Summer is coming. In Portland, OR, we’ve already clocked more than a dozen days above 80 (which, if you’re a Portlander, you know is out of character. It’s supposed to be cold and rain until the 4th of July). With the good weather comes grilling season, and for a surprise I snagged us a new (used) grill off a neighbor who was upgrading to maximize our grilling potential for the summer. What did I end up with you ask? A combo grill/smoker that has more space for things like GRILLED PIZZA. Could I do a pizza on my old grill? Yes, but not a nice big pizza, it would have had to have been little dinky things. I decided to celebrate by creating a fun summery spread in partnership with the Oregon Berry Commission, who challenged me to make a savory berry recipe to share.
I decided on a grilled blackberry BBQ chicken pizza flatbread because it captures the essence of summer and utilizes a recipe style I’m always hungry for: grilled pizza!
This is not a recipe for a beginner–sorry about that. I liked making this recipe in 2 major steps. The first is the day prior to your grill fest; I suggest starting with the BBQ Blackberry sauce (this will refrigerate for up to 5 days), and pizza dough start (I’ve linked below to the one we use, which involves a bit of quick prep, overnight gestation, and next day processing), but you can always go with your go-to crust recipe or even pre-made. I’m no got going to judge. For the berries, I use frozen for the sauce and fresh for on top, but you could easily use fresh for both portions, simply add an extra 3/4 cup water when cooking the sauce.
When it comes time to build your pizza, heat up the grill and take the temperature to ensure you’re good to go (magic number is 450°F by the way). You can choose to make your pizza on a stone, a cast iron, or directly on the grill, if you like to be a risk taker. The point of this recipe is to have some fun with it–the result will be delicious and the rewards sweet–especially with berries in season!
BBQ Blackberry Chicken Flatbread Pizza
The below portions are to make two 12-inch pizzas
Blackberry BBQ Sauce
- 1 c Ketchup
- 1 T Apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c Molasses
- 10 oz Frozen blackberries, thawed
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 Chipotle chilis en adobo sauce (start with 3, add a 4th if you can handle heat), chopped
- 1/4 t salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 t cornstarch
The recipe I used was Alton Brown’s overnight pizza dough–why re-invent the wheel, am I right?
- 1/2-1 c BBQ sauce
- 1 c Smoked Gouda, grated
- 1 c Goat cheese, broken up
- 1.5 lb chicken thighs, grilled, chopped, and tossed with a few tablespoons of the Blackberry BBQ Sauce
- 1 White onion, chopped
- 1 c fresh blackberries, cut in half
- 1/2 c Fresh basil, chopped
- Additional basil may be cut up and reserved for topping once the pizza comes off the grill
Start by making the sauce–this will be best spooned on to your crust after it’s had some time to acquaint itself with your fridge. in a medium sized pot, combine thawed berries (if fresh, chop berries and add with 3/4 c water), ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, molasses, and chilis. bring to a boil then simmer for 20 min, allowing the sauce to thicken but don’t let it burn! Once simmering is complete, taste, salt and pepper, and maybe throw in another chopped chili, or if you’re nervous, just another teaspoon of the adobo sauce. This sauce is all about your comfort with the taste. It should be a little vinegary, but now it’s time to balance the acidity–prep the cornstarch by combining with 2 t ice water to form a paste. Add the mixture to the sauce, it’s going to bubble! keep stirring and the heat will activate the cornstarch and thicken it up. Taste it again, the vinegar will have mellowed and the sweetness will be more forward, heat on the back end.
Prep your dough if you’re doing Alton’s recipe, if you’re planning on making some day of dough, he’s got a great grill dough recipe I’m a fan of as well, but it’s going to end up with a different texture than the overnight dough I linked to above. Roll out the dough to the desired pizza size. The crust should be evenly rolled out and thin– prep it on a cutting board that you’ll be transferring straight to the grill.
Prep the pizza toppings and have them ready to build.
When you’re ready to combine and cook, get the fire on the grill going–Preheat your stone, cast iron pan, or whatever you’d like to put the pizza on. Check the temperature before you put the crust down, then toss it on– FOR 2 MINUTES. Pull it from the grill, flip, and dress the cooked side with your sauce (don’t go overboard, just a thin layer), cheese, onion, berries, and chicken. If you want to level up the grill flavor, wide cut your onions and grill them when you do the chicken. You may prefer to leave the basil off to the end–that is just fine.
Once the pizza is dressed, place it back on the grill and cover–cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to set for about 10 minutes–then top with your basil (if you’ve kept it off to this point), and enjoy!
This post was sponsored by the Oregon Berry Commission. Love blackberries? Check out my recipe for a Lemon Cake with Blackberry Glaze. If you would like to check out more recipes head over to their recipe archive.