Just in time for the Fourth of July, I give you the quintessential, all-American hot dog pizza, complete with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, fresh tomato and onion, and gooey cheese sauce. In John's words, it's "the most audacious" pizza I've ever made, exploding with flavors that enhance—rather than overpower—the humble franks. Feel free to make it on the grill if it's too hot to cook inside (I would have if our grill weren't on the fritz!), and swap in/out the toppings based on how you typically like your hot dog (kraut instead of relish? More raw onion, or none at all? Spicy mustard instead of yellow?).
Two quick notes, before you get started on your own Cheese Dog Pizza:
- Since there is no sauce or melted cheese to "glue" them to the crust during the baking process, the hot dogs might shift around or threaten to fall off the pizza as you take it out of the oven. Don't fret: The homemade cheese sauce, piped on after the pizza is baked, will keep everything together.
- If you're a purist and only yellow cheese sauce will do, simply swap out the smoked Cheddar for a block of orange-colored sharp Cheddar.
The Ultimate Cheese Dog Pizza (with mustard, onions, tomato, and relish)
Makes one 12-inch pizza
For the cheese sauce (recipe adapted from Good Food Stories):
- 4 ounces smoked Cheddar cheese, grated (or use yellow sharp Cheddar, to make it look more like Cheez Whiz)
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- ½ cup milk
For the pizza:
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the dough
- Yellow mustard
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons minced sweet onion
- 2 to 3 hot dogs, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 2 heaping tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prepare the toppings.
To prep the toppings: Make the cheese sauce: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the Cheddar, cream cheese, sugar, mustard powder, garlic, and shallot, and blend until smooth. In a microwave-safe jar or measuring cup, microwave the milk on high for 45 seconds, then pour it over the cheese mixture and process until fully incorporated. The sauce will be a bit runny, but it will firm up as it cools. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store it in the fridge while you stretch the dough and assemble the rest of your ingredients.
To stretch/roll out the dough: Dust the ball of dough with flour and place it on a well-floured work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently stretch or roll the dough into a 12-inch disk.
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet generously with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
If you're using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Drizzle the dough lightly with olive oil and use a pastry brush to spread it evenly, all the way to the edges. Squeeze a loose spiral of yellow mustard on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border all the way around. Arrange the tomato slices on top, then scatter on the minced onion and sliced hot dogs.
To bake the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes until the bottom of the crust is crispy and the hot dogs are brown and beginning to caramelize. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you're using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake at 500°F for about 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the hot dogs are brown and beginning to caramelize.
Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes.
Take the cheese sauce out of the fridge and spoon it into a resealable plastic bag. Snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag. Sprinkle the pickle relish over the pizza, and then pipe the cheese sauce in a zigzag pattern on top. Slice and serve immediately.