Hi hi! Yep, that's right, I'm back with another pizza recipe. This is a BBQ pulled pork pizza topped with tender, crispy shredded pork, a sweet South Carolina BBQ sauce, red onions, and a blanket of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
We first started making variations of this BBQ pizza to use up some leftover sous vide carnitas, but now we make it on purpose because it's just so good. On the rare occasion that we get to cook for other people (read: other people in our pandemic pod) lately, it's one of the number one requests we get.
And if you think that means we might be sick of making it by now — guess again! The BBQ sauce is sweet and super tangy with just a bit of a vinegar-y kick. The pork crisps up beautifully under the broiler, and the red onion provides just the right amount of bite.
Like most pizzas, this BBQ pizza works best with a little bit of planning ahead. Making the BBQ sauce and pulled pork take time — at least 30 minutes for the BBQ sauce and then 3 hours if you're making the pork from scratch, which cooks low and slow slathered in the BBQ sauce.
Of course, if you're in a rush or just don't feel like making small batch pulled pork, any shredded pork will work here.
You could make this BBQ pizza with shredded chicken, or even sautéed mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
I usually use my overnight thin crust pizza dough for this, but you can use any pizza dough you like. If you're using a store bought refrigerated dough, I recommend checking out this post on the Baking Steel blog about how to make the most of it.
Whether you're making your own dough or using the store bought stuff, you'll definitely need to divide and pre-shape it for at least a few hours (if not the night before) before you plan to use it.
Then, check out my visual guide to hand-stretching your pizza dough — it'll help you get a beautifully circular pizza instead of one shaped like an ode to Pangea.
a few helpful notes
- The recipe below has measurements for what you'll need to assemble just one medium BBQ pizza, but the small batch pulled pork will make about 3 cups — enough pork for 2-3 medium pizzas or 1 medium pizza and two leftover pulled pork sandwiches.
- Pork shoulder or pork butt usually comes in 4, 8, 12, or 18 pound packages. I usually buy 4 or 8 lb packages, cut it up, and freeze it in smaller portions. If your grocery store can't cut you a smaller piece of pork shoulder, try an Asian market or grocery store — I've found they often carry smaller cuts.
- As always, I make my pizzas on a baking steel (use code TPK10 for 10% off!), and use a wooden pizza peel dusted with semolina flour to slide my dough onto the steel. If you don't have a baking steel, check out this post by The Kitchn with some other suggested alternatives and adjust the cook time accordingly. A baking steel really does work best, though.
- If you don't have a pizza peel, you can use a sheet of parchment paper on the back of a large sheet pan to easily slide the pizza onto the steel.
- The best mozzarella to shred for pizzas is low-moisture, part skim. It melts much better if you buy a brick of it and grate it with a box grater rather than using the pre-shredded stuff. Ditto for the parmesan cheese. It melts much better when you buy a wedge and hit it with the business end of a microplane zester than if you try to use the pre-shredded or powdered stuff.
south carolina BBQ pulled pork pizza
to make small batch pulled pork
- 1 pound pork butt (or pork shoulder)
- ⅓ cup South Carolina BBQ sauce
- salt and pepper
for the pizza
- 1 ball overnight thin crust pizza dough (approximately 150-200 grams)
- 1 cup pulled pork (leftover carnitas or agrodolce works well here)
- ¼ cup south carolina bbq sauce
- ½ cup low-moisture mozzarella cheese (grated)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ⅛ cup thinly sliced red onions
Small batch pulled pork
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Cut the pork shoulder into several large cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with BBQ sauce to coat. Arrange in small greased glass or ceramic casserole dish or baking dish. Scrape any excess sauce into the dish on top of the pork.
- Cover loosely with foil. Cook for three hours total. After 1½ hours (halfway through the cook time) remove the foil and flip the pork pieces in the dish.
- When the pork is done, shred with two forks. Transfer to an airtight container until ready to use.This makes about 3 cups pulled pork (you only need 1 cup for the pizza).
- Preheat oven to 500°F with baking steel on the top rack of the oven for at least 1 hour before use. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator at least 60-90 minutes prior to stretching.
- Prep your toppings: grate the mozzarella cheese, slice the onion, and shred the pork.
- Turn on your oven's broiler function if it has one.
- Stretch the pizza dough into a 12-14" round and transfer to a pizza peel dusted with a 50/50 blend of semolina flour and all purpose flour.
- Spread the BBQ sauce across the surface of the dough with the back of a spoon, taking care not to tear the dough.
- Then, sprinkle on an even layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese, bringing the cheese all the way to the edges of the sauce.
- A layer of pulled pork goes down next, followed by the red onions. Use a microplane to grate a fine layer of parmesan cheese over the top.
- Give the pizza a shake on the peel to make sure it hasn't stuck. Then, slide it onto the baking steel: Pull the top oven rack out and place the tip of the peel near the back of the baking steel at a low angle. Quickly pull the peel backwards out of the oven, letting the pizza slide off and onto the peel.
- Cook the pizza for 2 minutes with the broiler on, then turn the broiler off, rotate the pizza, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until crispy and lightly blackened on top.
- Use the peel to remove the pizza from the oven, slice into wedges, and serve immediately.
- Swap pulled pork for shredded chicken or even sautéed mushrooms for a vegetarian option.