Don’t adjust your computer monitor, the sauce on the pizza, in the picture is yellow. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be that way! In general, I am not a big fan of BBQ pizzas. To me, and I know this is strictly a personal preference, something just doesn’t taste quite right about a pizza crust slathered with BBQ sauce. It’s strange that I feel that way as I am a huge fan of both pizza and BBQ, but together I’m not so keen on it. That is unless it is BBQ Chicken Pizza done my way.

I hate to say it is “my way” as I was introduced to this style of BBQ pizza back when I was working in Atlanta, somewhere around 1994. We served this pizza at City Grill when it was under the direction of Chef Roger Kaplan. The biggest difference between this style of BBQ pizza and the stuff you find at pizza joints across the US nowadays was the sauce. While most places slather the crust with BBQ sauce and then toss plain, cooked chicken on top, we were making a “corn cream” to spread on the crust (thus the yellow sauce) and tossing the chicken with BBQ sauce just to glaze it. The corn cream added a sweet, fresh flavor to the mix, keeping the pizza from becoming too heavy with BBQ sauce.

Corn cream is really easy to make, but requires a juicer to extract the optimum amount of juice from the corn. It also relies on really fresh corn to get the best flavor. Besides being used as a sauce for pizza the corn cream can be thinned out to make an elegant summertime sauce for chicken or pork, or even be used as a base for a wonderful corn chowder or chilled corn soup.

This pizza is a bit on the sweet side but trust me, it is tasty. I know it may look a little strange, but the flavors work really well together turning this into the perfect summertime pizza.

Corn Cream

6 ears corn, as fresh as possible.

Shuck the corn and remove all the silk from the ears. Using a knife cut all the kernels from the cob. Once this is done, turn the knife around and using the back of the blade scrape down the corn cobs, removing any leftover pulp and adding it to the cut corn. Using a juicer extract all the juice from the kernels. I found that I needed to run the pulp through 3 times to get all the juice. Depending on the corn you should get about 16-18oz. give or take. Discard the remaining solids and place the juice in a nonreactive saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the juice comes to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, again stirring constantly, scraping the bottom of the pot so that the sauce doesn’t burn. The juice will thicken considerably, almost to the point of thin mayonnaise. Remove from heat and chill until needed.

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza
makes 2 14″ pizzas or 4-6 smaller individual pizzas

1 1/2 cups water, lukewarm (100-110°F)
1 package (2tsp.) dry active yeast
1/2 cup flour, all purpose
3 cups flour, all purpose
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar

4-6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1 cup BBQ sauce, either homemade or your favorite brand
1 tsp. chipotle powder (optional)
1/2 onion, sliced paper thin
1 tomato, diced small
2 cups cheddar cheese

In the morning, mix up the pizza dough. Combine the water, yeast and 1/2 cup of flour. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. You should see it starting to bubble slightly. Add the remaining flour, oil, salt and sugar. Mix until a smooth dough forms. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if dough is too sticky. Dough should remain soft and still just slightly sticky though. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to proof throughout the day.

Dice the chicken into small, bite sized pieces. Place in hot saute pan and saute until browned. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and chipotle, if using. Add 1 cup of water along with the BBQ sauce and cook until the chicken is glazed. Chill until ready to use.

30 minutes before you are ready to cook divide the pizza dough into equal portions (either 2 large or 4-6 small). Roll into rounds, cover with plastic and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Prepare your grill to ensure a medium hot fire. Stretch or roll out the dough to the appropriate size and thickness. While I am usually not a big fan of really thin crust, I prefer thinner crust when grilling pizzas.

One at a time, place the crust on the grill, close the cover and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust starts to brown and the top starts to blister.

Repeat with each crust until all crusts have been cooked on 1 side (the top side will still be raw but should have firmed up significantly. Flip the crust over so that the top is now on the bottom. Spread the corn cream over the grilled side of the pizza, making sure to cover completely but not using so much that it pools on the crust. Top with the cooked chicken and then a sprinkling of cheese. Finally top with the onions and diced tomato, dividing up the ingredients evenly among the pizza crusts.

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