Chicago Deep Crust Pizza

My wife introduced me to Chicago deep crust pizza during our first trip to her hometown to meet her family.   Needless to say,  I was immediately hooked by that delicious buttery crispy crust and sweet tomato sauce.    In the time span of living in six states, plus the UK, we have yet to find a comparable pizza.  When we ran across a recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction web site, we immediately gave it a try; and what better way to try it than on my new toy, the Kamado Joe?

We were both very pleased with the end result and think this recipe is as good as any deep dish pizza we’ve had in Chicago.



(recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Pizza Crust (makes about two 9 inches  pizzas):
3  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1  1/4 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
1 1/4 cups slightly warm water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened)
olive oil

Tomato sauce:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
Toppings (for 2 Pizzas)
4 cups shredded low moisture mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
optional toppings, add to suit your taste: peperoni, cooked sausage,  sliced green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and so on

You will also need a 9×2 , or larger, deep dish round cake pan or cast iron skillet

Directions for the crust:

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in a bowl.  Give those ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon. Add the warm water (about 90F) and 1/4 cup of melted butter (make sure the water and butter aren’t too  hot as this would will kill the yeast) .

On low speed,  mix the ingredients until everything begins to be moistened. Continuing on low speed (or knead by hand if you do not own a mixer),  until it is soft and supple and gently pulls away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- about 4-5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

Once the dough is ready, place it on a lightly flour a large work surface. Gently punch down the dough to remove any air bubbles and roll the dough into a large 15×12 rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough then roll the dough lengthwise.


Cut the dough log in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place back into your greased bowl.


Cut the dough log in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place back into your greased bowl. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise in the refrigerator  for 1 hour.   This is the perfect time to make the sauce and enjoy a glass of wine or beer!

Note: you can also keep the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or freeze the dough for 1-2 months, and let it thaw for about 1 hour on the counter when ready to use.

For the sauce:


Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt, lightly brown the garlic, then add tomatoes, and sugar.   Optional: you can also add a small cut up onion with the garlic.

Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty and thick. You want to make sure that the sauce is nice and thick (not runny like traditional pizza or pastas sauce).

Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used.
Preheat the oven or Kamado to 425F degrees.
Assemble the pizzas:

After the dough balls have risen in the refrigerator, they should be puffy. Keep one ball of dough in the refrigerator while you work with the first one.

Roll the ball on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 12-inch circle then place over your deep dish pan or cast iron pan.   Using your fingers, press the dough all the way around so that it is nice and tight against the dish, without any air pockets. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife.  Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil to give the crust a beautiful sheen.


Fill each pizza with 2 cups of low moisture mozzarella, then add your toppings, followed by the tomato sauce (about 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce per pizza).


You can sprinkle the pizza with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese now, or immediately after it’s finished cooking.


Bake , or  grill at 425-450F in your Kamado (on indirect heat) for 25-40 minutes /until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizzas from heat allow to cool in the pans for 5- 10 minutes, then slice it up and enjoy!


Place any leftover pizza in the refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Reheat  in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot.  You can also partially cook the pizza, then re-heat the whole thing at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.




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