Bourbon Barbecue pizza!
BBQ pizza may sound far-fetched to the narrow minded, but if you think about it, a BBQ pizza is like a BBQ sandwich! Meat, BBQ sauce and bread. Pizza dough is Italian bread dough.
The extra ingredients on this pizza compliment the flavors of the western style bourbon BBQ pizza sauce. Corn, onion, green onion and jalapeno peppers taste good with barbecue sauce.
The Mexican cotija cheese is an aged hard grating cheese that is similar to parmesan cheese. The flavor is strong like parmesan. Cotija has a fairy high salt content like parmesan cheese. BBQ does not usually require cheese. For a BBQ pizza, I thought it would be best to select a western cheese with a strong flavor, since very little cheese would be required for this pizza. A little bit of Mexican queso cotija goes a long way!
I chose chicken for the meat, but thin sliced BBQ pork would also be nice on a BBQ pizza. I have been posting many pork recipes this spring and summer, so the chicken option was overdue.
Western style bourbon BBQ sauce is a little bit spicier than Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce. The chile pepper variety in the western version is similar to a New Mexico chile colorado sauce. Rich mild chile powders balance the medium hot chile powders.
More garlic is used in the western bourbon BBQ sauce and less onion powder is used. Honey, brown sugar and white sugar sweeten the sauce. Because this western bourbon BBQ sauce is used as a pizza sauce, more tomato puree is added.
Unlike a tomato pizza sauce, there is no olive oil in this sauce. A very small amount of sesame oil adds a delicate smokey toasted nut flavor undertone. Sesame oil is an Arabic, Persian and asian ingredient. Keep in mind that the Chinese played a major part in the early development of the American west and many American settlers of the west took a liking to some of the Chinese cooking ingredients that were stocked at western general stores. General store merchants stocked anything that would sell. If there was a Chinese mining camp or railroad camp in the area, then the merchants purchased Chinese goods for resale. Sesame oil and soy sauce were easy to sell nonperishable items.
Everybody knows the part that bourbon whiskey played in the old west. Firewater had an evil reputation for getting people killed in the old west. Bootleg whiskey was easier to get than high grade whiskey. If the poison whiskey didn't kill you, then some stray bullet from a drunken gun fight probably would. That was how lawless western towns were during the gold rush boom days.
Modern western bourbons are actually prized high quality whiskeys that command a higher price. Bulleit Straight Bourbon is one of my favorite western style bourbons that is still sealed with a cork, instead of a screw on cap. Bulleit started making bourbon in 1830. Bulleit bourbon was standard issue on many western classy private railroad cars in the late 1800's. Cheap bourbon is a better choice for cooking, but only use a cheap bourbon that you would be happy taking a few sips of.
Pizza Dough Recipe:
If you have dough making experience, then this will be easy.
High gluten flour is best for this recipe, but bread flour can be used. Pizza dough is focaccia dough or Italian bagette style bread dough. No oil in the mixture will produce a dough that is like many Italian breads that are not enriched with fat or French baguette bread dough. Many pizzeria chefs do not add oil to a pizza dough and that is correct pizza dough too.
Focaccia style doughs require enrichment with fat. Olive oil is a fat! Oil strengthens and elongates the gluten strands of the dough. It only takes a very small amount of oil to produce a nice texture. The elastic gluten strands give pizza dough the ability to be stretched and tossed in the air!
Add 2 tablespoon of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast to 16 ounces of tepid luke warm water in a mixing bowl.
Place the mixing bowl in a luke warm place like on top of a warm oven.
When the yeast activates, add 2 teaspoons of sugar to proof the yeast.
Add about 2 cups of flour.
Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Stir the mixture with a spoon, till a very loose wet dough is formed.
Start adding a little bit of flour at a time,while stirring, till a loose dough is formed.
Add a little more flour at a time, while mixing with your fingers, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
You will be able to feel when the dough is starting to get elastic. It will stick to your hands when made correctly, but that will change after rising twice.
Add flour, while hand mixing, till the dough can pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel.
Set the bowl on top of an oven in a luke warm area, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat.
When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles and gather the dough like a ball in the bowl.
Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again.
