I am a pizza junkie. Are you? Oh good, let’s be friends.
It’s possible I was spoiled. I blame living in the Pacific Northwest, where the pizza is made with fresh ingredients, exceptional crust and usually paired with a fine micro brew.
It’s hard being a pizza junkie while living in the Midwest. Good pizza is hard to find, unless you like Ranch dressing and cheese (settle down, Iowa friends…I’m generalizing here).
So what do you do when you gotta get your fix? You make your own pizza, that’s what!
BBQ chicken pizza is totally my favorite pizza. I get that each person has their own taste, so if what you see isn’t your kind of jam no worries. This recipe can easily be altered to your liking. Bacon and jalapenos would be a great addition!
I’ll also add that I cooked this pizza on our smoker at 475 degrees using cherry and oak wood. I love the flavor our smoker gives! I used a cast iron pizza skillet which allows the dough to crispen up nicely. If you don’t have a wood smoker, you can use a grill or briquette barbecue, or simply bake in the oven.
But really, the secret to any good pizza is what’s underneath. Just ask any pizza artist, chef or Italian. It’s all about the dough, man!
Let me show you…
Italian Pizza Dough
I love the kind of dough that is thin and gets crispy around the outer edge, but still has a little chewy texture to it. Italian pizza dough fits the bill here. It’s easy to make, even if you’ve never made your own dough before.
To mix the dough, I used our Cuisinart stand mixer with a dough hook. But you can easily mix this in a bowel with a wooden spoon.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon local honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
How to make Italian Pizza Dough
- In a bowl or stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm water and honey and let sit until it starts to froth a little. Usually this will take 10-15 minutes. This will activate the yeast to give it a little jump start. Make sure your water isn’t hot, otherwise it could kill your yeast.
- Add the flour, salt and olive oil and mix until the dough is firm. It should be a little shaggy but not sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and work it into a ball. Let it sit for 30 minutes to rise.
- When your dough is ready to work, divide into two equal parts and reform each into a ball. You can freeze one for later use if you only want to make one pizza.
- Using your hands or a rolling pin, start to flatten the dough, working it outward gently and shaping it into a thin round. If you tear the dough, don’t worry. Just rework it. Once the dough is flattened out, transfer to a pizza stone or cast iron pizza skillet. I like to pinch the dough around the edges to give it a little character.
Let’s add the toppings
Prep the veggies
- 1 medium red or sweet onion
- 1 orange or red bell pepper
- 2 chicken breasts or three chicken tenders
- Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper. Then slice both the pepper and onion in thin strips. I used the slicing attachment on our food processor, because I love how it makes everything uniform. Plus, I can quickly process both the onion and pepper at the same time. But this can also be done by hand as well.
- Pour a little olive oil into a cast iron skillet and heat it up. Once hot, saute your onion and pepper until caramelized brown. Scoop the veggies out and set aside.
- In the same skillet, brown the chicken on medium heat until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook. Season to taste (I used cilantro/lime seasoning salt). Remove to a cutting board and shred or cut into thin strips.
- Start with the Sweet Baby Rays bbq as a base over the dough. Leave about an inch of dough around the edges.
- Add shredded cheese over the bbq sauce.
- Now add your chicken and sauted veggies. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top, then lightly pour a little more on a little more bbq sauce. Lastly, shake some Italian Seasoning over the whole pizza, as liberally or conservatively as your little heart desires.
- Bake your pizza at 475 degrees in the smoker, grill or oven until the dough browns. I let the edges char a little. Tip: brush the edges of your pizza with olive oil then sprinkle with garlic salt.
Don’t like bbq chicken pizza? No worries. Neither do our kids. You’ve got the dough down now, baby, so go crazy with your favorite toppings. Pepperoni, pineapple and olives are a family favorite too.