Pizza with Smoked Chicken and Italabama White BBQ Sauce

Yep, it’s another pizza recipe. This time we tried out a new sauce called White BBQ Sauce and is sometimes referred to Alabama White Sauce. It’s a mayonnaise based sauce that is used on chicken and seafood, and as a general condiment. This one has been modified for a pizza sauce, hence the Italabama name.

We found this sauce because we were looking for a creative way to use some smoked chicken on a pizza. We kind of used this one as our inspiration but tweaked it for our use. Mostly, we wanted it spicier, so we pulled in some elements from other recipes we found online. I will point out, most recipes have more liquid and don’t use the herbs.

The sauce recipe will make enough for a 16 inch pizza plus have some left over to dip your pizza into (instead of ranch) and you can use the leftover as a spread on sandwiches.

For the Italabama White Sauce:


  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground horseradish (or 2 tsp prepared)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (less for milder heat)
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar


OK, this is the simple part. Just whisk all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. We made ours a few hours ahead of time and let it rest in the refrigerator to give it some time for the flavors to meld.

For the pizza:


  • Pizza dough (we used Lidia’s Pizza Dough recipe for ours)
  • Italabama White BBQ Sauce (see above)
  • 2 cups of chopped smoked chicken (you can also use grilled chicken)
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


Stretch your pizza dough into a 16 inch circle

Spread the sauce over the pizza dough. Leave about a 1/2 inch ring on the outside border of the pizza dough. This will create a better crust.

Spread the chicken, onion and mozzarella around the top of the pizza. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you want to give it that extra little kick.

The recipe we found as our inspiration called for 1 cup of cherry tomatoes to be topped on the pizza. They also suggested an option of topping it with chopped fresh basil when you pull it out of the over. I think these would be good additions, but they are definitely not necessary. To me, the sauce and the chicken were the star of the night.


So many ways to make a pizza dough!

OK, we tried our hand at making pizza dough again. We tried in the past and just couldn’t get the right taste and texture with any consistency. Then we found the fresh dough from Trader Joe’s and started to use that because it’s so much easier and the dough is good. For Christmas I got Curt a gift box from Marcelli Formaggi called Trattoria Pizza Maker’s Kit. It has everything you need for a truly authentic Italian pizzeria experience.

I had to find a new recipe to use for the flour that is included in the kit. We ended up using the recipe provided on a card that is included in the kit. That recipe is below. I also reached out to some friends who are my go-to people for help, advice, and inspiration in my cooking. Luke is a professional chef and is now teaching future chefs. Josh is a fellow Italian American from Texas that has some awesome kitchen skills in both Italian cuisine and traditional Texan food (think BBQ, smoking, and similar items).

Here are their suggestions and then at the end is the recipe from Marcelli Formaggi.

Luke’s recipe:

One 12” NY Style Crust
150g flour
4g sugar
2.5g kosher salt
2.5g instant yeast
8g olive oil
100g water

blend dry ingredients in food processor-add water and oil and blend until dough forms-place in greased bowl and cover for 4hrs (or in the fridge overnight)-punch down, shape in a ball, refrigerate 1hr-remove from fridge 1hr before baking-shape, top, bake.

Josh’s recipe:

I am not particularly a pizza kinda guy. But my go to is..
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
6 ounces of water

Combine dry ingredients, then add water. Mix, cover, and let rise at room temp for 8-10 hours. Divide dough in half, roll up in balls, and place in bags or a container to rest in ths fridge for 2 days. Let rest for an hour or so at room temp before using. That’s enough for two small pizzas

Here is the recipe that came with the Trattoria Pizza Maker’s Kit from Marcelli Formaggi.

I do want to point out that this is for a pan pizza, so it’s very runny and meant to be poured into the pan, not rolled out like a traditional pizza. We didn’t realize this and started adding flour on the second day. Then even more on the third. We were using a 1000 gram bag and ended up with about 50 grams left. The dough rested in our refrigerator for two more days, so a total of 4 days after we initially mixed the dough.

