As I bid farewell to the infamous Covid-19 infused summer of 2020, I do my routine reflection on the best pizzas of the season. While retracing my pizza-eating escapades a sweet, sticky, molasses-brown infatuation became hard to ignore: BBQ sauce.
The last three months of sunshine didn’t have as many friend-filled backyard barbeques as usual, but I still celebrated by incorporating that cookout flavor into my Friday night pizza-nights.
My summer fling with BBQ on pizza began when the ol’ red sauce started to feel a little stale. In our decades together we built glorious memories, but it was time for a little more flair underneath my mozzarella. Out of boredom I began to peruse further into my favorite pizzeria menus and I noticed that BBQ Chicken pizzas were popping up as frequently as pepperoni.
After I succumbed to a couple sultry affairs, I was fully seduced by the sweet and salty pairing of savory chicken, salty cheeses and BBQ sauce. And as our chance encounters turned routine, my heart became smitten by hints of cilantro, the bite of red onion and sprinkles of bacon.
Now for a trip down memory lane with a list Summer 2020’s best BBQ Chicken pizzas.
Wild Tomato, Fish Creek, WI. “The Old Faithful”.
For the Luther’s the summer wouldn’t be complete without our annually trip to Door County and while Covid may derail the dine in experience at our mainstay Wild Tomato it is certainly not slowing down their carryout business.
Since we only visit once a year we usually go for our usual standby’s; the D-lux or Sausage & Pesto (add goat cheese), but this year in the midst of my BBQ Chicken Pizza affair I opted for the “The Old Faithful” (their version of a BBQ chicken pizza).
Though some were skeptical of the BBQ chicken pizza addition once it showed up everyone wanted a piece. (I’ve found that to be a common theme with BBQ chicken pizzas; it never quite seems to be anyone’s first choice, but once it’s there, everyone wants some.) This rendezvous confirmed that BBQ chicken pizza is phenomenal vacation pizza.
Luigi’s, Madison, WI “BBQ Chicken”.
When I think of Luigi’s I think creative Italian inspired takes; like meatballs, Italian chopped salads and pastas, but within their forward thinking menu sits a bomb BBQ chicken pizza.
The BBQ sauce that topped their thin crust was rich and savory and was covered with a combination of mozzarella and gouda cheeses. The charred thin crust, cilantro and addition of bacon made this one of my favorites of the summer.
Glass Nickel, Fitchburg, WI. “Santa Fe”.
If you’re in the mood for a dynamite hand-tossed pizza that’s loaded with toppings Glass Nickel is your place. They’ve got a menu chock full of specialty pies, so it’s not surprise they’ve got a solid BBQ chicken game with their “Santa Fe”.
Their juicy chunks of chicken are the star. Hand’s down the best quality chicken out of any of the BBQ chicken pizzas I’ve tried—no weird pieces, just quality cubes of chicken breast (rumor has it they actually roast their chickens in house.)
Pizza Di Roma West, Madison, WI. BBQ Chicken Slice.
BBQ chicken pizza and New York Style slices rarely get lumped together, but the BBQ chicken slice at Pizza Di’s is amazing and actually one of the first BBQ Chicken Pizza’s I’ve ever enjoyed (I had friends that worked their through college that would swear by this slice.)
The slice is not only the size of your head, but also it’s covered with shredded chicken that has been simmered in BBQ sauce. It’s sprinkled with crispy bits of bacon that sizzle up in their deck ovens.
And now, my appetite is aroused (lucky for me Tess whips up a mean home-made version.)
Even though the air is getting crisp and the leaves are changing colors, there is still time to hold onto the sweet(baby-ray)ness of summer. Remember, if life under the siege of Covid starts feeling dull, you can always flirt with a new pizza.
What I’m fondly daydreaming of eating: BBQ Chicken pizza on a sunny summer afternoon.
What I’m reading: Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story -Arnold Schwarzenegger