I'm a born-and-raised Chicagoan, so it goes without saying that I love pizza. Real pizza, mind you, not that flappy, sagging nonsense they try to pass off in New York. I'm hardly one to limit my pizza love to the traditional, though. Barbecue sauce has always been my condiment of choice - who needs ketchup when you could be using barbecue!? Sometimes, the same goes for other tomato products, like, say, pizza sauce.
Now, this is no California Pizza Kitchen pizza. This is hearty, in-your-face barbecue pizza. And no cilantro. Nothing against it in general, but I just don't think it has a place on my BBQ pizza.
It's a nice, simple cast of characters. The way I usually prepare this pizza, I take some shortcuts, so it's quite a quick prep. Skipping the shortcuts can result in a slightly more customized pie, but there's really no shame in using somebody else's chicken and crust. This is a fantastic use for leftover chicken, too.
So, chicken. The easy, safe bet is to grab a supermarket rotisserie chicken and take all the meat off the bone. If you want to roast some up yourself or use leftovers, more power to you.
As for the crust, I usually go for pre-made. I know, pre-made pizza crust is bad. Like, quite bad. However, we're going to pile so much goodness on it that I promise, you won't even notice. If you have the time to make your own, though, do it!
As for the rest, you'll need your favorite barbecue sauce, some onion and fresh mushrooms, and some cheese - I like to mix mozzarella and cheddar. It's as easy as that!
Give your onion a rough chop into topping-sized bites. I like mine quite large for this particular pizza. No need for subtle, fine dicing here. Toss the chopped onion and your mushrooms into a skillet with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and sautee for a couple of minutes. Not too much - they'll cook a bit on the plate. Basically, just give them a flip-and-stir time and again while you're breaking down the chicken.
In just a couple of minutes, you'll have all of your toppings ready. Break the chicken down into bite-sized pieces. Fingers are your best tool, if you're using a rotisserie chicken. A knife will just get in your way.
By the time your veggies look like this...
Your chicken should be looking like this.
Now add one to the other in the skillet, and give it just a dollop of barbecue sauce before mixing it all together. This keeps anything from drying out during baking, and ensures that absolutely every bite of the finished product is full of barbecue flavor.
Time to assemble! First, rub a bit of olive oil into your crust.
Follow that up with a generous amount of barbecue sauce. How much you need depends on the thickness of your particular brand. But, really, don't be afraid to go bold. This pizza is all about the barbecue, after all.
Now dump the toppings out from the skillet onto the crust. There will be a whooole lot of toppings. I told you this wasn't a subtle, namby-pamby pizza, didn't I?
Now cheese it! I like to use a thin layer of mozzarella, covered by a thin layer of cheddar. Lots of alternatives also work great, though - Colby and Monterey Jack are certainly worth a mention.
For those about to bake: we salute you!
10-12 minutes of bake-time in a 400 degree oven, and your pizza will emerge looking like the beauty just above. Let it cool a few minutes, and serve with a nice, fresh salad. If you want to class it up a bit, this goes great with a crisp Riesling.
Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes | Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 6-8.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Rough-chop onion into large chunks. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and sautee chopped onions and mushrooms 2-3 minutes until just beginning to soften.
While vegetables are sauteeing, break down chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once vegetables have cooked a few minutes, add chicken to skillet along with 2-3 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Mix well.
Lightly oil pizza crusts. Top with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce per crust and spread evenly across surface. Add additional sauce as needed to cover.
Spread toppings from skillet evenly over crust. Top each pizza with a thin layer of both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, about 1/4-1/2 cup of each.
Bake pizzas 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
Cool 5-10 minutes and serve with salad.