Well, this team is real, and you know it now. The O-line is bringing it, we have two running-back studs and the coaching staff not only knows how to get a team ready for action, but can actually make defensive adjustments on the fly. I see at least some kind of bowl game in our future, and is it too much to ask that it be in nearby Memphis?
Meanwhile, it’s time to get focused on a complete team effort against Samford, giving us a chance to get some reps for our backup quarterback. And it is also time to make something cool for the amazing tailgate scene at War Memorial Stadium. I say, let’s grill some pizza.
I love every kind of pizza, but there’s something magical about a crisp, thin-crust pie that can stand up to meaty, substantial toppings. If you want your pizza thin and crispy, you need really hot temperatures. And what better to deliver the heat — and the bonus of smoky flavor — than the backyard grill? Grill it at home, or grill it at the game, but please try this recipe. Stay on your toes while the dough is cooking and you will be really pleased with your effort.
Grilled pizza is something you might think is too hard to pull off, but it is truly too good to pass over, especially when you smother it with the smoky and sweet toppings we are putting on our pizzas this week. And what else would you cook a pizza on while tailgating?
I have had a lifelong love affair with Petit Jean ham, made right here in Arkansas, and I am convinced that it is the finest ham in the U.S. Smoky, salty and simply perfect, Petit Jean might be the best food product made in the state, with small apologies to Diamond Bear beer. Knowing that our pizza would have smoky flavors from the grill, I certainly wanted it to feature Petit Jean ham. A note to the Petit Jean people: Send me a t-shirt; I will wear it proudly.
From there, we created two different variations: the first, a classic Hawaiian with pineapple and ham, and the other a mix of the ham and purple onions. But for a twist, both pizzas would be held together by a creamy-tart blend of three cheeses: mozzarella, sharp cheddar and a little blue. In fact, we used the small amount of blue cheese left over from those amazing blue-cheese burgers of the Gods I developed a couple of blogs ago. Leave out the blue, if you like. A substitute might be parmesan reggiano or pecorino romano.
First and Ten: Grilled Pizza with Petit Jean Ham
Two cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup luke-warm water
Package of sliced Petit Jean ham
A small amount of pizza or spaghetti sauce (canned or homemade — no more than half of a jar — avoid Italian spices like oregano and basil for this pizza. I just whipped up a sauce with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, pepper and olive oil because that is what we had)
1/4 purple onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
A blend of shredded or crumbled cheeses. I used 2 parts mozzarella, 2 parts sharp cheddar, and 1 part or less of blue cheese (or another super-sharp cheese — just see what you have in the fridge and adjust to taste.)
1 can of sliced pineapple, drained. Or, get fancy and buy a fresh pineapple.
Cheddar and smoked ham are fantastic together, as all of you know. If the cheese is smoked, all the better. Really, you can put whatever you like on this pizza, but I chose to base my pizza around great ham, and simply took it from there.
The most important thing about grilled pizza is the crust. It has to be thin, and you have to work fast. So to learn how to grill this pizza, click over to Razorgumbo now!
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