A braai is not just for chops

A braai is not just for chops and wors, it’s perfect for pizza, too

Gone are the days where the much-loved braai was reserved for slabs of meat. This method of cooking pizza is perfect for summer and a great way to get everyone involved in the cooking.

A braai is not just for chops

Anyone who has ever eaten a pizza from a wood oven will know that nothing shoved in its electric counterpart will ever come close to that authentic taste.

You can try – and you might even get the base crisp as a cracker with your pizza stone – but you just won’t get the same woody deliciousness that comes from those ovens.

While Weber owners have long been wise to the magic of the little device, which can cook everything from a pizza to a pork belly, those of us who stick with the old school bricks and mortar (or barrel) version of South Africa’s favourite cooking implement have always felt a bit left out or too intimidated by the unknown.

braai pizza pizza on a braai

But I am here to tell you that you need not fret. Pizza on an old-fashioned brick braai is entirely possible and completely delicious.

For the best result, it is highly recommended that you make your own dough for the base. Don’t be intimidated by this, it’s easy and a great way to get the kids involved.

For the dough

500g of white bread flour
One sachet of instant yeast
Teaspoon of salt
Teaspoon of sugar
Glug of olive oil
Enough room temperature water to bring to a smooth dough (about 300ml)

Mix ingredients together. Knead until smooth and bouncy.  Cover, let it double in size and rise for about an hour. This will make enough for four large sized pizzas. The dough can be frozen if you don’t use it all in one go.

For the tomato base

Here you can be a bit more flexible. You can go ahead and use tomato paste all on its own or you can get a bit more adventurous and add crushed garlic, herbs and chillies to it. You can also use passata or blended tomatoes.


Plenty of mozzarella and whatever else you want on it.


For this experiment, I followed the recommendation from several braai masters who suggested that the coals be medium – you should be able to hold your hand about 10 cm above them for around seven seconds.

The alterative option, of course, is to do it the wood-fried oven way where you tango with coals that are steak braaing heat. If you’re brave, go forth and try this. But, be warned, things will happen very, very quickly.

braai for pizza

The most important part of pizza on a braai is to make sure you have all your assembly line ready. Have all your ingredients laid out and read.

Now, onto the actual process.

First, you need to get the base firmed up just a touch. It’s a tad tricky to transfer stretchy dough straight onto the grid, so this is the best method for a novice to avoid mishaps.

Put it straight onto the grid and leave for about minute until that happens. Then, transfer the base to a wooden chopping board with a little bit of flour and flip it over so that the side that was facing away from the coals is now on the bottom.

Add the tomato base, toppings and cheese and delicately transfer back onto the braai grid. Make sure the toppings aren’t piled too high – the cheese won’t melt if it is. Keep a beady eye on the bottom of the grid, if the base starts to go a bit too black, remove and finish it off under the grill – if it’s your first time trying this method, you might have to go this route. Don’t be ashamed, it’s a learning process. With my first attempt – I had to resort to the grill because I played Jenga with the toppings. It was still delicious.

braai pizza how to cook pizza on a braai

With my first attempt – I had to resort to the grill because I played Jenga with the toppings. It was still delicious. I tried using a skottel braai lid to cover and retain some heat as shown in the picture above, but it didn’t quite work. The important thing to remember with this method is that it’s a learning process… with delicious results almost every time.