This is sometimes the trickiest part. How DO you get the lovingly assembled arrangement of raw dough and toppings into the oven? Sling shot?
Let me advise against that method.
Instead, I’d like to offer:
Two Methods for Getting an Uncooked Pizza into Your Oven
Method 1: The Pizza Peel
A pizza peel is that wooden or metal paddle-like utensil, shown below. I prefer the wooden ones. I like to sprinkle mine with all-purpose flour and then stretch out my dough directly onto the peel.
I don’t like to use too much flour, but just a light dusting. Keep in mind that dough is sticky, so you may have to scoot some more flour under your masterpiece to make sure it doesn’t stick. How to tell? Give your pizza a little shake on the peel. If it moves, you’re good. If it doesn’t EGADS!
No, wait, don’t panic. Seriously, all is not lost. Place the peel calmly back on the table. Now lift the edges of your pizza and coax some more flour under there. Then shake. Keep going until you get movement. On hot, humid days, things are stickier than usual, so you may need more flour.
Method 2: The Rimmed Baking Sheet
I have a clattering arrangement of baking sheets in my own kitchen. For pizza, I line a 12″x18″ baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, I oil the parchment paper with a little olive oil.
Next, I place my dough on the oiled parchment, stretch and top it.
The parchment makes for easy removal after baking. In fact, you can just lift up the corners of the parchment and remove your baked pie to a cutting board in one piece.
No parchment? Make sure you oil your baking sheet very well. I have had to pry pizzas from baking sheets before. It’s not pretty.
What About the Grill? I’m also going to offer you:
My Preferred Method for Cooking Pizza on the Grill
The first step is to be prepared. I employ a flipping method (much like a pancake) for my grilled pizzas. Because of this, it’s not possible to top them before I place them on the grill. So while this adds a level of complication and danger (kind of), it’s really worth it. The crust turns out so fluffy and moist. It’s ALMOST as good as a wood-fired oven.
Make sure to get your grill hot. My grill goes over 600°F, so I get it there.
Next, I portion out all my toppings on a small table next to the grill, making sure everything is ready to go.
Then I collect my metal tongs, metal spatula, and oven mitt (detailed in this post about Pizza Tools).
I oil a baking sheet and place the dough on the oiled sheet. No parchment here. I stretch out the dough onto the oiled baking sheet, and this time, I make sure to oil BOTH sides of the dough. When grilling, I always follow the rule: OIL THE FOOD, NOT THE GRILL GRATE. Please follow this rule with pizza.
Once stretched and oiled, I flip the dough onto the grill. It’s pretty hard to get the dough to stay round on the grill. I usually manage an oblong or rectangular shape. It’s ok.
I close the lid to the grill and cook it for 2 minutes.
Open the lid, and using your tongs and spatula, lift the dough away from the grate and flip the pizza dough to the other side. Feel free to use the oven mitt here. Things are HOT.
Now I place on the toppings as quickly as I can.
Close the lid, and cook another 2 minutes.
Open the lid and using your metal grilling tools, slide the pizza from the grill to a cutting board.