Calzones on the Grill
I love pizza. Or, pretty much anything that has most or all the components of pizza, such as a calzone. Today, I will be sharing my experience making calzones on the grill and some reasons why you might want to do this.
About 50% of the time, you can see a ball of dough in my refrigerator resting, slowly rising, and developing great sourdough like flavors, waiting to be kneaded (pun intended). I might bake a loaf of bread, na’an, pita, pizza, or flatbread. Once, I even made some cinnamon rolls with Nutella spread over the top. The recipe for the dough that I make varies slightly but our cast iron pizza recipe has a good one to start with. We actually travel a decent amount and sometimes a kitchen isn’t fully stocked so I have definitely made bread or pizza dough with just flour, water, yeast, & salt. That’s all you really need.
Okay, here is how it started – I knew I wanted to have some sort of a pizza. I also knew that it was a warm day and the house was already heating up! Cranking up the oven for an hour or more would definitely make the house hotter and that is not at all a good thing during the summer time. No problem since a grill can cook just about anything and we know that from so many chefs. The last time that was on my radar is when I saw Bobby Flay grill pizza on his show “Grill It!” using a Weber Kettle. Awesome.
Next, I wanted to use my cool WagnerWare 1053 #3 Cast Iron Skillets. 🙂 No really good reason why but I have really enjoyed coming up with ways to use these smaller pans. It’s a little tough to cook in a small pan like a #3 but that make really fantastic serving dishes and if you’re making personal sized meals or side dishes, they just make good sense.
You can see I divided the dough into four roughly equal pieces. I kneading them for about 2-3 minutes a each and then let each of them rest for about 5 minutes. After the rest, I flattened each ball of dough and pressed one of them into the bottom of each cast iron skillet. I filled them up with caramelized onions, red peppers, minced garlic, and chopped artichokes. Feel free to put anything you want in the calzone, like bacon, sauce, olive oil, cheese, goat cheese, more bacon, etc… You’ll notice that I opted to omit the sauce and cheese for the filling.
I had the grill heating up with an indirect heat set up. That is to say, I had the two side burners lit at about med-low. This allowed me to keep the burners at the center of the grill off so that the bottom of the calzones would not burn. I might try turning them on low for the 2nd half of the baking next time but I was a little worried about that for the first attempt. And, since this was my first try I was not quite sure about how long to cook these calzones or at what temperature.
Normally, I would cook a pizza really hot, like 500-550° + on a pizza stone or cast iron skillet. In this case, I knew the filling was dense, the cast iron was relatively cool, and that a hot grill would not be the right way to do it. I figured that a moderately warm grill would work and that I needed to keep the calzones on for 25-40 minutes or so. I monitored, watch, peaked, and checked on the calzones every 10 minutes or so. Towards the end of the grilling, I bumped up the burners on the outside and even turned on the center burners. I slid the calzones right out of the pans and then put some pizza sauce on the top.