Banzai ‘Za!

09bBanzaiZaLettucebfLOWhen last we met, I’d made a large-ish batch of Terryaki sauce and some very nice marinated, then grilled, beef short ribs. With extra sauce in the fridge, I was thinking Thai Pork Stew a good idea, but we’d just recently had some, and the leftovers were still in the freezer.


I’d been meaning to try a whole wheat dough for my ‘za!s, and there was some ground pork in the fridge…

BanzaiBurgerbfLOBanzai ‘Za!

03aFlourSaltPepperbfLOOne of my favorite burgers is the Banzai Burger at Red Robin – a teriyaki marinated cheeseburger served with onion, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and a grilled pineapple slice – yum! I happen to make a fine version or two myself (try it with veggie patties, too, you won’t miss the beef at all at all). I already know I like the ‘Za! version of a Big Mac, so what about a teriyaki (sorry, Terryaki) version with all the trimmings on top of a whole wheat crust?

Tasty! But I made a few mistakes, which I will correct as we go along…

Whole Wheat Dough:
•3/4 cup warm (110º) water
•1 tsp yeast
•1/2 tsp honey
•1-1/2 cup + 1/4 cup flour
•1/2 cup whole wheat flour
•1 tsp kosher or sea salt
•1/4 tsp Tellicherry pepper
•1 tbsp olive oil – plus more for later
•Corn meal

04bDoughReadybfLOBanzai! ‘Za! Toppings:
•1 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp veggie oil
•1 sweet onion, diced
•1 red pepper, diced
•1 (8 oz) can pineapple in juice*
•Shredded Iceberg lettuce
•Grape tomatoes, halved
•Cheddar cheese, shredded
•1 lb ground pork*
•1 cup Terryaki sauce

Begin the dough by stirring the warm water, yeast, and honey together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let rest for ten minutes or so, until the mixture is foamy.

05aDoughRisebfLOIn another bowl, whisk the whole wheat flour together with the 1-1/2 cup of all-purpose flour with the sea salt and black pepper.

Add the olive oil and 1-1/2 cup of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, then mix the dough on a low setting (my mixer called for setting 2 out of 12) for 2 minutes.

05bDoughRisenbfLOWith the mixer still running, add the remaining flour mixture – one tablespoon at a time – until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to cling to the dough hook. Use the extra 1/4 cup of flour if you need to.

Increase the mixer speed to 3 and knead the dough for 4 minutes or so, until it is smooth and elastic.

05cDoughSecondRisebfLOForm the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil – I find that my dough has pretty much cleaned the sides of the mixing bowl at this point, so I just remove the dough hook, oil the bowl, and pop the dough right back in to rise.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least four hours – I usually let mine rise overnight – until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down, recover the bowl, and set aside to rise for another hour or two.

Dough mostly taken care of, we can now start talking about the toppings, and the ‘za!

02aPorkTerryakibfLO*Note: this amount of dough will make one large (14 inch or so) pizza. I think I went a bit heavy on the pork and light on the pineapple with my finished ‘za!, so I would plan on using 1/2 pound of pork and twice as much pineapple if I were you – you can always stash the leftover pork in the freezer for a second batch another day, trust me, you’ll want one.

02ePorkTerryakibfLOMelt the butter with the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then add the diced onion and pepper and sauté for about ten minutes, until the veggies are tender. Transfer to a colander to drain, then return and pan to the heat (still medium-high) and add the ground pork.

Add the Terryaki sauce to the pork, then cook, breaking the pork into small chunks and stirring more or less constantly, until the pork is cooked through and any liquid has been cooked away.

07aDoughMayobfLOYou now have a very nice ground pork Terryaki goin’ on.

Place your pizza stone (we use a cast iron one and love it) on a rack in the lower third of your oven, then preheat the oven to 450° for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

Once your oven and stone have been heated long enough, punch the dough down one last time and roll out or press into a circle on a lightly floured board. Sprinkle the dough with a bit of corn meal, then let it rest for ten minutes.

07dCheesebfLOTransfer the dough to your (be careful) hot pizza stone and dimple the crust with your fingertips.

Spread mayonnaise over the dough, then add the cooked pork – you really wanna think about mebbe using only half of the meat, and doubling up on the pineapple.

Add the cooked onion and pepper mixture, then the halved grape tomatoes and the pineapple.

08bBanzaiZabfLOTop with the cheese and bake for ten or fifteen minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese nicely melted.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let your ‘za! rest for five minutes.

Slice, top with freshly shredded Iceberg lettuce, and serve.

Great ‘Za!


yeh, I went too heavy on the meat and too light on the pineapple – you really want to try and get at least a bit of pineapple in every, single bite of this ‘za! – the flavor and texture just brings the whole darned thing together to make a happy place on your tongue.

Yes, I said that, and I meant it, too.

Try this ‘za! with ground beef or veggie burger ‘meat’, just don’t forget the pineapple.

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