A couple years ago, I was browsing around the internet and stumbled across what may just be the most genius idea EVER. Ok, so maybe just the most genius idea in regards to sauces…but trust me, it’s a good one. Shawnda over at The Brewer and the Baker decided to combine cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce to serve on pulled pork sandwiches. At first I was hesitant: You can’t just throw together two polar opposites like that; it’s reckless! The flavors would clash, right?
Wrong! The sweet zing of cranberry beautifully complements the smokiness of the barbecue sauce in a way I would have never imagined. Their holy matrimony hoists the flavor to a whole new class of deliciousness…a class I want in on.
While I’m sure various types of each sauce would pair well, the only combo I can vouch for is this homemade cranberry sauce with Stubb’s Original BBQ sauce. Just mix them one-to-one and voilà, you have:
- a delicious topping for grilled meats
- the base for an unbelievable pan sauce (after pan-searing chicken or pork, deglaze with some broth or wine, add sliced yellow onion to caramelize, then stir in the sauce)
- a unique panini spread
- a flavor-bomb to mix into burgers before cooking
Pizza sauce! (Probably the one I turn to the most)
This pizza is bursting with flavor, uniqueness, and finger-licking smoky-sweet-tangy deliciousness. It is honestly my favorite pizza ever. And I don’t choose favorites often.
For the crust, you can use your favorite homemade or store-bought dough, which I would recommend cooking on a hot pizza stone (pictured above is my homemade white whole wheat crust).
Another great option, if you can find it, is this wood-grilled wheat pizza crust from The Pizza Gourmet. The smoky wood-grilled flavors come out amazingly well, and it crisps up wonderfully, especially on a “holey” pizza pan like this one from Williams-Sonoma.
For the meat, you can use turkey (think Thanksgiving/Christmas leftovers!), chicken (rotisserie, pan-seared, or baked), pork (any part; I like pork tenderloin), or even bacon. This is a great way to use up leftovers, but pan-searing chicken breast strips or sliced pork tenderloin is also quick and easy to do right before topping.
Cranberry BBQ Pizza
- Homemade/store-bought pizza dough OR pre-cooked crust (such as The Pizza Gourmet’s wood-grilled wheat crust)
- pulled/chopped turkey, chicken, or pork
- 1 – 1.5 Tbsp homemade cranberry sauce
- 1 – 1.5 Tbsp BBQ sauce (such as Stubb’s Original)
- thinly sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
- sliced yellow or sweet onion
- torn spinach leaves (opt.)
- 1 – 1.5 oz shredded fontina*
- 1 – 1.5 oz shredded smoked gouda*
If using a pizza stone, place in the oven at least and hour ahead of time, then preheat the oven to 475º. Leave stone in the oven to heat.
Prepare meat as necessary:
- For chicken, season 2-3 tenderloin strips with salt and pepper and cook in a lightly-oiled nonstick skillet about 5-6 minutes per side; allow to cool, then pull apart.
- For pork tenderloin, slice 4-6 oz in half, season with salt and pepper, and pan-sear on each side until slightly pink in the middle; chop into small pieces.
- For bacon (I use turkey bacon), cook 2-3 strips over medium heat on each side until done.
- If using leftovers, just pull into small pieces.
If desired, lightly sauté the onion and mushrooms. If you just cooked chicken/pork/bacon, deglaze the pan with 1-2 Tbsp broth then add onion and mushrooms; stir to incorporate the flavorful browned bits, and cook just until the veggies are slightly tender.
Make the sauce: Simply mix the cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce in a small bowl. (1 Tbsp each for a 10-inch pizza, 1.5 Tbsp each for a 14-inch pizza.)
Prep dough as necessary: Spread prepared dough onto parchment paper lightly dusted with cornmeal. Cut the parchment paper around the dough, leaving a small lip of parchment.
Top your pizza: Spread sauce all over the dough/crust, then top with meat of choice, spinach, mushrooms, and onion. If using dough, wait on the cheese!
- If using dough and a pizza stone: Reduce oven temperature to 450º. Remove stone from oven, and carefully slide dough and parchment onto the hot stone. Bake about 6 minutes (before adding cheese). Quickly remove stone from oven, slide parchment out from under the pizza, add cheese, and return to the oven. Bake about 6 minutes longer, or until the crust is crisp and cheese is melty.
- If using a pre-cooked crust, simply place on a pizza pan (preferably with holes), add all your toppings (including cheese), and bake 10-12 minutes (or according to package directions).
Slice and enjoy!
*I highly recommend buying blocks of cheese and shredding them yourself for ultimate meltiness. (Let’s pretend that’s a word.)