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Cooking with Larry: BBQ Flatbread Pizza

One of my favorite things to make on the grill is pizza. Yes, pizza.

Anytime I tell someone that, they find it a little strange. Won't the dough fall through the grates? Won't the crust burn? The answer is, no. In fact, my favorite type of pizza to make is a BBQ flatbread pizza using a variety of cheese, sauce and toppings.

Pizza baked on the grill has a nice thin crust. It's a little crunchy and a little chewy, but has an overall great consistency. The heat a grill can produce closely mimics a wood fired oven, so the crust is completely different than a pizza made in a conventional oven. That makes a big difference. Because you can roll out a flat bread pizza to be any shape you want, they come off the grill in all kinds of quirky formations. I think that's kind of fun.

The original concept of this post was for me to whip up some flat breads at my house and then write a blog about the entire process. That was, until, the Social Media Director, Brian, one-upped me.

You know what would be cool? If you did this in the park next door. For the entire company.

I like to cook, but I have never handled cooking and expediting food for a crowd as large as the House Party party cats. I figured it would be an interesting challenge, so I was immediately up for it. Last Thursday, we BBQd some pizza. Thirty five of them to be exact.

Here are the three components you need.

  • Pizza dough - I'm a big proponent of making everything from scratch, but making your own pizza dough can be messy and a real pain in your "Party Pack." Sometimes your local pizzeria will sell you bags of pre-made dough. I always get dough made from the bakery at the supermarket. It's usually located in the dairy aisle for less than two dollars a bag.
  • Cheese - fresh mozzarella works best, but it's fun to get creative with other varieties.
  • Toppings - think veggies, meats, etc.

I went with three styles of pizza. A traditional red sauce and cheese, BBQ chicken, and buffalo chicken varieties. I made the red sauce and buffalo chicken sauce myself the night before. I used store bought BBQ sauce because I ran out of time. You can use store-bought sauces, I just prefer to make my own.

In order to cook nearly 40 flat breads, I needed some volunteers to help roll out the dough while I fired up the coals on three separate BBQs in the park. Luckily, I had plenty of help. Quick tip: if you don't have a dough roller handy, a wine bottle works perfectly fine. Just don't drop it on the floor.

Once the dough arrived at the park, it was time to start grilling. I brushed each piece of dough with some olive oil. This avoids any dough sticking to the grill, although if you're using a clean grill this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Once the dough is on the grill, you have about 1-2 minutes of cooking time before you need to flip it. In the meantime, you'll want to slather some olive oil on the exposed side.

Once the dough starts to puff up and the edges become crispy, flip the dough with a spatula. Immediately add your sauce, cheese and toppings and leave on the grill until your cheese is melted and the toppings have married nicely. Some people prefer to remove the flat breads from the grill, add the toppings, then put them back on the grill. I had all my ingredients nicely prepped, and I always prefer to add toppings immediately after the flip.

Here are some photos of flat breads in various states of completion.

The dough on the left is ready to be flipped. The pizzas on the right are almost ready to serve.

Buffalo chicken pizza, my personal favorite.

Our pizza party went off without a hitch, sort of. My colleagues seemed pretty happy with the pizza; every single flat bread was devoured. Master of all things graphical, Michael, told me he ranked this pizza in his top-ten all-time pizzas. If he hadn't had six slices, I'd have been a bit skeptical about that compliment since we're pals. That was really nice to hear, though. I proved to myself that, with help from my colleagues, I could take on the task of dishing out 35 pizzas in a semi-timely manner. I think the outing was an all around success.

Of course, as soon as the last pizza came off the grill, mother nature decided to dump a storm on the remaining lunchers. But on the bright side, I didn't have to worry about putting the coals out.

Have you ever grilled something unusual on the BBQ? Let us know!

About the Author: Larry is a friend of House Party. Larry currently resides in the East Bay region of California. He enjoys all things wine related, and spends a lot of his free time in Napa and Sonoma learning about wine. Larry is also a Mixed Martial Arts enthusiast. He enjoys practicing, watching, analyzing and commentating on all things MMA. Larry also enjoys cooking, fine dining, entertaining and hanging out with Maximus, his Jack Russell Terrier.

Lord Stanley and his cup

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