bacon cheezza

When it comes to my taste in food, the people in my life fall into one of two categories: those who encourage my sometimes strange pairings, and those who question those questionable pairings with a “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Last week, I tried cooking for someone who falls into the latter, and finding something to suit both of our tastes is pretty difficult; fortunately, pizza is the great equalizer. And October is National Pizza Month — bonus!

Prepping for our meal together, I ran down my list of recipes-in-waiting, searching for something with meat — a component he needs, but I more often than not avoid (you have to cater to the guest, after all). A good compromise, I figured, was a meat-tastic pizza that allowed us to exert control over our respective slices. Thus, I give you bacon cheeseburger pizza (adapted from Dishing Up Delights).

My go-to pizza dough was on sale last week (haven’t attempted making my own just yet), but — of course — the only thawed balls they had were whole wheat, which I was sure wouldn’t fly with my guest; he’s one of those ‘I-hate-anything-even-remotely-good-for-me-even-if-I’ve-never-tried-it’ kind of guys. Much to my surprise, though, he obliged and we forged on with our whole wheat pizza base.

We used about 3/4 lb. of 93% lean ground beef and five or six slices of bacon, but it’s obviously up to your liking, as is the variety and amount of barbecue sauce you employ. The original recipe calls for thinly sliced onions as an additional topping, which we nixed, but, hey — if you want to cry cutting them before you eat and make everyone cry by breathing on them after you eat, go for it.

This was super easy (especially because I had an extra set of hands in the kitchen) and we were both pretty pleased with the end result. Oh, except for the part where those extra hands I had in the kitchen burned themselves on violently erratic bacon grease; I told you guys that stuff is dangerous…

♦Store-bought pizza dough
Ground beef, cooked
Bacon, cooked
Barbecue sauce, any variety
Red pepper flakes
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil

Roll out dough on baking sheet. Mix barbecue sauce and red pepper flakes to taste, and slather (good word, right?) in an even layer across the dough. Spread a layer of cheese across, then add ground beef and bacon to your liking. Brush crust with olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Total time? 30 minutes (with pans of ground beef and bacon cooking simultaneously).
Cost? $1 pizza dough, $1.74 mozz cheese, $1.50 BBQ sauce, $2 ground beef, $2 bacon.
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. I was happily surprised to taste very little difference between the whole wheat dough and traditional flour dough, but I wasn’t liberal enough with the barbecue sauce and lost some flavor points there. Probably could have used a less lean meat to add some more flavor, too. One of the slices I controlled got doused in extra mozzarella cheese after the meat layer (below) — definitely recommend it.


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