2010 June: Perfect Pies

Barbecue pork pizza falls into the category of specialty pizza. In other words, it should be listed apart and separate (and highlighted) from your other pizza toppings. You’ll also be able to price it higher. If you are going to go through the extra work of making the pork for this topping, then you should make a big deal of it and market it accordingly.

There are a couple of ways to get this pizza going as a signature offering. You can make the pork (it’s not all that complicated, but you need to make the commitment and stick with it) topping yourself, or you can buy pre-cooked, shredded pork.

Should you wish to tackle the pork in-house, here is a recipe for making your own pork to shred or pull and use for a barbecue pork pizza.

Shredded BBQ Pork

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons chile powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¾ cup distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon paprika

1/3 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup light brown sugar

3-4 pound pork butt or pork shoulder

Puree all of the ingredients, except the pork, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Put the pureed ingredients and pork in a large pot. Add 1 quart of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered (turning frequently), for about 2 hours, or until the meat pulls apart easily when prodded with a fork. Remove from the heat and cool the pork in the sauce. Remove the pork from the sauce and shred. Should you care to take the time for an extra step, reduce the sauce by two-thirds and mix some of it with a basic bottled barbecue sauce.

Shredded Pork BBQ Pizza

Yield: 1 14-inch pizza (scale up in direct proportion)

1 14-inch pizza shell

6 ounces barbecue sauce (your choice)

1 cup of the shredded pork

8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or 4 ounces each Monterey Jack and cheddar)

Brush the pizza crust with the barbecue sauce. Sprinkle the shredded pork evenly over the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the pork. Bake. 

Topping option: chopped red onion. Sprinkle the onion evenly over the shredded pork followed by the cheese. If you want to really jazz up this pizza you can add rings of grilled pineapple or chunks of pineapple. Doing so will give the pizza a Hawaiian Pizza flavor profile, one that is very popular in Latin countries. 

Pat Bruno is Pizza Today’s resident chef and a regular contributor. He is the former owner and operator of a prominent Italian cooking school in Chicago and is a food critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.