Make California Pizza Kitchen’s Famous BBQ Pizza at Home

Rising up in a Northern California suburb, California Pizza Kitchen was formative for me—a spot for birthdays, teen theater forged events, and peculiar highschool dates, and the positioning of my first chunk of spinach-artichoke dip (it was positive). Final yr for his birthday, my husband, deeply acquainted with CPK’s oeuvre, requested that I make him a basic of the restaurant: the barbecue rooster pizza. Consuming it for the primary time outdoors a CPK, tweaked to account for our grown-up tastes, I discovered the pizza was even higher than I remembered.

I pulled from my childhood nostalgia to create this recipe: a stellar model of the California Pizza Kitchen barbecue rooster pizza, however made to satisfy me the place I’m proper now in life—together with being simple to whip any time the craving strikes.

Barbecue rooster pizza is an fascinating beast. Created for CPK’s opening menu within the mid-80’s by chef Ed LaDou, it’s since grow to be a little bit of a phenomenon, and its core parts—even past the partitions of a California Pizza Kitchen—are fairly well-defined. You’ve the titular rooster and barbecue sauce, after all, but additionally a layer of smoked gouda, thinly sliced purple onion, and a sprinkling of cilantro added after the pizza is baked, for just a little little bit of freshness and one thing inexperienced. Right now the phrases “barbecue rooster pizza” are synonymous with that line-up of components; opponents and imitators don’t stray too removed from LaDou’s authentic imaginative and prescient. However in contrast to most of the different proprietary choices at CPK (the California membership pizza, for instance, or the shrimp scampi pizza), it isn’t primarily based on a non-pizza dish. This was CPK’s try at including one thing to the pizza cannon, and given its pervasiveness, I feel they’ve achieved it.

You may by no means recreate a beloved chain dish at dwelling with one hundred pc accuracy, and I feel that’s factor. A lot of what I really like about CPK has nothing to do with the meals, and the truth that the precise pizza there’s simply okay is a part of its appeal. However that doesn’t imply I can’t (as within the birthday pizza endeavor) make a model in my very own kitchen that’s impressed by an outdated fave, amped up ever so barely to be the type of factor I actually need to eat.

Meaning choosing up pre-made pizza dough from a restaurant close to my house, and cooking it in a skillet for a thicker crust and golden-brown edges. It’s topping the pie with a mixture of mozzarella and smoked gouda for double cheesiness and further stretch. It’s including just a little crushed purple pepper flakes excessive for warmth, to stability out the sweetness of the barbecue sauce. And crucially, it means no rooster. I do know! However mushrooms deliver all the identical meatiness that rooster does, PLUS an additional crispiness on the skin {that a} boneless, skinless breast or thigh by no means may. I feel it’s the best speedy weeknight dinner plan—whether or not you’ve logged a lifetime of CPK hours or not.

‘Shroom time

Barbecue mushroom pizza in a cast iron skillet on a green striped tablecloth.  - 0510 barbecue mushroom pizza lede - Make California Pizza Kitchen’s Famous BBQ Pizza at Home

Our (semi-homemade, vegetarian) homage to California Pizza Kitchen’s finest pie.

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