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Fear Conquered: Barbecue Pizza
“This is pretty good,” Boyfriend Javelin says around a mouthful. We’re at a local pizzeria for the first time and sampling a 12-cut barbecue chicken pizza.
“It’s not bad,” I say, barely able to talk around my extra-big bite. I lick the barbecue sauce off my fingers and grimace at him. “It’d be better if they didn’t use bottled barbecue sauce.” As I take another oversized bite.
“How do you know it’s bottled?” he asks.
Before I answer, I pick up another slice. Because this pizza it’s actually really good. Barbecue sauce and all. “It just tastes like the bottled stuff,” I say disdainfully. “I bet there’s high fructose corn syrup in it too.”
“You don’t know that,” Boyfriend Javelin objects. But he nods anyway and half-rolls his eyes. “Probably though,” he agrees.
“I could make a much better pizza,” I say confidently. It’s the kind of brash statement one makes when one will never have to actually deliver on such confidence. “The toughest part would be making my own barbecue sauce,” I go on. “I don’t know why they even bother with the bottled stuff.”
A little over a year later and I still haven’t delivered on my brash statement. In fact, I haven’t even attempted. I’ve got the homemade barbecue sauce, I’ve got the homemade pizza dough - it’s kind of sad I haven’t added a little chicken.
However, I’d much rather eat bacon or pineapple over chicken. So this pizza has become my answer to all barbecue pizza lovers. Forget chicken, forget the ham and forget bottles and cans - get serious with smoked bacon and fresh pineapple.
As for the barbecue sauce, I use a sweet and tangy homemade version crafted from common kitchen ingredients. The sauce is really the foundation of flavor for this pizza. Add sweet, fresh pineapple and crispy smoked bacon and you’ve got something resembling Hawaiian pizza. Only so much tastier than the ham and tomato sauce cousin sold by most pizzerias.
If you’re serious about your pizza, the homemade dough is must - the flavor of the dough is so much better than the pre-made stuff and if you keep a couple balls of dough in the freezer, you can make this pizza on a whim.
And if you do bust out a bottle of barbecue sauce, don’t be surprised if some overly brash dude with a smart mouth gobbles down half the pizza. All while virtuously pointing out all the benefits of making your own barbecue sauce from scratch. Just tell him to keep quiet. (It won’t be the first time.)
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|6 ounces sliced smoked bacon.|
|Dice the bacon.|
|Fry the bacon until crispy.|
|Drain the bacon pieces on paper towels.|
|Grate 8 ounces of part-skim mozzarella cheese.|
|Peel and halve a medium red onion.|
|Slice onion into pieces and separate pieces.|
|You will need approximately 3/4 cup of diced fresh pineapple pieces.|
|Measure 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce.|
|Prepare the pizza dough on a lightly floured board.|
|Press out dough with your fingers or a rolling pin.|
|Stretch dough to a 12-inch diameter.|
|Prebake the pizza dough on a ventilated pizza pan for 3-4 minutes at 475F.|
|Spread barbecue sauce over prebaked pizza crust.|
|Sprinkle onion pieces over barbecue sauce.|
|Cover onions with grated mozzarella cheese and crispy bacon pieces.|
|Top pizza with pineapple chunks.|
|Bake pizza for 8 minutes at 475F until cheese is melted and crust is crispy. Serve immediately.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Barbecue Bacon "Hawaiian" Pizza
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Ingredients (12-inch pizza)
- Preheat the oven to 475℉
- Prepare the bacon, pineapple, onion and cheese, roll out the pizza dough and pre-bake the crust (for dough recipe technique and tips, see my homemade pizza dough)
- Spread the pre-baked pizza crust with barbecue sauce and top with onion slices; sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the onion and top with the crispy bacon pieces; top with the diced pineapple
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted; slice and serve immediately
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STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | PRINTABLE RECIPE
Hungry for Tips?
- Hot Oven: Turn on your oven to preheat before you do anything else. You want your oven toasty hot before you pre-bake your crust. If you're using a pizza stone, place it in your oven on the lowest rack before preheating.
- Air Pockets: If your pizza dough puffs up dramatically during the pre-bake (as mine often does), just gently press the air out of the pockets before adding the toppings. Once you finish baking the pizza, unsightly air pockets disappear entirely (yet keep the dough crisp and almost airy).
- Toppings: Don't overload the pizza with toppings - keep the chunks of pineapple small and don’t go crazy with cheese or barbecue sauce. If you overload the crust, it will become soggy. Which is sad. Don't make sad pizza.
- Red vs. Yellow: If you don’t have a red onion on hand, you can always use yellow. The contrast in color isn’t as dramatic with the pineapple and white mozzarella, but the flavor is virtually the same.
- If your mozzarella is too wet or mushy to grate, place the cheese in your freezer for 10-15 minutes, then grate.
- I find part-skim mozzarella cheese melts just as beautifully as whole-milk mozzarella (and actually melts better than fresh buffalo mozzarella), so I use part-skim to cut out some of the fat. I used to use fresh buffalo mozzarella (although it wasn't truly fresh because it was still packaged), but it tended to coagulate into pools when it melted...
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