In Dallas, watching Hope Floats, just finished eating a chorizo y huevo breakfast taco. We’re going to watch my younger cousin’s football game in a couple hours and then we’ll probably stop for snow cones later. Goodness it feels good to be back in Texas. We have a whirlwind tour of home planned for the next week and a half, but it’s already 80 plus degrees outside and I just want to sit on the porch with an iced tea all day. Texas has this peculiar ability to both excite and sedate, spark spontaneous plans and last-minute laziness. It’s a weird state, an odd state-of-being, but that’s why I like it so.
In the past couple weeks leading up to our trip back home, we prepped our palates – which is really just an excuse to keep eating tortillas and things that go with barbecue sauce. On a recent trip out in Western Massachusetts, we stumbled across the Texas BBQ Company in Northborough and they serve authentic Hill Country sausage made there in-house. Massachusetts has plenty of decent barbecue joints, but they for some reason never get the sausage right. It’s always too spicy or tastes like Italian food. Hill Country sausage – the kind that’s used in real Texas barbecue – should faintly taste of caraway and mustard seeds, maybe a bit of German beer, and it should be smokey and crispy and, well, just perfect. I ended our meal asking for a dozen links to go.
Back home in the Boston area, the land of many pizza places, the idea for a barbecue plate pizza was born. All the components of a traditional Texas barbecue plate – meat, sauce, white bread, pickles, onions, yellow cheese – but on a pizza. Worlds collide.
Don’t swap in whole wheat or anything fancy for the crust. It’s meant to mimic pasty white sandwich bread, so keep it simple. The cheese should be yellow, but not too sharp. The onion has to be white and it has to be raw. The sauce – my own personal rendition of a traditional Texas sweet tomato barbecue sauce – should be added generously and then served on the side, too.
BBQ plate pizza + homemade BBQ sauce
makes one large pie
for the sauce:
makes about one quart
29 oz tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
lots of black pepper
Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and slightly reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.
for the pizza:
1 lb of dough
homemade barbecue sauce
1/2 lb mild yellow cheddar, cut into thin slices
2 links sausage, cut into thin slices
1 small white onion, sliced into rings
Set oven to 500 or as hot as your oven can go.
Stretch and roll dough to fit a large pizza stone. Spread about a half cup or more of barbecue sauce on the crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edge. Spread the cheese slices on top of the sauce and then add the sausage slices. Brush the crust edges with a bit of olive oil.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust puffs up and browns and the cheese melts. Top with raw onion rings, slice, and serve hot with pickles and more barbecue sauce on the side.