Pizza Lab #22: Grilled Pineapple Pizza
Well, it’s officially Fall. We’ve been trying to wring out every ounce left of this Summer, for all it had left. The past few weeks have been busy, but Meg A. and I still managed to fit in one last summery Pizza Lab. Of course at this point it’s become a running joke since every time we try to grill a pizza, we tend to misjudge our time and end up grilling in the dark. This time we vowed to avoid that and finally do a barbecue grill pizza during daylight hours!
We were not successful.
However despite our scheduling ineptitude we managed to put together a really tasty, unique pie that certainly was a good way to see off the end of the summertime. Here’s Pizza Lab #22, Grilled Pineapple Pizza!
A lot of people like to joke around about how only creepers eat pineapple on pizzas, or that it’s some bizarre California thing. Truth be told, pineapple actually works pretty well on pizza regardless of how weird or Californian you are. I suppose that’s likely because it seems odd pairing a sweet fruit with delicious savory umami foods like meat and tomatoes, on your pie. The few times I’ve eaten a regular pineapple pizza, it really didn’t even stand out that much, instead it just added a sweet tang to the pizza. I should stop here though since our pizza wasn’t necessarily a true pineapple pizza that most people think of. Instead we took our own spin on the idea, creating something original and unique.
For our pizza we decided to simulate a shish kebab meal by combining pineapple with chicken. Shish kebab seemed appropriate since it’s delicious and totally Summer. Pineapple goes surprisingly well with savory dishes when it’s cooked, since the sugars caramelize and create a sweet, dark flavor that complements virtually everything. As such, we started by grilling chicken and pineapple slices. As you can see, grilled pineapple is whimsical as hell. When it was all done, the chicken was sliced up, but the pineapple remained intact
Keeping in tow with the idea of a shish kebab dish, we prepared a sweet glaze to be used instead of tomato sauce. Another reason pineapple works so well in grilled dishes is because its juice works so well in sauces. The high sugar content and tangy flavor practically helps homemade barbecue sauces happen automatically. That, in tandem with several ingredients like hoisin sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and various spices, produced an awesome marinade glaze to be spooned onto the pie.
To change things up, we opted for Colby Jack cheese as a topping since we wanted a mild, sweeter cheese to complement the tang of the rest of the pie. If you’re curious, Colby Jack is merely a collaborative cheese made up of both, well, Colby and Jack cheese. The chicken was layered onto the pizza, followed by the cheese, and lastly the pineapples were added on top.
As with all of our grilled pizza, the crust was par-baked for approximately 5 minutes just to firm it up enough to stand on its own. As we’ve said before, if you place a limp, uncooked dough onto a grated grill, you’re gonna have a bad time. Obviously the crust cooked on its own first, before having its toppings placed on a la the above picture. Once it was firm and topped, it took a trip to our barbecue grill.
Once on the grill, a low heat was good enough to cook the dough and give it the nice, smoky, crispness on the outside dough. Considering everything else was already cooked, grilling the pizza really only has two do two things: melt the cheese (which takes barely minutes) and cook the dough. With the cover down, we grilled it for about 10 minutes before removing.
In the end, Grilled Pineapple Pizza was a hit, offering some of my favorite Summer food flavors combined into one pie. Actually, it was relatively similar to a barbecued chicken pizza due to the sauce having the same tang to it that many BBQ sauces do. If anything we could have possibly cooked the pineapples a bit longer since they were a tad undercooked on the inside, though that’s not saying much considering fruit doesn’t generally get cooked in the first place. It’s tricky since the high heat of grills tends to scorch foods easily, and the fruity flesh of the pineapple was very susceptible to this. You want those nice char lines on your food, but you also don’t want it blackened either since it ruins the flavor and causes cancer or something. That aside, the pineapple not being very tender wasn’t a tremendous deal. It still added the flavor it needed to and the pizza as a whole tasted great.