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in the kitchen with: michael harlan turkell’s grilled pizzas

by Kristina Gill


Fourth of July means barbecue to me, and every year I think of great recipes for the grill.  I had never even thought about grilled pizza until food photographer Michael Harlan Turkell shared his enthusiasm for his specialty, the 111G House Pie, or  grilled pizza with preserved lemon, smoked mozzarella, and jalapeño pepper.  As a bonus, if you want to keep grilling the entire weekend, he has also included another topping idea:  grilled corn and cotija with cayenne, lime, and salted butter.  Beware, Michael suggests chilling his dough overnight or at least 6-8 hours, so you need a head start (or just buy the dough already made)!  He has included his dough recipe so you can make a huge batch and invite your guests to make their own as well, or you can try some the ideas from our archives by Elana Iaciofano and Amanda Hesser.  Don’t forget to have a cruise through the Behind the Bar archive as well, if you want to add some drinks to the offerings!  Happy Fourth!  –Kristina

About Michael

Michael Harlan Turkell, a once aspiring chef, now freelance photographer, has been photo editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, in which his recurring BACK OF THE HOUSE series appeared from 2006 – 2011. Michael was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in Visual Storytelling for his series, included in 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers V2, (PowerHouse Books), received a Photo District News Photo Annual Award, and has had his photos printed in an array of publications, and cookbooks.  His work can be seen in the The New Brooklyn Cookbook, Clinton Street Baking Co.’s cookbook, Simple Food, Big Flavor with Chef Aarón Sanchez, Beginnings by Chris Cosentino to name only a few of his titles.  You can listen to his radio show on Heritage Radio Network called The Food Seen, in which he brings together guests working at the intersection of food and art, and was a finalist for the 2012 Stitcher Awards. You can also find Michael on twitter at @harlanturk.

See how Michael makes his grilled pizzas after the jump!






Grilled Pizza
(images by Shaun Liboon)


  • 3 cups bread flour, or other high gluten flour
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup cold water
  • drizzle of oil olive to coat formed dough


  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine flour, salt, and yeast
  2. Using the bread hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in cold water until it’s incorporated into flour mixture.
  3. The bottom of mixer should be clear of flour. If it isn’t add a little more water. If there’s water still sloshing around, add more flour a little at a time.
  4. Mix for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and roll into balls. Put in an air-tight container and coat lightly with olive oil.
  6. Chill overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before you want to use it.

Prepare the dough for the grill


  1. Lightly flour the dough so that it’s not tacky to the touch.
  2. Stretch out the dough by draping it over closed fists, and gently pulling outward from the center, slowly moving out toward the edges.
  3. Let the dough stretch naturally, but don’t let it get too thin.
  4. Place the dough on the grill over medium heat.
  5. Cook on one side until there are grill marks, and the dough feels firm to the touch.
  6. Flip over, and give the dough a quick bake, just until it’s cooked through.
  7. Remove crust from grill and let sit until cool to the touch.
  8. Place toppings (at room temp or colder) on the crust and return the pizza to the grill over medium heat.
  9. Cook until the ingredients are warmed through and the cheese is melted.
  10. Transfer to a cutting board, wait a few minutes before slicing to allow cheese to set.

111G HOUSE PIE: Preserved Lemon, Smoked Mozzarella, Jalapeño

  • 1/4 preserved lemon
  • 1/2 lb smoked mozzarella
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 T  good olive oil

To prepare the preserved lemon, remove pulp, reserving only the peel. Finely chop the peel.  Slice the smoked mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Thinly slice the jalapeño. For less heat, remove the seed from the jalapeño. Mix the preserved lemon with olive oil and spread a thin layer of the mixture on the grilled dough. Place mozzarella on pie, leaving spaces between the slices so that the crust doesn’t get soggy. Scatter the sliced jalopeño over the cheese. Place the piece on the grill over medium heat. Close lid and let the pizza cook until the cheese is melted. Let rest a few minutes before cutting.
Grilled Corn, Salted Butter, Cotija, Cayenne, Lime

  • 3 ears of corn, with husks on
  • 2 T salted butter
  • 1/2 C cotija cheese, shredded
  • 1 t cayenne
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Over medium heat, grill the corn in the husks until the kernels are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the grille and let sit until cool to the touch. Cut the kernels off the cobs and put in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the salted butter, cotija cheese and cayenne to the corn and toss until evenly distributed.  Spread the mixture evenly over the grilled dough and return the pizza to the grill over medium head. Cook until warm throughout. While the pizza is cooking, grill the lime quarters until they have a little color.  Remove the pizza from the grill. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. After a few minutes, cut the pie into slices, and serve with a wedge of grilled lime to squeeze over the top of the pizza.





Why Michael Loves this Recipe

My first job in food was at a pizza shop during high school. I wasn’t allowed to make the pizzas in the beginning, but after years behind the counter, I was intrigued to try and make my own.   Ever since, it has become an obsession.  Grilling is great, keeps your house cool, you can hang with friends while doing so, and with pizza, it adds a little smokiness and depth, so that’s why I try to use bigger, brighter flavors to complement, like these two pizzas. Believe you me, a margarita pie tastes great too, but the grilled dough is  such a fun blank canvas, it’s more fun to think outside of the traditional pie.  I hold pizza parties at my house every Saturday after Thanksgiving, pulling 20-30 pies from my home oven, often at least a dozen different types. Highlights include the “Bahn Mizza”, “Everything Bagel”, “Fried Chicken and Cheddar”, the “Reuben”, the “Lobster Roll”, the “Clams Casino”, the “Aligot” and in line for this year’s the “Cacio e Pepe”.  (Portrait by Shannon Sturgis)


Suggested For You


  • Dear Michael: Words fail me so I resort to social media’s OMG, OMG! re: ALL of the above! Kudos my young friend. BTW, I remember you sweating behind the counter at that pizza joint in Croton… [Just brainstormed some pizza names for you to jumpstart new recipes… “No-Sweat” Pizza; “Jesus” Pizza; “Pisa” Pizza; “e-Pizza.” On your mark, get set, GO! Wonderful portrait of you! [Almost as good as my drawing!!!! one of my best.]

  • Quick question – does the dough really use a full TABLESPOON of yeast and salt? I tried a bread recipe once with a tablespoon of salt, and it was inedible. (Large T generally means tablespoon, but I wanted to triple check.)


  • Tip for quick meals: Make a batch (or two or three) of dough. Cook the dough (lines on one side, barely cooked on the other) in individual-size rounds. Let the crusts cool, and then pop them in the freezer. When you want an easy meal, just toss whatever veggies you have lying around on a crust and throw it on the grill.

    I’ve also had pizza parties in which guests bring toppings and I supply the crusts. Each person makes his or her own pizza, and I grill them up.

  • I fixed this over the weekend and am also wondering about the salt. It was even too salty for my husband, who loves salt. I took it to mean a tablespoon of salt, and if that IS the case, would it still work OK to cut the salt in half? Loved the texture of the crust.

  • Thanks you all for the kind words. re: salt, I do use 1 tablespoon, of fine sea salt, usually Baleine brand. You can certainly cut down on the amount of salt/yeast but would keep the ratio 1:1. The less younuse of those two ingredients, the longer it should ferment, and the more bready/dense it may be. You can try keeping it at 1 T and adding a bit more water to dilute the dough as well. Hope that helps!