The Complete Guide for Cooking Pizza in Your Pellet Smoker

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If you’re wanting to add a smoky twist to pizza night, we’re here to help!

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn: 

  • What equipment you’ll need to cook a pizza in your smoker
  • A step-by-step guide on cooking it
  • And much more!
cooking pizza on a smoker.

Every day is a school day when you have a smoker. It’s a more versatile piece of equipment than most people realize, and it can be used to prepare a variety of different cuisines and to give them a unique and rich flavor. 

Smoked meat, fish, vegetables, and even fruit can all be given the smoker treatment. But cooking pizza in a smoker is something that is certain to raise a few eyebrows.

We all know that a pizza is usually cooked in an oven. Some people even invest in a special wood-fired pizza oven, the sort you see in high-end Italian restaurants. This tends to impart a smoky flavor to the pizza, and that is something you can also achieve by cooking it in a smoker. 

There is an art to cooking pizza in a smoker, but if you follow these tips and have a couple of practice runs first, you will be able to wow your guests with amazingly flavorful pizzas that would be the pride of any pizzeria in America or even Italy. 

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The Right Equipment

The good news is that you won’t need to go on a spending spree buying lots of specialist equipment for cooking pizza in a smoker. There are really only two tools that you might not already have in your kitchen and these are a pizza stone and a pizza peel. 

Pizza Stone

A pizza stone is not mandatory – you can place your pizza on a baking tray or a cast iron pan instead. However, the benefit of a pizza stone is that it has a porous surface that absorbs moisture from the pizza base.

It helps ensure even heat across the entire base of your pizza and at the same time, absorbs any moisture, leaving you with that thin and crispy base that characterizes the traditional Italian-style of pizza making.

A good pizza stone will cost $30 – $40 and is money well spent. 

Pizza Peel

You will also need a pizza peel. This is a tool that looks a bit like a shovel and you use it to transport the pizza onto and off the hot stone. You can buy pizza peels in either aluminum or wood, and again, you don’t need to spend more than $40 or so.

We’ve all seen videos of what can happen when people try to improvise, juggling a pizza on kitchen spatulas. If you don’t want to be the next YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons, a pizza peel is definitely a wise investment. 

Smoker

Of course, if you’re wanting to smoke your pizza, you’ll need either need a smoker or a grill with a smoke box. Although any smoker can work for this, pellet smokers are great for pizza!

Prepare Your Own Pizza

There is nothing to prevent you from cooking a shop-bought pizza in your smoker, and if you want to do that, you can skip ahead to the cooking tips.

However, a specially prepared pizza dough made from scratch and topped with meat that has been smoked separately before the pizza is assembled will provide the best results.

There is also nothing to match the sense of pride in serving a pizza that is truly your own creation, without even using a shop-bought pizza base, so seriously consider giving it a try.

We will work step-by-step through a recipe for a smoked sausage pizza on a homemade Italian-style pizza base to give an example of this preparation method.

making homemade pizza dough.

Prepare the Dough 

A great pizza needs a great base, and the following method will produce one that will cook quickly and easily in your smoker. Note that this will produce enough dough for a 14-inch pizza, so if you require larger or smaller, adjust the quantities accordingly. 

The first step is to activate the yeast. Mix 2 tablespoons of active yeast with two tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon of sugar, and about three-quarters of a cup of warm milk. Stir them together in a bowl and leave to rise for about 15 minutes.

While the yeast is activating, you can prepare the dry ingredients for your dough. Combine one cup of flour with two teaspoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of salt, and your choice of herbs and spices. If you are not sure what to add, try a teaspoon each of paprika, oregano, black pepper, and white pepper. 

With the above ingredients well combined, you can now add the yeast mixture, along with two tablespoons of olive oil and two-thirds of a cup of warm water. Stir these with a wooden spoon and gradually add more flour until you have a dough that is soft and no longer sticky that you can form into a ball. You will need to add approximately one and a half cups of flour to achieve this consistency.

Next, coat a bowl with olive oil, add your ball of dough and leave it covered for an hour or so. While the magic is happening there, you can turn your attention to preparing the sausages. 

Smoke Your Sausages

Four good-sized Italian sausages will be adequate for a 14-inch pizza, but you can err on the side of caution and add a fifth to ensure a generous topping. As Italian sausages are quite thick, pre-smoking them will ensure they are properly cooked and will add to the richness of the flavor when the pizza is served. 

Keep in mind that the sausages will need about an hour to cook and the pizza will need another 20 minutes or so. Ensure you have sufficient pellets in your smoker so you don’t have to worry about refueling it while you are preparing your pizza. 

