We all have that one food we can’t live without. Our food vice. Our weakness. Mine is French fries. I remember at my bachelorette party/wedding shower (it was one in the same party), my girlfriends organized all of my favorite things to eat and drink. What it boiled down to really was a huge plate full of French fries and bottles of sparkling wine. The perfect meal!
My husband’s weakness is pizza. Usually he prefers plain ol’ pepperoni pizza (which I find quite boring). But lately, with his never-ending obsession with trying to perfect his brisket (this is a real problem, people), we once again find ourselves with ridiculously amount of leftovers. So…. Pizza.
I know I know, I’ve shared a similar recipe before. But that was a couple of years ago, when we started this series on uses for leftover brisket. I’ve learned a few things about writing recipes since then (I also like to think my photos have improved. Yes? No? Be honest!). And since we’ve made this recipe more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve learned a few things about making this the most flavorful out-of-this-world meaty, smoky, cheesy, brisket pizza you can eat.
First, and it seems obvious, start with a good pizza dough. It makes a huge difference. I usually make homemade, but recently tried out the dough at Grand Central Bakery. It’s very soft and fluffs up nicely. Find a dough you love, and roll with it (literally).
Second, for the sauce, I like to do ½ BBQ sauce and ½ traditional pizza sauce. If you use all BBQ sauce I find it tends to reduce and can burn easily, and also adds way too much sweetness to the dish masking the flavor of the smoked meat. Mixing BBQ sauce with the pizza sauce adds a nice richness to the sauce without the BBQ sauce dominating the flavor of the meal. Just mix the two together and taste to adjust. Once again, use a good BBQ sauce. If your store doesn’t have anything worthy, use this pinot noir bbq sauce! It’s our current favorite.
The caramelized onions are totally optional. We’ve done the pizza both ways. But I find they really add a nice depth of flavor that really kicks everything up a few notches.
As far as the cheeses, don’t skimp on the smoked cheddar. The blend of the smoked cheddar and mozzarella creates a really nice balance between ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness and awesome smoky flavor.
I suppose, if you don’t have a smoker, you can use baked brisket, or even something cooked in a crock-pot (who does that?!). But really, nothing in the world beats the incredible flavor of perfectly smoked brisket!
I have no doubt that you’re gonna love this pizza. And so will your friends!
- 1 store bought or homemade pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal just enough to cover board if you are using a pizza stone
- ½ red onion sliced (for caramelizing)
- 1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup BBQ sauce I use homemade
- ½ cup pizza sauce or plain tomato sauce
- 1 generous cup of leftover brisket meat shredded (more if you want more of a meaty flavor)
- 1 green onion finely diced (both white and green parts)
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese don’t skimp on the “smoked” cheddar. The smoked element adds great flavor!
- 1 handful cilantro chopped (more or less depending on your true feelings about cilantro)
- ½ teaspoon Maldon aka finishing salt, it’s not necessary but adds a really nice finishing flavor and makes everything else “pop”
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone centered on the top rack.
In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil (or a combination of both) and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned (approx 10 minutes).
In a separate small bowl, mix the BBQ sauce and pizza sauce together.
Stretch and roll out pizza dough to desired width. We have a 16” pizza stone, so we stretch the pizza to approx 14”.
Place dough on pizza pan or board with a tablespoon of cornmeal (if you will be using your stone to cook the pizza. The cornmeal helps the pizza slide off onto the stone). Alternatively, another trick is to place a piece of parchment paper between the pizza pan and the dough. It helps to transfer a heavier pizza in the oven. Roll out your dough to desired width.
Layer your dough with the sauce, then layer on the caramelized onions, leftover brisket, green onions, tomatoes, and both cheeses.
Bake approx 15 minutes or until sides look crisp and cheese is melted.
After removing the pizza garnish with cilantro and a pinch of finishing salt.
These measurements are for a 12"-14" pizza. Adjust ingredients based upon your pizza dough.
In the original recipe I paired this with rosé. I was wise back then, and I’m still wise today. We’ve tried this with everything from sweet white wines to bold reds. The flavors of the pizza are pretty complex, from the sweet caramelized onions and BBQ sauce, to the rich smoky brisket, to the juicy acidic tomatoes, to the melted cheese blend, topped off with cilantro. Rosé is your most versatile bet. We’ve had some success with Zinfandel and Syrah (just make sure it’s not a super rich or bold Syrah). But really, rosé with this pizza rocks! Most recently we tried it with the Thralls Family Cellars 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. It’s got enough juicy fruit and bold flavors with balanced acidity to stand up to this pizza.
More uses for leftover smoked brisket:
For more recipes check out the Recipe Index.
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