Recently, I was having a conversation with someone who was tossing around the idea of opening a pizza shop in a city whose pizza market is predominated by chain restaurants. I suggested that as a way of setting himself apart, he should focus on using very fresh ingredients; local, seasonal, and organic when possible. In addition to offering a really good traditional pizza with traditional toppings, he could offer a special of the month, something a bit different, which features the most seasonal produce. As an example, I threw out peaches. Well, that got an odd look. So, I continued, Maybe with a BBQ type of sauce and pork or something. The odd look remained.
Over the next couple days, I mentioned this peach and pork pizza idea to a handful of other people, all of whom had the same confused reaction. Maybe I should have let it go, but for some reason, I couldn’t get this pizza off my mind. I mean, people put ham and pineapple on pizza. So why not pork and peaches?
I let the idea simmer in my brain for a while. The pork should be slow-cooked and tender, like pulled pork. The peaches would need to be roasted to make them extra sweet and tender. The sauce should full of tomato flavor, but with a definite sweet bbq accent. The cheese should be melty and mild. The more I thought it through, the more convinced I became that it would work.
So, I picked up a big pork shoulder and got cooking. Pulled pork is something which works best when cooked low and slow. There are several ways to do it, all of which can be successful. My preferred method is to oven-roast the pork, since I can use that method year round and I find that it produces a less mushy result than with a slow-cooker. You can decrease the cooking time by increasing the heat, but low and slow is your best bet for a tender roast, which will pull apart with ease. My recipe is sort of in middle as far as heat and time goes, but if you have more time on your hands, lower the heat and give it a bit more time.
For the sauce, I made a Honey Garlic BBQ sauce. I cooked the sauce along with the pork to pick up some of the pork flavor and allow the flavors to blend and concentrate. This also allows the onion and roasted garlic to slow cook for an even sweeter flavor. For a leaner end-result, you can cook the sauce separate from the roast.
Pulled Pork and Summer Peach Pizza
For the Roasted Garlic-Honey BBQ Sauce:
- 1 15 oz. can Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Mustard
- 1/4 cup Worchestire
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1 tsp Cayenne
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 head Roasted Garlic, cloves removed from the skin*
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
For the Roast:
- 1 5-7 pound Pork Shoulder
- Brown Sugar
- Cayenne Pepper
For the Peaches:
- 2 Peaches, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
For the Pizza:
- 2 12″ Prepared Pizza Crusts
- 2-3 cups Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/3 cup Chives, finely chopped
*Click here for my guide to roasting garlic.
To prepare the roast, trim the excess fat from the exterior. Rub the roast all over with paprika, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy dutch oven pan with a tight fitting lid or in a baking dish that is just big enough to hold the roast, combine all sauce ingredients. Place the roast on top of the sauce and cover. If using a baking dish, tightly seal the pan with foil. Place it in the oven and cook for about 5 hours. No need to check, stir, or baste. Just pop it in a let it do its thing. You’ll know it’s done when the meat starts to pull away from the bone and the internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer, has reached at least 170 degrees. You can also test the meat by scraping a fork into a piece of the roast. It should easily shred from the roast.
For the peaches, place the thin slices in a small baking dish and toss with the brown sugar. You can omit the sugar, if desired, but the small amount of sugar gives the peaches a very light, sweet glaze. Place the baking dish in the oven during the last 30 minutes of the roast’s cooking time.
When the roast is cooked, remove from the oven. Carefully lift the roast from the pan and place it on a rack or in a colander to cool for about 15 minutes.
While the roast is cooling, pour the sauce through a strainer to remove the chunks of onion, garlic, and any pork pieces. Allow the sauce to settle. Then, pour off any excess fat, which will rise to the top or use a spoon to remove the fat. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavor with more salt, cayenne, or honey, as desired.
When the pork is cool enough to handle, but still warm, use a fork to begin pulling the meat. If you scrape the fork against the meat, it should start pulling apart easily. Discard any fatty chunks. I like to go back over the meat with my fingers after pulling it, to make sure there are no slimy, fatty bits remaining.
Pour the sauce over the meat and toss to combine.
For the pizza, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scatter the sauced pork in an even layer over the crust. Place several slices of peach on top of the pork. Sprinkle with a good layer of mozzarella cheese. Garnish with the chopped chives. Bake for about 12 minutes until everything is hot, the cheese is melty and the edges of the crust are golden.
Makes 2 12-inch Pizzas (plus leftover pulled pork for sandwiches!)
This pizza was really good. Even my skeptical husband was pleased!