Recipe of the Month: Cast Iron Meat Lovers Pizza

Ingredients

(Yields 6 pizzas; 8 slices per pizza)

6 lb. pizza dough
4½ c. pizza sauce
1½ qt. mozzarella cheese (low-moisture), shredded
2 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 ⅛ c. sweet onion, peeled and diced
1 ⅛ c. green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 ⅛ c. black olives, drained and sliced
1½ c. hot Italian sausage
1½ c. quartered ham
1½ c. pepperoni
1½ c. bacon pieces, fully cooked

Instructions:

Stretch or roll 1 lb. of dough to 14” and place in an oiled 12” cast-iron pan. Turn the edge of the dough down and press to form a crust. Spread ¾ c. pizza sauce evenly over the dough; top with 1 c. cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 3 tbsp. onion, 3 tbsp. green pepper, and 3 tbsp. olives. Top with ¼ c. each of hot Italian sausage, quartered ham, pepperoni and bacon pieces. Cover pizza with foil and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Mad About Meat Toppings

Many purists believe that all you need to make a great pizza is dough, tomato sauce and cheese. But meat lovers will tell you otherwise. From pepperoni, ham and sausage to chicken, meatballs and venison, meat toppings pump up the protein content and appease our most basic caveman instincts. Some innovators have even waded deep into the swamps for toppings such as alligator and python meat. Here’s a look at some mega-meat selections on menus around the United States:

Located in Ithaca, New York, College Town Pizza & Subs (collegetownpizzaithaca.com) goes the classic route with its Meat Lover Pizza, featuring steak, meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and ground beef.

PMQ editor-in-chief Rick Hynum highly recommends This Little Piggy from Slice Pizza & Brew (slicebirmingham.com) in Birmingham, Alabama. This pork lover’s delight satisfies with Molinari pepperoni, capicola ham, Italian sausage, prosciutto and bacon, plus roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

At Erbelli’s Pizzeria, Italian Bistro & Pub (erbellis.com), with locations in Portage and Kalamazoo, Michigan, guests can feast on the Grizzly Bear, which comes loaded with spicy-hot grilled chicken, hard Genoa salami, spicy capicola, housemade meatballs, pepperoni and housemade Italian sausage.

In the mood for something truly wild? Give the Big Game Hunter a shot at Austin, Texas-based Hill Country Ranch Pizzeria (hillcountryranchpizzeria.com). It’s piled high with venison, wild boar summer sausage and breaded alligator meat, with garlic, bell peppers and onions thrown in for good measure.