Lifestyle | Health & Wellness

Cooking Pizza Outdoors: Grills, Campfires & Outdoor Pizza Ovens

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This article is about all the different ways you can use live fire outdoors to make pizza, including using your grill (charcoal or propane), in a campfire, and using an outdoor pizza oven. If you are looking for classic Low FODMAP Grilled Pizza, cooked directly on the grates, then click on over to that recipe. 

feature image for cooking pizza outdoors

Pizza + Fire = Heaven

Why cook your pizza out of doors? Because we can! It isn’t meant to be a riddle. Truly it is because pizza cooked with live fire has flavor that you just cannot get in a home oven. And, as you will see with the campfire version, it does not have to be too involved.

Cooking Pizza With Your Grill

I admit, I have a pet peeve when folks talk about grilled pizza and what they are referencing is pizza being cooked using a grill, but not directly on the grates: that’s a true grilled pizzaWe have a Low FODMAP Grilled Pizza recipe for you, but it was about time I addressed what so many of you want – help using your grill to make a pizza, without the exacting nature of what true grilled pizza demands.

Whether you have a charcoal grill or gas (natural or propane) you can make pizza and it will be somewhat imbued with that fantastic smoky flavor that only comes from live fire and smoke. Before we get to ingredient recommendations, let’s talk equipment.

The Pizza Cooking Surface

In addition to whatever you typically use to get your fire going, you will need the right pizza cooking surface. You will find folks who swear by one or another, and it will come down to your personal preferences to some degree. But I have tried many and will offer some direction.

Caveat: You can use a cast-iron skillet on your grill, (in addition your campfire); just make sure that the grill lid can close and encase the entire pan, including handle, which might not be the case for many grills.

For Charcoal Fueled Grills

For charcoal grills these are the basic choices: stone, ceramic, iron and steel. Here are ones we like, all of which conduct heat quite well and come in a variety of price ranges and sizes. In terms of size, you want a surface that fits in your grill, allowing the top to close, and also allowing space all-around for air flow.

  • Soapstone Pizza Stone – this one comes in 10-inch (25 cm), 12-inch (30.5 cm), 14-inch (35.5 cm), 16-inch (40.5 cm) and 18-inch (46 cm) sizes, allowing you to tailor your purchase to your needs (the interior dimension of your grill).
  • Cast Iron – we love cooking with cast iron indoors and out and a flat cast-iron surface for pizza is no exception. (More on using a skillet down below in the Campfire section).
  • Ceramic Disc With Frame – this has the best of both worlds: a ceramic disc within a metal frame.
  • Pizza Steel – if you have been following our oven cooked low FODMAP pizza saga you know that I simply love my Baking Steel (read more here). Use it on the grill!
hot baked pizza on a pizza stone
Every kitchen and grill tool collection should have a pizza stone.

For Kamado-Style Grills

Kamado-style grills, like The Big Green Egg, have the advantage of holding heat evenly and you could, in theory, use any of the other suggestions made in this section, however, the grilling space on these grills is often smaller, so make sure whatever you buy fits your grill.

  • Big Green Egg – if you have this brand kamado, look no further than the ceramic pizza stone that they make for their grills.
  • Kamado Joe – this brand also has their own pizza stone, but it is a more elaborate set-up (we love it) and allows you to keep the top of the kamado closed while you slide the pizzas in and out. This is a huge boon to keeping the high temperatures up in your grill.

For Gas Fueled Grills

If you have a propane or natural gas grill, you can use any of the suggestions made above for charcoal grills, but we also happen to like this stone set-up, however, they only recommend it for gas and not charcoal.

Campfire Pizza

We admit it, when we think about campfires and food, we think s’mores first and foremost – and luckily for you we have several recipes, from classic-style to cookiescupcakes and one-bowl bars. But now that we have made pizza in a campfire it is running a close second for favorite campfire food. 

Making pizza in a campfire is easy, as long as you have a cast-iron skillet. We like a 12-inch (30.5 cm) skillet, but the size is up to you. There are two approaches we like; #1 is for the more cautious, and #2 is for those comfortable around fire and we think gives better results. Have your campfire made, the coals should be nice and ashy and have a grate in place.

  • Campfire Pizza Technique #1: Oil your cast iron pan and use your fingers to press the prepared pizza dough out to the edges, directly in the pan. Brush the top with olive oil. Place on cooking grate and cook until the bottom of the crust is light golden brown. Remove pan from fire, use tongs to flip the crust over and add your sauce, cheese and toppings. Replace over fire and cook until bottom is crispy, and toppings are bubbly. If needed, place some foil tented over the top of the pizza to retain heat and help melt the cheese. 
  • Campfire Pizza Technique #2: Oil your cast iron pan and preheat it on your grate over the fire. Meanwhile, pat out your prepared dough and drag onto a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal. You have to make sure the size of your crust will fit inside the pan. Use the peel to place crust into pan (this is the part that takes finesse and being comfortable interacting with a blazing hot pan). Cook until the bottom of the crust is light golden brown. Remove pan from fire, use tongs to flip the crust over and add your sauce, cheese and toppings. Replace over fire and cook until bottom is crispy, and toppings are bubbly. If needed, place some foil tented over the top of the pizza to retain heat and help melt the cheese. 

