Are you feeding a hungry family on game day? This homemade meat lover’s pizza loaded with four types of proteins will easily do the trick.
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Try a genuinely fresh pizza from the oven instead of ordering greasy delivery. This recipe is for hungry meat-lovers looking for slices packed with protein. There are layers of pepperoni, sausage, American and Canadian bacon, but the best part about making this from home is that you control the quality of meats and the quantities.
You can even customize the meat toppings with leftovers, creating a more delicious meal the next day. My family always enjoys making pizzas together as we watch the big game on the weekends. I personally like Hawaiian pizza, but my husband Jason is a big fan of this version.
Pizza dough options
You can make the pizza dough from scratch with instant yeast, flour, water, and olive oil. Just prepare it a few hours before you plan to bake, so the dough has enough time to ferment and rise. I like to make it the night before.
You can use store-bought options for convenience if you’re short on time. I usually find 1-pound portioned raw dough in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. Alternatively, pre-baked crusts are another option. Just make sure to follow the package directions.
Pizza sauce options
A tomato-based pizza sauce is the ideal pairing with meat. The concentrated sweet flavor of the ripe tomatoes and natural glutamates help to enhance the savory taste of the toppings. I have an easy homemade marinara sauce to spread on the dough.
Alternatively, you can use store-bought pizza sauce or even open a can of crushed tomatoes for more of a Neapolitan-style flavor.
Add a variety of meat
I use a mix of cured meats like bacon, pepperoni, and Italian sausage. The fermented foods give a much more salty, exciting taste. I also use two types of bacon; smoky American bacon from the pork belly for crispiness, and lean Canadian bacon from the pork loin for a heartier bite. I oven roast bacon each week for meal prep, so I always have some on hand, but you can quickly cook it on the stovetop.
I use mild Italian sausage, just in case the kids want a slice, but you can add red chili flakes later to crank up the heat. Ground beef is also an excellent option for a more neutral taste. I would use 80 to 90% lean so that there is enough fat to add flavor and to keep the beef from drying out in the oven.
Use mozzarella cheese. It’s soft, grates nicely, and is high in moisture. The abundance of water in the cheese’s protein matrix turns it quickly from a solid to liquified shreds that coat the pizza. This process happens around 130ºF (54ºC) for mozzarella, perfect for the quick bake time.
For extra flavor, sprinkle some parmesan on top right before serving. It’s a dry-aged cheese. It doesn’t melt well, but it has a nutty and salty taste for extra umami notes.
Prepare the crust
If refrigerated, let the dough sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature, so it’s easier to stretch. If you made fresh dough (high five!), go ahead and start shaping. Use a large baking sheet or pizza pan lightly greased with olive oil for a crispier bottom.
I sprinkle cornmeal on the pan for more crust texture and to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle or rectangle shape. Brush oil on the edges for more golden, crispy edges.
Layering the ingredients
Baking at the bottom of the oven is better so that the crust gets crisp and thoroughly cooks. After the bacon and sausage are cooked, and the pizza dough is shaped, it’s time to add the toppings. Layer the pizza sauce first, followed by the mozzarella.
Next, add the flatter pieces of meat, like the pepperoni and Canadian bacon. Then sprinkle on the Italian sausage and chopped bacon. Lastly, add the oregano and red chili flakes for extra spiciness. Bake until the cheese is hot and melted, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Serve this with
Yes! Provolone or smoked gouda would add a nice flavor. Cheddar can be mixed with mozzarella for a more fermented, sharp taste. Before serving, add parmesan cheese as a salty garnish, as it doesn’t melt very well.
Thinly sliced red and green bell pepper, red onions, olives, and mushrooms would be excellent additions.
Yes! Use a 12-inch sized crust. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for temperature and bake time.
Freshly grated cheese is best
It’s easy to use pre-shredded cheese from the store. However, manufacturers use anti-caking agents like cornstarch, potato starch, or cellulose in unknown quantities to keep the shreds from sticking together. These ingredients prevent the cheese from melting as well. Take a few minutes to freshly grate the block of mozzarella for a nice smooth melt.
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Meat Lover’s Pizza
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, mild or spicy
- 2 teaspoons cornmeal, optional
- ½ cup pizza sauce, or marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 ounce pepperoni, 8 slices
- 1 ounce Canadian bacon, 2 slices, cut into smaller pieces
- ¼ cup cooked bacon, ¼-inch dice, about 2 slices
- ¼ teaspoon oregano, fresh or dried, optional
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower position and the temperature to 500ºF (260ºC).
- Prepare the Dough – Allow the prepared pizza dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Cook the Sausage – In a medium skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat, breaking it into small pieces. Cook until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool while preparing the rest of the pizza.
- Prepare the Pan – Lightly brush a large baking sheet with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle cornmeal on the pan if desired for a crunchy crust texture.
- Shape the Dough – On a lightly floured surface, stretch and shape the dough into a 10-inch circle—transfer to the baking sheet. Use fingers to press into a 12-inch circle. Leave the edges slightly thicker, about ½-inch tall and wide.Brush olive oil on the edges to make the crust crispier when baked.
- Add the Toppings – Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, followed by the mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, and bacon. Sprinkle on oregano and red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Bake – On the lowest oven rack, cook until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Serve – Immediately slice and serve while still hot.
- Baking Sheet
- If using my homemade pizza dough recipe: The recipe makes enough for 2 pizzas. Double the topping ingredients, or use 1 crust and save the other for later.
- Storing: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Place on a sheet pan and broil on the lowest rack until cheese is hot and bubbling about 5 minutes. Alternatively, microwave in 15 to 30-second intervals until the cheese is melted.
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