Preheat the smoker to 225°F then put the sausages in. If you have a meat probe, that is ideal. You are looking to achieve an internal temperature of 165°F, which will probably take about an hour of cooking. 

When the sausages are done, remove them from the smoker and set them aside on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Next, place the pizza stone inside the smoker to pre-heat and increase the temperature on your smoker to 400°F.

Now is a good time to double-check that you definitely put enough pellets in earlier, too, and to add more if necessary. 

Assemble the Pizza

This is the fun part of pizza-making. After an hour or so, your ball of dough should have doubled in size.

Dust your worktop with flour and work the dough into a circle to fit your pizza stone. You should be able to do this by hand, stretching and pressing. Try to keep the thickness as even as you can, and puff the dough out a little at the edges.

Don’t obsess too much about making it a perfect circle – remember, the high-end pizzerias charge extra for their rustic, misshapen pizzas, a point on which you should remind any amateur food critics when it comes out of the oven!

Once you are happy with your base, brush it with a thin and even coating of olive oil, and then it is really ready to take shape.

Start with one and a half cups of tomato pizza sauce or passata. This is one ingredient that you can safely buy from a store without compromising on flavor, although there are dozens of pizza sauce recipes available online if you prefer to make your own.

Cover the pizza base with an even layer of the sauce, but leave about half an inch bare all the way around. This will form your crust when the pizza cooks. 

Next, mix four teaspoons of dried garlic, pepper, and your herbs of choice, and sprinkle this mixed seasoning over the tomato.

Then add approximately one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese in a single layer, followed by a cup of sliced mushrooms and a finely chopped bell pepper.

Slice the sausages as finely as possible and add those to the top, then finish with another layer of shredded mozzarella and more seasoning according to your taste.

A great final touch is to add some fresh chopped oregano for extra flavor and color. We would recommend adding it now, but alternatively, you can add it as a garnish when the pizza is cooked, it is entirely up to you. 

homemade pizza made on a smoker

Smoke Your Pizza

Place parchment on the stone – don’t worry, it will not burn as long as the temperature remains below 450°F.

Now comes the delicate part, when you will thank yourself for buying that pizza peel. Use it to gently slide the pizza onto the parchment-covered stone. Close the smoker and leave the pizza to cook for 20 minutes. Keep the lid closed during this time in order to limit the airflow, keeping the smoke inside the smoker, where it will add flavor to your pizza. 

You will know the pizza is cooked when the cheese is bubbling and the crust turns brown. Use your trusty pizza peel to remove the pizza from the smoker and add that chopped oregano if you have not already done so. Leave it to stand for five minutes before you slice and serve. 

Related >> How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?

A Whole World of Variations

The recipe we have walked through above is just an example. The great thing about pizza is that there are infinite varieties, and you can substitute different meats, seafood, vegetables, and spices.

You can even add fruit, although we will not get drawn into the age-old debate of whether or not pineapple belongs on a pizza!

Even when it comes to the base you can experiment with different herbs and spices, as long as you keep the ratios of flour, yeast, and water approximately the same.  

If you are catering to a vegetarian palate, corn, peppers, squash, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers are all ideal pizza toppings. Capers also go particularly well with seafood. 

For the meat-eaters, you can substitute or supplement the sausages with shredded chicken, pork, pepperoni, ham, or even small meatballs. When you are starting out with raw meat, it is always best to smoke this separately before finishing it off on the pizza, just as we did in our example with the Italian sausages.

It is easy to get carried away once you get started. However, try to rein in your creative instincts and take a “less is more” approach. A pizza that is piled with every topping imaginable looks like a great idea when you prepare it, but if you overload the base, it will be more than the crust can handle, and you will end up with a soggy mess that is not properly cooked and that falls apart when sliced. 

Smoking Pre-prepared Pizzas

Creating your own pizza from basic ingredients and then cooking it in your smoker creates amazing results that family and friends will talk about for years. But admittedly, it takes some time and effort. 

Pizza is one of the nation’s favorite convenience foods, and if you have shop-bought pizzas in the freezer, you can cook these in your smoker too. It will definitely give them some extra pizzazz and flavor. The procedure is exactly the same as that described above for smoking your homemade pizza, but follow the cooking temperature and timing stated on the packaging. Even though this will say it is for oven cooking, the pizza will take about the same time to cook at the same temperature in your smoker.  

Final Thoughts on Smoking Pizza

Pizza is an Italian classic that has been adopted into an American staple. You might like yours simple with cheese, tomatoes, and herbs or loaded with meat and spices. You can choose from a thin Italian base or an American-style deep pan with thick stuffed crusts. 

However you like your pizza, you will take the flavors to a new dimension when you cook it in a smoker. Why not surprise the family by giving it a try this weekend?  

Shawn Hill

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I run this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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