Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Carne Diem
Origin: Italian, Chicago, American Midwest
Method: Smoker, Grill, or OvenJump to Recipe
Our Cast Iron Pizza is inspired by one of the best pizza joints in Chicago. Of course I am referring to Pequod's Pizza. While based in Chicago, Pequod's pizza is not really what you would call a traditional Chicago style pizza. It is more like a Ménage a Trois of Sicilian, Chicago, and Detroit style pizzas with an airy, thick, circular focaccia-like crust and a caramelized edge of cheese surrounding the pizza. Like a Chicago style pizza, this pizza is heavy on the flavor (and the carbs). This recipe is enough for two 9-inch deep dish pizzas, which will typically provide enough pizza for about 3-5 average people, or 2 NFL linemen. The amount of dough in the recipe can also be used to make one 12 inch pizza with a little bit of dough left over.
Making the Cast Iron Pizza
Similar to our Sicilian Style pizza and Detroit Style Pizza, this style of pizza is well suited for the grill or smoker as the crust is parbaked. As a result, you avoid soggy crust and can load this bad boy with toppings. For the cheese, we recommend a mix of low-moisture mozzarella and provolone.
Making the dough
Measure out your dough ingredients. We always recommend weighing out the dry ingredients, like the flour. You would be amazed at the amount of variation there is when you just try to use measuring cups. For this recipe, you will need 450 grams of pizza flour. If you do not have a scale, you will need about 3 cups of flour (but seriously get a scale, your baking will be that much better for it). This will provide you enough dough for two 9-inch cast iron pizzas or one 12 inch pizza with a little left over dough.
Proof the yeast
Proof the yeast by whisking it into ¼ cup warm (not hot) water. It should bubble and foam. If the yeast clumps all together and floats on top it is dead and you will need to get new yeast.
Mix the dough
In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour with the diastatic malt powder. Diastatic malt powder helps with rise, texture, and browning of breads. If you do not have it, you can substitute some white sugar or honey instead.
Add the ice cold water to the mixing bowl, while mixing on a low speed, reserving a couple tablespoons.
Mix for about 1 minute, and then add in the warm water/yeast mixture. Use the reserved cold water to swirl around the bowl the yeast water was in to get any last bits of yeast that may be stuck to the bowl. Add to the mixer.
Continue to mix for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Add in the salt, and mix on low for about another 1-2 minutes.
Kneed the dough and form into balls
On a clean work surface knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for about 1 hour. After an hour, cut the dough ball into 2 equal sized pieces. Form into balls by gently stretching the dough then folding the pulled section underneath. Rotate ¼ turn and repeat this process. Continue to repeat this process until the gluten in the dough is nicely stretched and smooth, then pinch the seam at the bottom and place the dough ball on an oiled cookie sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough. NOTE: If the dough is tearing, you are pulling it too much. You just need to gently pull it to stretch the gluten. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temp for about 2 hours. Note: Make sure the balls are far enough apart that they will not touch as they rise. Also I have found it helpful to spray the plastic wrap with a little cooking oil to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
Pan the dough
After the dough has risen for a couple hours at room temp, spread about a tablespoon of softened butter over all parts of the cast iron pan, then spread about 1 tea of olive oil around the pan.
Add the dough ball to the pan and gently spread the dough to the edges of the pan. Let the dough rise for another hour in the cast iron pan. This resting will allow the dough to develop an airy, light center with a crispier bottom.
Making the Sauce:
While your Cast Iron Pizza dough is rising, prepare the sauce
For the sauce for our Cast Iron Pizza we use a Chicago style sauce. You will need a 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, and an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce with herbs. You will also want to season the sauce with some basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper.
Drain any excess liquid from the crushed tomatoes (the thick puree is ok to keep just drain the watery stuff). Add to a bowl with the other sauce ingredients and stir well. You can make this sauce ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but always warm up to at least room temp before using. Don't put cold sauce on a pizza.
If you have extra sauce after making your pizza on your grill, the sauce works wonderfully with our Sausage and Pepperoni Stromboli as well.
Parbake your crust
Heat your grill, smoker, or oven to 500 degrees and set up for indirect heat.
Parbake the dough in the cast iron pan for about 5-7 minutes, then remove from the grill and let cool for a few minutes until you feel safe topping the pizza without burning yourself.
Top Your Cast Iron Pizza
After parbaking the dough it is time to make your cast iron pizza.
Place a layer of the provolone cheese on top of the crust. Then place a layer of the mozzarella cheese. You really want to use a low moisture mozzarella for this pizza. If you use a mozzarella with a high moisture content you will end up with liquid pooling on top of the pizza. Low moisture mozzarella can typically be found in the deli section.
