Divide dough in two (or 4 minis). On a lightly floured surface, using your hands or a rolling pin, shape dough into an approximate 9 inch circle. 

Place dough onto a hot grill using direct coals/heat. Do not touch the dough for at least 30-45 seconds. Using tongs or spatulas, flip crust over. Continue this process until the crust is grilled to you liking.  Remove from grill, add your favorite toppings (not too much) and return to the grill, but this time use indirect heat. Cover grill and heat until cheese is melted and bubbly.