If you are a gadget person, check out this contraption from Lodge, who make cast iron pans that I love and use every day in our Test Kitchen. Their products are well made and well-priced.

overhead shot of man cutting pizza in a cast iron skillet
You can make fabulous grilled pizza directly in a cast iron pan.

Outdoor Pizza Ovens

We love cooking pizza outdoors in a made-for-the-purpose pizza oven. We first told you about our wood-fired adventures in our recipe for Wood-Fired Low FODMAP Neapolitan-Style Pizza, and we do suggest you read that recipe first. There is a ton of info on prepping your doughoven and working with super high heat in general.

Our Low FODMAP Pizza Ingredient & Equipment article has details on many different outdoor ovens.

When it comes to outdoor ovens, we are partial to the Ooni brand. We began our love affair with the Ooni Pro, but this time around we gave the Ooni Karu 16-inch Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven a test drive, and we are smitten. According to Ooni, this oven is the first and only pizza oven to be ‘Recommended for Domestic Use’ by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the acclaimed international authority on true Neapolitan pizza. Now, since most of us are not in Naples, this allows us to come as close to true Neapolitan pizza as possible, which I will always respectfully call Neapolitan-Style.

The multi-fuel aspect means you can use hardwood (or even charcoal), or you can use gas. You get to be in charge and choose. Want the incomparable flavor of hardwood and charcoal? Go that route. Hankering for pizza, but out of hardwood? Just hook up the Ooni Karu 16 Gas Burner. Any which way you can easily get this oven up to 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes. Cooking at these high temperatures demands a particular dough, which we will discuss below.

It has a mounted digital thermometer that displays internal ambient oven temperature so you can always keep track of your temp (and I always have an infrared thermometer around), and the large cooking area fits up to 16-inch (40.5 cm) pizzas and so many other foods – standing rib roast or fire-roasted chicken wings anyone? 

Low FODMAP Pizza Ingredients For Live Fire Cooking

The main ingredients for our low FODMAP outdoor pizza cooking adventures are crust, sauce and toppings. Sounds simple, right? It is not that complicated but depending on which approach you are taking – charcoal grill, campfire or 900°F (500°C) oven – your needs will be different when it comes to the crust. Let’s discuss that first.

Pick Your Pizza Crust

For low FODMAP pizza you have choices among gluten-free, sourdough and long-fermented doughs, but not all work well with every cooking style, so that should be determined first. Check out our grid below. The recipes mentioned in the grid are ours and found elsewhere on the site. You might have to make adjustments to the original recipes to accommodate various cooking techniques.

Type of DoughCharcoal GrillGasGrillCampfireHigh Temp. Outdoor Pizza Oven
Easy Pizza Dough✅ *✅ *✅ *
Pizza Dough 2.0
Sourdough Pizza Dough
Grilled Pizza DoughN/AN/AN/AN/A
72-Hour Ferment Pizza Dough
Deep-Dish Pizza Dough✅ **✅ **✅ **
Neapolitan Style Pizza Dough
LOFO Premade Pizza Crusts✅ ***✅ ***✅ ***
* If you make our Easy Pizza Dough and par-bake the crusts through step 9, you can then use the parbaked crusts on a charcoal or gas grill stone or metal surafce, or in a campfire skillet
** You could try to make deep-dish pizza in a charcoal grill, gas grill or in a campfire, but you will have to do some finagling on your own and watch the temp. You need a more moderate temperature and longer cooking time
*** Your approach will depend on your purchased low FODMAP crust: some are much thicker or thinner than others and also, some might be too large for your campfire skillet

More On Low FODMAP Pizza

Here, at a glance, are the links you need. Not all of these apply to cooking in a high heat oven, but we figure you’d want all the pizza info at hand:

The Takeaway

Making low FODMAP pizza out of doors is not only fun; there are also many ways to approach it. From cooking over a campfire – in your yard or while camping – to using your gas or propane grill, or even a wood-fired pizza oven made for the purpose, we have all the recipes and guidance you need.

Low FODMAP pizza can range from gluten-free to sourdough, a long 72-hour ferment dough to deep-dish,so whatever your pizza desires, we can show you how to enjoy it, while remaining low FODMAP. And don’t forget your toppings! You can have your pepperoni!

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