After you are done layering the cheese, take ½ of a cup of the shredded white cheddar cheese and spread it along the edge of the crust, between the pan and the crust. This is what forms the wonderful caramelized cheese crust which is a staple of Pequod's and Detroit style pizza. Note: For Detroit style pizza they use Brick cheese which is fantastic if you can find it, but it is not always available everywhere. If you are not a fan of caramelized cheese you can omit this step.
Add your toppings of choice to the pizza. For this style of pizza we like to keep it simple so we went with sausage and pepperoni, but it is your pizza so top it how you want.
Bake the pizza for 7 minutes on the grill or smoker, with the lid closed, then rotate it 180 degrees.
Top the pizza with the sauce and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edge cheese is nicely caramelized. If you really loaded the pizza up with toppings it may require a little extra cooking time.
Enjoy your Pequod's Inspired Cast Iron Pizza!
Carefully remove your cast iron pizza to a heat safe surface. Allow to rest for a couple minutes then cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy!
Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. If you tried and enjoyed our recipe please share with others and please leave us a comment and review. We also love to see your pics so don’t forget to tag us @Carne_Diem_Culinary or #CarneDiemBlog. To be notified of future recipes please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or sign up for our e-mail notifications. Until next time, Carne Diem!
Pequod's Inspired Cast Iron Pizza
- 9 inch cast iron pans
- 15 Slices Deli Style Provolone Cheese divided
- 15 Slices Low Moisture, Deli Style Mozzarella divided
- 1 Cup Shredded White Cheddar Cheese divided
For the Pizza Sauce
- 28 Ounce Can Italian Crushed Tomatoes
- 8 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce with Herbs
- ½ tea Basil
- ½ tea Oregano
- ½ tea Parsley
- ½ tea Garlic Powder
- ½ tea Crushed Red Pepper
Cast Iron Pizza Dough
- 450 Grams Pizza Flour (about 3 Cups)
- 1 Cup Cold Water
- ¼ Cup Warm Water
- 2 tea Diastatic Malt (or White Sugar)
- 1.5 tea Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tea Salt
- Pepperoni, Cooked Sausage, or Toppings of Choice
- Drain the excess watery liquid from the crushed tomatoes and combine with the tomato sauce and spices/herbs.
Making the Dough
- Proof the yeast by whisking it into ¼ cup warm (not hot) water. It should bubble and foam. If the yeast clumps all together and floats on top it is dead and you will need to get new yeast.
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour with the diastatic malt powder. If you do not have diastatic malt powder replace with white sugar or honey.
- With the mixer on low add all but a couple tablespoons of the cold water, followed be the yeast mixture. Use the remaining cold water to rinse the yeast bowl and add to the mixer.
- Mix for 2 minutes, scaping the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the salt and mix for another 1-2 minutes. The dough should be evenly mixed at this point. If the dough appear too dry add a tablespoon of water and mix for another couple minutes.
- On a clean work surface knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add a small bit of flour to keep it from sticking. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for about 1 hour.
- After an hour, cut the dough ball into 2 equal sized pieces. Form into balls by gently stretching the dough then folding the pulled section underneath. Rotate ¼ turn and repeat this process. Continue to repeat this process until the gluten in the dough is nicely stretched and smooth, then pinch the seam at the bottom and place the dough ball on an oiled cookie sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough. NOTE: If the dough is tearing, you are pulling it too much. You just need to gently pull it to stretch the gluten.
- Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temp for about 2 hours. NOTE: Make sure the balls are far enough apart that they will not touch as they rise. Also I have found it helpful to spray the plastic wrap with a little cooking oil to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
- After the 2 hour rise, grease each cast iron pan with a tablespoon of softened butter and a teaspoon of oil. Spread the dough out to fill the cast iron pan. Allow to rise at room temp for 1 hour.
Making the Pizza
- Preheat your grill, smoker, or oven to 500 degrees. Set up for indirect heat.
- Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes then remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temp.
- Layer on the provolone and mozzarella cheese, dividing between the 2 pizzas. Add your toppings of choice.
- Stuff ½ a cup of the shredded white cheddar between the edge of the pan and the crust, for each pizza.
- Bake the pizza at 500 degrees for 7 minutes, with the lid of your grill or smoker closed. Turn the pizza 180 degrees then top with sauce. Cook for an additional 7-10 minutes. If you have a lot of toppings it may require a little extra time.
- Remove from the grill and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.