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Season 17, Episode 23 Recap: How to Make the Best Grilled Pizza

Plus, Jack talks olive oil, Lisa reviews avocado tools, and Tim makes shredded chicken tacos.
By Published June 12, 2017

This episode of America’s Test Kitchen opens with hosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison talking about pizza. “By my calculations, we’ve made roughly 20,000 slices of pizza right here in the test kitchen,” says Julia, before she and Dan Souza get to work on a recipe for Grilled Pizza. Later, Jack Bishop challenges Julia to a taste test of olive oil. Then, Lisa McManus reviews avocado gadgets, and finally Tim Chin shows Bridget how to make Shredded Chicken Tacos.

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America's Test Kitchen TV

"Fast Food Makeovers"

On this episode of ATK TV, Dan makes the best version of grilled pizza, Jack talks olive oil, Lisa reviews avocado tools, & Tim makes shredded chicken tacos.  
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Five Takeaways from the Episode

1. When Grilling Pizza, Rethink the Dough: If you try to cook regular pizza dough on the grill, the pie will puff up in the center, making it difficult for toppings to cling to the surface. The center of the pizza also won’t cook through, so you’ll have less of a pizza, and more of a raw dough disc. Yuck! The key? Use less yeast. Less yeast equals less rise, resulting in a flatter grilled pizza.

2. Rest Before You Roll: When gluten strands first form in your pizza dough, they have a curly shape that forces the dough to snap back when you attempt to roll it out. As the dough rests, active enzymes begin snipping those strands into shorter pieces, leaving you with a more workable, rollable dough.

3. Only Buy Olive Oil Harvested Within the Last Year: After 12 months, the oil starts to go downhill, eventually becoming rancid. Also, buy olive oil that comes in dark green bottles. Clear bottles let light in, and that light damages the oil. Lastly, buy oil that comes from a single source. If the bottle says it’s made from oils from multiple countries, it means it’s probably industrial and made by mixing a bunch of different oils together. Not great!

4. Avocado Gadgets Aren’t Worth Your Money: We’re eating a lot of avocados in America—about a billion in total last year alone, which is twice as many as we ate a decade ago! A cottage industry of avocado gadgets has cropped up alongside the uptick in consumption. Few (if any) of those gadgets are worth your money, however, since none of the products we tested could accomplish all of the steps involved in cutting up an avocado. In the end, all you really need is a good chef’s knife.

5. For the Best Chicken Tacos, Overcook Your Thighs: Chicken thighs have pockets of fat, collagen, and connective tissue that break down during cooking and leave you with tender meat. They’re also able to withstand higher heat and longer cooking times—so you’re not in danger of overcooking, even when you cook them to 195 degrees, like we do in our recipe. (Technically, chicken thighs are cooked through when they hit 175 degrees.) At that higher temperature, that connective tissue and collagen converts to gelatin, which makes the meat even more shreddable than they are at 175 degrees.

Quote of the Week: “When I started working here 1,000 years ago, you couldn’t find chipotles in adobo sauce at supermarkets, but these days they’re very available. Now, chipotle chiles are simply jalapeños that have been smoked. So they have a really deep, earthy flavor. I like to think of them as the bacon of the vegetable world.” —Bridget Lancaster on chipotles

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