In total, we ended up with 3 lbs of dough and separated it into 3 sections. We used one section to make pizza, and ended up dividing this section into two 10-inch pizzas. Both pizzas were awesome, so about 950 grams works, it’s just that this is a whole lot of dough and you might not want to make so much unless you’re having a pizza party.

I was going to update the recipe below, but wanted to leave it because I want to try it next. If you don’t want to make a pan pizza, try one of the recipes able from Luke or Josh.

Yield: 1 10″ x 14″ pizza
Time: 7 to 10 hours


  • 300 grams Caputo 00 Chef’s flour
  • 6 grams of salt
  • 3 grams instant yeast
  • 300 grams room temperature water
  • 2 tablespoons semolina flour, or as needed, for dusting
  • assorted toppings


Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water and mix with a spatula to form a wet dough, resembling a thick batter.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, use a rubber spatula to fold the dough. Pull on corner to the center and then give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process. Do this a total of four folds and then flip the dough over, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, repeat the folding process and then, instead of flipping the dough in the bowl, flip it out onto a pizza pan that’s been lightly dusted with semolina flour. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, gently stretch the dough to fill the pizza pan. Cover the pizza pan and let it rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours before adding topping and banking the pizza.

To Bake

Preheat oven to 500 F

Add toppings to your pizza and bake for 20 minutes, turning the pan at least once during the process.

Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan to cut.

Easy Pizza Sauce

OK, I know its easy to pick up a jar of pizza sauce at the grocery but what do you do if you find yourself ready to make a pizza but don’t have any pre-made pizza sauce? Um, you make it yourself and after the first time you make, you might never buy pizza sauce again. We’ve been making our own pizzas for a few years now have settled on a couple techniques. One is to use the pizza dough from Trader Joe’s because it’s so convenient and it taste good. The other method is to use Trader Joe’s Lavash Bread. We’ve used a lot of different sauces for the pizza but we’d never set out to make a traditional pizza sauce because we always have a jar or can of a store bought sauce. One day we realized we didn’t have any pizza sauce so we looked online for directions. There are a lot of them but we didn’t want to spend hours simmering a sauce and we didn’t want to use a lot of ingredients. When we found a selection with simple ingredients and simple cooking methods, we took the flavor profile we were looking for and came up with this easy pizza sauce recipe. We’ve used it a number of times now and it always turns out great.

Some comments on the ingredients – this is supposed to be easy and from items already in your pantry.  If you don’t have the separate containers of oregano, basil and rosemary, you can substitute with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning mix. If you don’t have garlic cloves you can substitute with other forms of garlic. Check out this conversion for using garlic powder, garlic salt, etc.

We also found a similar recipe that uses 1 (28-ounce) can of whole tomatoes. You could use this instead of the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of water if you don’t have the tomato paste on hand.


  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Combine all ingredients into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils.

Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, or until it has the thick consistency of pizza sauce.

Allow sauce to cool and spread on pizza dough and add the toppings of your choice.

Grilled Artisan Pizza – Asian Shrimp & Cilantro Pizza

Spicy Shrimp Pizza on the grill
Last summer, the Austin American-Statesman (our local newspaper) ran an article on grilling pizza on your backyard grill. I’ll admit, I have never thought about this as a possibility and usually use a frozen pizza as a starting point and then add extra ingredients. For example, we’ll get something like a frozen pepperoni pizza and then add extra meat and cheese before we cook it in the oven.

The idea of cooking pizza on the grill combines two of my favorite foods so I was definitely game to try this out. First things first, I had never made pizza dough so that had to be tackled first. The article says any type of pizza dough would work but I decided to use their basic pizza dough recipe. We’ve tried multiple recipes for pizza dough but this one is easy and seems to be the one we keep coming back to.

