Fire Life

Grilled Fire House Pizza

By Kipp Rix

After moving to Farmington, I was missing the pizza we use to get from a restaurant in El Paso. The “Greenery” served a pizza they called the “Aye Gambri,” a thin-crust pizza with basil pesto, artichoke hearts, shrimp, and cheese. I developed the crust to develop a deeper flavor and changed the topping slightly, but the soul of the pizza remains. The dough can be prepared in advance to save prep time at the station. I cook all my pizzas on the outdoor grill; it gives the effect and flavor of being cooked in a wood-burning oven.

Dough (will make 1 regular or 2 thin-crust pizzas):

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons basil, crushed
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 cup water (heated to 95°F)
2 packs active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Combine sugar and honey to water, stir till dissolved.
2. Add yeast and set aside in warm, draft-free area to proof. Liquid should form a layer of foam within 4-5 minutes. If no foam is present, redo liquid portion. Water should not be raised above 100°F, as higher temperatures will kill yeast.
3. Sift flour, salt, garlic, basil, and chili powder together.
4. Add water/yeast mixture, and mix until firm dough forms that is not sticky. Knead dough for 4-5 minutes.
5. Form dough into ball. Lightly coat bowl and dough ball with olive oil.
6. Place dough in bowl and cover loosely; allow to sit 30-45 minutes or until dough doubles in size in warm, draft-free area.
7. Knead dough once again and allow to rise second time.
8. Liberally coat the countertop or large cutting board with flour to keep the dough from sticking when rolling out the dough; you may need to lightly dust the dough and rolling pin with flour as well.

Pizza Topping (for 2 thin-crust pizzas):
1 8-oz. jar basil pesto
1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers
2 6-oz. cans artichoke hearts
½ pound small shrimp (peeled and cooked)
1 cup chopped green olives
1 pound 2% reduced fat grated mozzarella cheese


1. Roll out pizza crusts to fit large round pizza pans (I use the pans that are perforated, creating a truly crispy crust).
2. Divide the pesto between the pizzas, and spread out evenly.
3. Top the pizzas with equal amounts of remaining toppings.
4. Cook pizzas at 450°F (grill set on High) for 8-10 minutes. Check often to avoid burning the crust.
5. Place the pizza pans directly on the grill rack. Another method is to place natural stone tiles on the grill racks. Once heated, sprinkle the tiles with corn meal to keep the dough from sticking, and cook the pizzas directly on the tile. For added flavor, use a wood chip tin to add smoke to the cooking process, enhancing the wood stove-cooked flavor.



  • Use dark beer in place of water when making the pizza dough.
  • Pizza dough can be prepared in advance and frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Pizza dough can also be used to create grilled calzones filled with your favorite meats and veggies.
Kipp's Chicken Al Carbon: Flavor-Packed ChickenKipp Rix started cooking at the age of 10. Watching shows like “The Galloping Gourmet” and “Julia Child,” he learned how to combine different ingredients to come up with different meals. Growing up, Kipp had two dreams: to become a chef and later to become a firefighter. Kipp fed his passion for firefighting as a volunteer with Santa Teresa Fire Department, and his cooking remained a passion at home. Fate had another road, and he soon was caught up working in home repair and construction, finally ending up working in Corporate America for Home Base and Home Depot. Along the way fate once again intervened and moved Kipp to Farmington, New Mexico. It was here that Kipp met Capt. Mike Mestas while doing a home inspection. After some discussion Capt. Mestas convinced Kipp that at the age of 47 he should try out for the fire department. August 2006, Kipp started the Fire Academy at San Juan College and 16 weeks later he graduated with the distinction of being the oldest person to ever graduate and go on to become employed by Farmington Fire. Some rookie firefighters might resist the notion that they would be responsible for the shopping and cooking for their fire house; Kipp enjoyed having the chance to cook, trying old and new recipes on the crew.  

A year into his career, Kipp and engineer Steve G. started talking about their love for riding motorcycles and a dream of one day riding historic RT 66. Plans were in motion. Kipp spent the next year compiling his favorite recipes into his cookbook Fire House Cook Book “Farmington Favorites” and planning the RT 66 trip where he and Steve would ride their bikes and visit fire stations along the way, selling the cookbook and helping to Kipp Rixraise funds for a donation to the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation. Kipp spent the past year working on recipes for his newest cookbook Fire House Cook Book II “14 Days on RT 66,” released in March 2011.

Kipp has been in the fire service for 17 years, working as a volunteer with both Dona Ana County and currently San Juan County Fire as an Asst. District Chief. Presently he is also a career fire fighter with Farmington Fire Department (5 years). Kipp has published two (2) Fire House Cook Books (Fire House Publications, LLC – and uses a portion of the proceeds to support donations to firefighter’s needs and training fire fighters in the art and skills of Fire Fighter Survival “Getting Out Alive”. In 2010 Kipp became an adjunct instructor with San Juan College in the Fire Science Program, and became a featured chef with Eddie Sell’s