When it rises the second time, beat the dough down and knead firmly with your hands for 1 minute.
Place the dough on a floured counter top.
Roll the dough into a large ball.
Cut the dough ball in half for two medium size pizzas portions or into four portions for mini pizzas.
Roll and tuck each dough portion with with your hands to make smooth dough balls.
You can cover and refrigerate each dough ball for a few days or freeze the dough portions for later use.
Western Bourbon Bar-B-Que Pizza Sauce Recipe:
Place 3 tablespoons of organic catsup into a small sauce pot.
Add 6 ounces of tomato puree.
Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of white refined sugar.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce.
Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
Add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of paprika.
Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
Add 2 teaspoons of New Mexico chile powder.
Add 2 pinches of pequin chile powder.
Add 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander.
Add 1 pinch of Chinese 5 spice powder.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1/2 cup of bourbon whiskey.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 2 to 3 drops of organic red food coloring.
Place the sauce pot over low heat.
Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin BBQ pizza sauce consistency.
Set the Western Bourbon Bar-B-Que Pizza Sauce aside.
Western Bourbon BBQ Chicken:
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1 splash of vegetable oil.
Add 8 ounces of bite size thin slices of chicken breast.
Saute till the chicken slices become fully cooked and a few light brown highlights appear.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of the western bourbon BBQ sauce.
Add 2 ounces of water.
Simmer the chicken, till the sauce reduces and glazes the chicken.
Set the western bourbon BBQ chicken aside and let it cool.
Western Bourbon BBQ Chicken Pizza:
Cut a portion of the pizza dough that is large enough for a medium size thin crust 18" pizza.
Gently flatten the pizza dough into a 1" thick flat round disk shape.
Drape the dough over the knuckles of both hands and gently stretch the dough, while turning the dough, till an 18" diameter pizza dough crust is formed that is 1/4" thick, without any thin spots or holes.
Note: That is how I formed my pizza dough for this recipe. Gently use a rolling pin to form the dough if you have a problem with this professional pizza chef method. I even went as far as to spin and toss the dough in the air. That is a sure sign of a good pizza dough!
Place the thin pizza crust dough on a 19" or 20" pizza pan.
Even the edges of the dough, so it looks nice. (Refers to the picture above!)
Very lightly brush the dough with olive oil.
Par bake the dough crust in a 450 degree oven, till just a few tan highlights appear. (Refer to the picture above.
Set the par baked firm pizza crust and pan on a counter top.
Spread an even thin layer of the western bourbon BBQ pizza sauce from the center of the pizza out to the edge of the crust. Leave a 1/2" border of bare crust around the pizza! (Save 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce for later in the recipe.)
Sprinkle 1 small handful of freshly shucked cut corn on the cob kernels over the pizza.
Sprinkle a few thin half slice onion rings over the pizza.
Place the thin slices of 1 large green jalapeno pepper on the pizza.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 thin sliced green onions over the pizza.
Arrange the reserved western bourbon BBQ chicken pieces in the pizza.
Spread a little more of the last of the western bourbon BBQ pizza sauce over the chicken pieces.
Sprinkle a small amount of finely grated Mexican cotija cheese over the pizza.
Place the pizza back in the 450 degree oven.
Bake until the vegetable toppings become hot and cooked aldente. Bake till the crust gets a few golden highlights. Cotija cheese should only be softened and not browned on a pizza.
Note: Keep in mind that a sweetened BBQ sauce will caramelize if baked for too much time! The baking time for this BBQ pizza is shorter than an Italian pizza. That is why it is important to par bake the crust, before adding the toppings!
The arid air of the high altitude Mojave desert causes BBQ pizza sauced pizza crusts to remain a lighter color. The crust in the pictures is actually fully cooked and crisp. At lower altitudes with humid air, your crust will turn golden brown color!
After the pizza finishes baking, let the pizza cool for 30 seconds.
Cut the Western Bourbon BBQ Chicken Pizza into pie shaped slices with a pizza wheel.
This is a great American western style pizza for the 4th of July holiday! Western Bourbon BBQ Chicken Pizza is a must try for summertime barbecue fanatics! Yummy! ... Shawna