What is a “Southern Style Pizza“? Is there such a thing? According to Google, there is not. In my quest to challenge myself with cooking like a Southerner, I thought that maybe I needed to take what I know so far about Southern cooking and make myself a Southern Style Pizza.
Growing up in New England with an Italian mother, pizzas from places like Pizza Hut or Dominoes were never carried into our home for dinner. If you wanted pizza in my house, we headed to one of two true Italian restaurants – Louie’s Pizza or Michael’s Trattoria. If we felt like a drive, Pepe’s Pizzeria or Modern Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut was only 20 minutes away. How about a big slice of New York style pizza? Two hour train ride. Even Boston and Providence, which are also only two hours from my hometown, have some incredible pizza joints. With that being said, you could imagine my horror when I moved to the South and discovered I could not find what I call “New England style pizza” anywhere.
I don’t think I ever found a slice of pizza while living in Tennessee or Georgia that I truly loved. Not a single slice did I feel deserved to be in my mental pizza hall of fame. I started making my own pizzas when I realized I could not survive without one of my favorite foods between visits to New England. I taught myself all that I know about pizza making – you have to have the right tools: trusty pizza stone, fresh dough, and an oven that reaches 500 degrees F. I have yet to master the perfect pizza dough, but have quite a few prized creations in my cookbook. My husband requests my pizza on a weekly basis – his favorite is my Chicken Pesto Pizza.
In trying to come up with a Southern Style Pizza I racked my brain of popular Southern staples: bacon, collard greens, fried chicken, biscuits, butter, cornbread, and so on. After a few days of trying to create a recipe, I was about to give up on my self-proclaimed Southern pizza challenge – that was until I saw the Pimento Cheese post on The Hungry Southerner. I started thinking, “Hmm… in my opinion cheese is a necessary ingredient when making pizza … and since pimento cheese is so flavorful and dynamic, it could potentially stand alone on a pizza. But wait – bacon and pimento cheese sounds quite delicious. YUREKA I’ve got it! Let’s bake the dough, shmear on homemade pimento cheese, sprinkle it with cooked bacon crumbles, put it back in the oven ‘til its bubbly and we’re done.”
After my first bite I knew I had discovered something grand. Pimento Cheese and Bacon Pizza. Yum yum yum. My husband, momma, and close friend gobbled up my pizza before I could save a slice for lunch the next day. I used Me-Ma’s Pimento Cheese recipe, thick cut bacon, and a pizza dough recipe I have yet to reveal to the public (it’s not quite perfect). This pizza is so easy and SO Southern. I thought I heard a little scream, “I’m from the South. Eat me now!” when I pulled it out of the oven.
Try it out and I want your honest opinion.
Did The Yankee create a Southern Style Pizza? Is there anything you would do differently?
Share your photos and recipe variations with us at our fanpage!
The Yankee’s Southern Pizza
- 1 ball pre-made pizza dough
- 6 slices thick cut bacon – cooked and crumbled
- Canola Oil
Me-Ma’s Pimento Cheese
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated fine
- 1/2 cup pimentos, drained and chopped
- 4 tsp mayonnaise
- 2-2 1/4 tsp white vinegar
- 2 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat your oven for 500 degrees F. The best pizza is cooked in a HOT oven.
- Take the pizza dough out of its packaging, form it into a ball, put it on a floured surface, drizzle a big of olive oil on top, and then walk far away. The dough needs to rest, undisturbed, for at least an hour at room temperature.
- Prepare Me-Ma’s Pimento Cheese by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate while pizza dough rises.
- When the dough has risen, sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough ball and onto the counter top. Make sure that you use a well-floured surface that is large enough to roll out your dough to the size of your pizza stone or cookie sheet. Use a well floured rolling pin to flatten your dough to a shape that is a little larger than the pizza stone you are using.
- Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of cornmeal on the pizza stone. Carefully transfer your dough onto its baking stone – make sure that there is about an inch of dough draping over the side of the stone. Fold dough over to create a crust. Using a pastry brush, paint the dough and crust with Canola Oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While the pizza is still hot, use a spatula to spread the Pimento Cheese on the dough. Sprinkle bacon on top (I only did half) and put the pizza back in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!