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.




Vincent’s Pizza Park

I’m always looking for a good pizza. I’ve been told by a number of people that Vincent’s pizza is good, so I decided to give it a go this weekend.

I was told it can get pretty busy, so I went there with the family at 5 PM. The “Home of the Vinnie Pie” was easy to find with a large sign on the roof as it was still daylight, but I noticed that the sign isn’t light up and thus it could be hard to find when it’s dark. The restaurant takes cash only. There’s an ATM inside.

Initial impressions: Good. The place reminded me of a 1980’s pizza joint, and had a comfortable feel to it, for a pizza joint. We were greeted promptly and told to choose our own table which was easy as the place was only 1/2 full. We chose a large booth in the back of the restaurant which fit our party of 7 very comfortably.

SERVICE: poor. Once at our table, 15 minutes passed before someone came to the table to take care of us. Luckily we already had menus on hand so we ordered immediately. Once the order was placed, it took roughly another 15 minutes to get our drinks, and 45 minutes to get our food. We had ordered 2 pizza, the mushroom/onion/sausage pizza came after 45 minutes and the cheese pizza came after 55 minutes. It took the waitress 10 minutes to bring our bill after we asked for it. Mind you, this terrible service occured when the restaurant was 1/2 empty. I can’t imagine what it’d be if we had come later in the evening. On the plus side, the waitress was very friendly.

FOOD: above average. Vincent’s pizza has a thick crust on the edges, which thins out towards the middle. You can taste the freshly made dough, it’s delicious. Vincent also passed my 3 quality assessment test for pizza places: Do they use canned or fresh mushrooms, is the sausage “rabbit droppings” or the real stuff, and do they use real cheese? I’m happy to say that Vincent’s passes on all accounts (fresh mushrooms, real sausage, real cheese) – and that translates into a great tasting pizza. I’d been told their pizza were very greasy, but the two that we had definitely were not in that category. Also, the pizza did not taste too salty (Minio’s, in Squirrel Hill, is quite greasy and salty by comparison).    Another plus:  they have several beers on tap.  We had Samuel Adam’s spring beer which was fantastic.

Vincent's Pizza

PRICES:  reasonable.   A large cheese pizza, which will feed at least 4 people cost $14.    A large 3 topping pizza tops $30 but it’ll probably feed 5 or 6 people.

CLEANLINESS: The dining area was clean. The men’s bathroom was disgusting with the urinal overflowing onto the floor.

CONCLUSION:  Vincent’s pizza makes a great pizza – fresh ingredients, great crust, not too greasy or salty. I put it above Mineo’s pizza for sure. I’d love to have a pizza place close to home which I could frequent on a regular basis, and I had hoped this would be it (I don’t like take out very much, as the pizza never seems to taste as good at home compared to fresh out of the oven) but I don’t think this place will do.   Service was terrible and frankly, it makes me pause as to whether I’d return there. I probably will go back eventually, because the pizza really is quite tasty – but it won’t be anytime soon. When I do go back, I’ll make sure to go early, be in no rush, not starving, and have an empty bladder.

What’s your favorite pizza place?