When you live in North Carolina you start to realize people have some very strong opinions about BBQ. Growing up in the south, but not this far south I had BBQ as a child, but I had really only had one type. Looking back I believe it would have been considered Eastern NC style BBQ – a shredded pork with a vinegar based sauce, no tomato. BBQ was not something we ate often, but I did enjoy it and I still do. To be honest I am not a tried or true BBQ purest. I like both Eastern and Lexington style, which apparently there are bills regarding the BBQ in North Carolina. I may not be a BBQ purest, but I do know that North Carolina reigns in BBQ. Don’t get me wrong other areas in the South claim to know BBQ, but throwing something on the grill is not the same as pork barbecue slow cooked, covered in just the right amount of sauce and served along side cole slaw and hush puppies. That is called grilling and I love that to, with just about any type of meat, fish, vegetable; but to me that is not BBQ.
Here is where I allow my own opinions and taste to enter. Barbecue sauce, which typically when I think of BBQ sauce I am looking for that tomato influenced sauce that tends to be served with Lexington style BBQ or the wet ribs of Memphis style BBQ can add a nice flavor to meats other than pork. I enjoy chicken tossed on the grill and basted with bbq sauce, or ribs done well and served with bbq sauce on the side. So for this recipe, I meld my opinions together and create my own BBQ chicken Pizza. These days you can find a bbq pizza on a lot of menus, but that was not always the case. California Pizza Kitchen was one of the first restaurants known to have added a pizza like this to their menu. It was an instant success. I don’t remember when I had my first taste of BBQ pizza, but I have been making a version of my own since the early 2000’s. It has changed some over the years as I have realized I prefer to keep it simple in flavor using Mozzarella and a small amount of cheddar or gouda, but only as an additional flavor.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
1 Pizza Dough ( my go to is trader joe’s pre made dough)
1 Chicken breast, cooked and chopped*
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped (fresh, frozen in small pieces)
1/4 cup red onion, diced (optional)
1/2 cup Barbecue sauce of choice, divided
3/4 cup shredded or sliced mozzerella cheese
1/4 cup shredded or sliced cheddar or gouda
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
* I find it easiest to plan ahead for this pizza and cook an extra chicken breast a day or so ahead. I prefer to grill chicken and use what we do not eat or plan by cooking an extra breastPreparing the Pizza Dough
Preparing the Dough
Allow dough to sit out for at least 30 minutes to become room temperature. This will make rolling the dough out easier. I did not say it would roll into a perfect circle as that takes skill which I don’t focus on, I just roll and go. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and allow to heat for 30 minutes with pizza stone. Remove hot pizza stone from oven and pour 1 Tbsp olive oil over the stone. Spread it around if you want or the quick and easy way just toss the dough on top. I always try and roll a little more once the dough is on the stone to thin it out and reach the edges of my stone.
In a small bowl toss together chopped chicken, red onion, pineapple, and red pepper. Add 3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce.
Assembling the pizza
Remove the pre baked dough from the oven when it begins to turn golden brown in some spots. If there is an air bubble in your dough allow some steam to escape. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce on the dough then spread the toppings evenly around the pizza. Cover with cheese and return to preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to bubble an turn brown.
Remove from oven sprinkle fresh cilantro over the pizza. Slice and serve.
A couple of our favorite pizza recipes