I’ve spent a lot of time lately cooking outside on the grill while I wait for my new oven to arrive. Fortunately, I benefit from my college-age son’s vast experience at this. He has taught me that if you are really doing it right, barbecue can be the centerpiece activity for your family or your guests Don’t just cook outside, party outside! Take your time. Don’t try to do 5 other things. You wait until the coals are really ready. You gather your people in comfortable chairs by the grill so they can enjoy the smells and watch the lusciousness emerge. Everybody loves to help, even if it is just to offer advice!
To really pull people into the scene, I love to do individual pizzas, where everyone assembles their own from an assortment of ingredients. For an easy crust, I use Basson Pita Bread. It stands up to the coals well without charring, and crisps up perfectly after 20 minutes on a low grill. You can use any sauce you like, but I like a raw sauce where the flavors are bright and stand up to the smokey grilled flavor of the crust. I also enjoy using a good no-oil barbecue sauce. Spoon your finished sauce onto the pitas, lay out your array of ingredients and let your eaters make their masterpieces. Grill for about 20 minutes on low heat, covered, checking often to be sure your coals are not too hot for the bread. Use the indirect method of grilling if possible, discussed here at BBQ University. With this pita bread and the correct low heat, you will not need to oil the grill, making this an Esselstyn diet success.
Quick no-cook tomato sauce:
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBSP agave or maple syrup
1 tsp salt
dash ground chipotle or black pepper to taste
Process all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth.
Set out your pizza toppings. For the most part, be sure you have pre-cooked the toppings, since they will not be on the grill long enough to cook. I’ve found a couple successful exceptions: finely chopped garlic, thinly slice red onion, and of course, fresh sliced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes. Some of my favorite combinations are here:
BBQ sauce with Smoked Tomato Field Roast, pan-grilled onions, broth-sautéed sliced sweet potato/yam, sunflower seeds and fresh chopped basil
Tomato sauce with fresh sliced tomato, broth-sautéed sliced fennel root, chopped garlic, steamed snow peas, fresh chopped parsley and toasted walnuts
Sun-dried tomato (water packed or re-hydrated dried), chopped artichoke hearts and toasted walnuts w/fresh chopped herbs (basil, mint, parsley)
Tomato sauce with sautéed wild mushrooms and fresh herbs