I began perfecting homemade pizza years ago and when we started taking George camping I knew I needed to perfect Campfire Pizza as well. We haven’t yet arrived at “perfect,” but it’s still pretty darn good!
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We live in a small town that has the lion’s share of Mexican restaurants but is seriously lacking in pizza joints. Besides the big 4 chain take-out spots, we don’t have any local, GOOD, sit-down pizza parlors. A few have come and gone but nothing has had staying power so we’ve had to learn to make good pizza at home.
Having tastes some incredible pizzas across Europe and the US, I am a bit of a pizza snob. I like my crust both crispy and chewy, lots of sauce and you can never have enough cheese. I can’t stand pizza that tastes like cardboard or pizza that’s so sweet it could be a dessert. Thus I challenged myself to make such a great pizza at home that we didn’t miss take-out pizza.
After several months, and maybe even years, I settled on a crust recipe that was both yummy and consistent and for the last five or six years, we’ve been making pizza at home at least once a week.
Last summer, I challenged myself once again. This time I was tasked with creating a delicious campfire pizza. I already had the recipe down pat so the challenge was really about how to cook it.
Cooking Campfire Pizza
When cooking pizza while camping, you really have four options.
- Cook over a wood fire.
- Cook over charcoal briquettes.
- Cook in a dutch oven.
- Cook on a grill.
Both our travel grill and our largest dutch oven were too small to cook a family-sized pizza. I would have had to cook two which would have been twice the work. A campfire and charcoal are both about the same but I opted for charcoal for ease and convenience. It’s much easier to regulate the temperature using briquettes and the prep time is quicker. Be sure to use a fire pit with sides for safety and so you can create an oven-like effect.
If you use a campfire, you want the fire to burn down to the coals. I felt it was quicker and easier to heat a mess of briquettes and save the firewood for later.
Tools for Cooking Pizza Over a Campfire
- Charcoal chimney starter
- Cast Iron Pizza Pan
- Long-handled tongs
- Dutch Oven Cook Stand Tool
- Pizza Wheel Cutter
How to Cook a Campfire Pizza
You can use your favorite homemade pizza recipe but I highly recommend this one. This recipe is easy to make and the dough freezes super well. We just toss a ball of the frozen dough into our camper fridge and use it, along with our favorite toppings, within the first day or two of camping.
Here is how to make a pizza while camping:
- Step 1. Fill your charcoal chimney and light the charcoal. These will take at least 30 minutes to heat up, so plan accordingly.
- Step 2. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil onto your cast iron pizza pan and spread it around with a brush or a paper towel.
- Step 3. Roll or stretch your pizza dough and place it onto the pan. Top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Be careful not to overload it.
- Step 4. In the firepit (close to at least one wall) use tongs to place about 20 briquettes close together in a circle and set the Dutch Oven Stand Tool over top of them. Place another 20-30 briquettes around the stand extending at least as far as the diameter of your pizza pan. (If you do not have the stand tool you can set the pizza pan directly onto the briquettes or create a stand with some rocks.)
- Step 5. Place the pizza pan and raw pizza onto the stand over the charcoal.
- Step 6. Tent the area with foil or use old cookie sheets to create an oven-like environment.
- Step 7. Cook the pizza for about 30-40 minutes or until the crust is cooked and the cheese is melted. You may need to add additional charcoal if it is cold or windy.
Tips for Cooking Pizza Over Fire
Be Flexible – Even though we have made this pizza several times now it’s always a bit of trial and error. Between weather, wind, and whatever other variables there are–things never go 100% as expected.
Watch For Hot Spots – I almost always notice that there are “hot spots” in my little cooking space and one side of the crust may begin to char quicker than the rest of the pizza is cooking. Simply use your long-handled tongs to turn the pizza in the pan so it cooks evenly.
Be Prepared for Long Cook Times – I can bake a pizza in my home oven in about 6 minutes. I am always amazed at how long it takes for campfire pizza to cook.
Don’t Forget Your Pizza Cutter – A pizza wheel cutter will make quick work of slicing a pizza. Trying to cut it with a knife is next to impossible!
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