The decision of what to put on top of your pizza seems like an unlimited array of options. We have tried many types of toppings and have found that leftover meats make a great topping. Got some leftover BBQ? Throw it on a pizza. Leftover chicken? Yep, this goes great on a pizza, especially with a pesto sauce.

One of the toppings that we keep coming back to is a Asian inspired shrimp pizza. I have found numerous recipes for similar pizzas but the inspiration for our shrimp came from The Roxx Box. I really like the apple cider vinegar in this recipe.

This recipe includes the homemade pizza dough recipe but you can also use store bought fresh or frozen dough. I just think it’s fun to make the dough from scratch.

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of honey (or sugar)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt
  • Cornmeal or polenta for dusting dough before grilling
  • Extra olive oil for coating the bowl to rise the dough

Combine the water, olive oil and honey in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on the water mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. Then stir and let sit for a couple minutes longer.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Slowly mix in the water mixture using a half cup at a time. Continue to mix until all the water mixture is worked into the flour. If the dough is stiff add a little water. If the dough is too sticky, add some extra flour. Continue to mix the dough until it is elastic and doesn’t stick to you fingers. Then knead the dough for one minute on a floured surface. Don’t overwork the dough or it will be tough.

Roll the dough into a ball and place in a large well oiled bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl so that the oil is covering the dough. Then, drizzle the dough the extra olive oil. Tightly cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. It should more than double in size.

Punch the dough and then lightly knead it for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is smooth. Then, cut into two even sizes and create a ball of each one. You can use this immediately or wrap it in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to start. We just put ours in a ziplock bag and left it on the counter. The recipe we used from the newspaper also states you can freeze the balls for up to one month and then let them thaw in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use them. I can confirm this does work very well for us. A lot of times we make a double batch and freeze half of it so it’s easier to do on a work night. Because it is time consuming, this is usually a weekend meal, but using frozen dough can be done any night of the week.

The Shrimp topping recipe follows below. This is enough for one 12 inch pizza but the dough recipe is enough for two 12 inch pizzas. We usually make two pizzas and the other will usually be a basic margarita pizza of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Sometimes, we’ll add pepperoni to the margarita. I know it’s not traditional, but who cares, it’s pepperoni!

Pizza Topping Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 1 pound shelled shrimp (we use the frozen small shrimp but fresh medium are best if available)
  • 1-2 tbsp Sriracha sauce (or any chili sauce of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro, divided
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a saute pan and place on medium heat. Add the red onions and saute. Reduce the heat to low and continue to saute until the onions are dark brown. Then, stir in the sugar, vinegar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic. Stir this until the liquid evaporates and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In another saute pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place on medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste (we just add a pinch of both). Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic and continue to saute. Next, add the chili sauce and mix well. Remove the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro. Now, mix the shrimp with the onions and set aside, waiting for the dough.

At this point you need to roll out your pizza dough. We usually make 2 pizzas at once but you can divide it into 4 so you get 4 individual pizzas. Coat your work surface with grits or polenta, Place your dough ball in the middle of the surface. Start working from the center and gently stretch and pull it from center until you get a roughly 12 inch roundish shaped piece of pizza dough. It should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch think. Drizzle both sides with oil.  You need a good coating on both sides with help give a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by two corners and, in one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grates of a hot grill. We use medium heat on our gas grill for this. Close the lid and grill for 2 minutes, then use tongs to gently flip the dough and grill for 1 minute.

Use your tongs to transfer the crust to a baking sheet, we use the bottom side so you can slide it easier. Now, we take the pizza doughs back into the kitchen and put our toppings on them. Put the shrimp mixture on the pizza, and add the cheese, tomatoes, remaining 3 tablespoons of cilantro over the pizza.

Now we put the pizza back onto the grill. We use a gas grill and what we do is put the pizza on indirect heat by placing the pizza in the center of the grill and turning off the gas in the middle, leaving just the outside burners going on medium-high level. Cook like this until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown. Bring it in and you’re ready to serve.

Grilled Pizzas - Spicy Shrimp and Margarita