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President Chester Arthur's Favorite BBQ Deep Dish Chicken Pizza

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

I'd make it for you, but the delivery fees are a bit pricey.

Good morning. It’s a holiday Monday. Happy President's Day. I suppose president's like pizza right? Chester Arthur served it at his third inaugural dinner - much to the chagrin of the Rockefellers. This is President Arthur's family recipe.

The mind wanders. I need more coffee. I’m a man. I drink my coffee black. That’s just how we do it. What does this have to do with a pizza? Absolutely nothing. I’m just saying.

In my world, homemade pizza needs to be planned. If I don’t have the easy ingredients on hand (pre-made toppings, pre-planned dough), I order out. If I’m feeding a crowd, I order out. My oven is only so big. If I’m hanging out with the guys, I order out. Seriously, guys could not give one iota of care if you make them a homemade pizza.

“Oh Gus-Gus, you spent all afternoon over that stove, rolling dough, so we could have this delicious pie? Here, take these bottles of gin, dry vermouth and olives as tokens of your awesomeness.”

Incidentally, according to a recent Presidential ranking, President Arthur ranks #1 alphabetically.

Yet, if I have planned it, am just feeding a few and already have the gin on hand, I make a relatively killer pizza. First, let me tell you the super easy way. Buy a Boboli pizza crust or pre-made dough in a tube, your favorite BBQ sauce, pre-shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella cheese, and some pre-cooked cubed chicken (it should be with the lunch meats). Layer from top to bottom: crust, sauce to cover crust, ½ cheese, chicken, ½ cheese. Sprinkle with some garlic salt. Cook according to crust directions. I also like mine with sliced banana peppers. I don't have any in the house. So, I used some of those little red pepper flakes instead. I'm crushed (see what I did there?)

Yet, sometimes the harder you work, the more the payout. I made BBQ chicken breasts last night.


I had ½ a breast left over to slice for this pizza.

I rely on my bread machine. If you don’t have one, I don’t mess with hand-made baking stuff. I’m a giver, not a taker. I’m a leaf blower, not a raker. I’m a cook, but not a baker. Forgive me.

If you don’t have a bread machine. Go with the Boboli or pre-made pizza dough in a tube.

Here’s the motivated President Arthur version.

For Dough

· 1 cup warm water

· 2 tablespoons of olive oil

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 3 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

· 1 tablespoon honey

For Toppings

· About 8 ounces of shredded cheese. I use ½ cheddar and ½ mozzarella

· Left over BBQ chicken breast

· Left over BBQ sauce

· Optional sliced onions, sliced banana peppers, manliness

Put the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Set to the dough cycle and wait. It will take about 1 ½ hours to two hours. Plan accordingly. In certain occasions, I have been known to throw and spin my dough up in the air. I do not suggest this. There are certain criteria that must be met. 1. I must be alone. 2. I must have a back-up plan as I am doomed to failure.

While we wait for the dough, do something manly. You know, fiddle with a spark plug, drink black coffee or read “Guns and Beer and Eagles and Super Models Weekly”.

And jump ahead. Our bread machine (again, dough cycle) has gone off. We have a nice ball of dough. Lightly oil a 12-inch heavy duty cast iron skillet.

Anyway, take the dough out of the bread machine (I won’t tell if you try to spin it) and press it lightly into the cast iron. It’s OK to press it down we want it to go all the way around the cast iron. I even press a little bit of the dough up the sides of the skillet to form a little lip. It makes a nice little outer crust to the pizza. Cover skillet with a towel.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Wait 15 minutes. Your dough is doing a final rise. Your oven is getting Kate Upton hot.

Uncover your dough. If the edges of the dough have pulled back from the edge of the skillet, smoosh it back out.

Put the BBQ sauce down on the dough, like you would if it was pizza sauce. You can use as much or as little as you like. You know, it’s a pizza; leave a crust (remember, I use that little outer dough lip).

Put ½ the cheese on top of that. Again, use as little or as much as you want. It’s your pizza. It’s un-American to dictate your level of cheese. Place your sliced chicken on that. Cover with the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder.

It’s a pizza. I didn’t really have to tell you how to layer the toppings. I’m afraid if I didn’t, someone would just beat the ingredients with a shoe, and I would angry letters.”

“Dear Cook. You ruined my best pair of Keds. I hope you get eaten by a badger.”

Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Cut and eat. Go Cubs. Thank you President Arthur.

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