Venison Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Pizza is one dish that inspires a lot of debate. Thick or thin crust? Meat and sauce on bottom or top? Cheese first or last? Chicagoans are particularly passionate in this discussion.

Deep dish pizza has deep roots in the Windy City. As an Illinois product of the 19th century, it’s now a staple across the Midwest. The rules of deep dish are that it needs to have a thick crust, lots of cheese on the bottom, and a pile of sauce on top. This results in a soft, crispy crust that isn’t saturated with the sauce. Some may say it’s more of a casserole than a pizza, but that’s part of the Midwestern charm.

Serving size


Time to make

2.5 hours


2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼  cup cornmeal
1 cup warm water
½ stick of butter (melted)
1 tbsp. dry yeast
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt

½ lb. venison Italian sausage
¼ cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
12 oz. sliced mozzarella
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Grated parmesan to finish

Also works with

Any ground meat

Special equipment

Cast iron skillet


  1. For the dough, mix warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Wait 10 minutes or until you notice the yeast is activated. Once the yeast is active, add the flour, cornmeal, salt, and melted butter to the bowl and mix. When the dough starts to come together, pull it onto a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Place it in an oiled and covered bowl for 45 minutes to rise.
  2. Dice the onion and garlic and place in an oiled saucepan. Cook until they become translucent. Next, pour crushed tomatoes into the saucepan. Add Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and crushed red pepper to sauce and bring to a simmer. Let simmer on medium-low for about 15 minutes or until it’s thick.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, oil the skillet and place proofed dough into the skillet. Flatten the dough in the skillet, pinching it on the sidewalls.
  4. Once dough is formed, layer the whole bottom with mozzarella. Following the mozzarella, add small chucks of raw Italian sausage (it will cook in the oven). After the raw venison sausage, cover everything in the sauce. Place the skillet in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the edges of the crust become golden brown.
  5. Once cooked, pull the pie from the oven and sprinkle grated parmesan over the top. Let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.