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Wingin’ It: As Bills visit Patriots, we try out... Detroit-style pizza

Wait, what? Why?

Wingin it 2022 - Bills at Patriots - Detroit Style pizza

Can you believe it? Season Five of Wingin’ It. Where has the time gone? For any newcomers, here’s the premise. It’s hungry work being a fan of the Buffalo Bills. Every week of the regular and postseason, Buffalo Rumblings brings you a recipe to try out with a “Buffalo” twist.

With the Detroit Lions game on Thanksgiving and yielding a turkey-day recipe, the New England Patriots swooped in to take a page from the Lions’ playbook as we take pizza to deeper (and inverted) levels. I pair the pizza with a buttery wing sauce for dipping or tossing wings in. To make it more “Detroit-ier,” we add Vernor’s Ginger Ale to pretty much everything.

Detroit-Style Pizza with Vernor’s Dipping Sauce

Serves: 3-4
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 hours



12 cup Vernor’s Ginger Ale
12 cup water
1 12 tsp active yeast
2 14 cups bread flour
1 12 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided (plus additional to coat dough)
6 oz. cheddar cheese (cubed)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Pizza sauce of your own choosing (a small jar should do)
Pepperoni and other toppings as you see fit

Dipping Sauce

14 cup hot sauce (see note at bottom)*
34 cup Vernors ginger ale
1 Tbsp mustard
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

You’ll need: a 9” x 13” cake pan

  1. Combine ginger ale and water in a large mixing bowl. Microwave about 30 seconds (aim for warm liquid, around 110ºF).
  2. Sprinkle yeast over liquid and allow to activate. It should be foamy after about 5 min.
  3. Stir in flour, salt, and oregano.
  4. Knead mixture until it starts to get tacky.
  5. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and continue to knead until smooth.
  6. Lightly coat the dough ball with additional olive oil; cover in mixing bowl and allow to double in size, about 45 min.
  7. Place oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 550ºF. Yes you’re reading that temp right. If your over doesn’t go that high, go to highest setting and extend baking time.
  8. Coat the bottom of the cake pan with about 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  9. Spread dough evenly on the bottom of the pan
  10. Assemble pizza. A: If you’re adding pepperoni, add a layer right on the dough; B: Arrange cubed cheddar evenly over dough/pepperoni; C: Sprinkle mozzarella evenly and to the edges; D: Pour sauce in three stripes (see below); E: Add more pepperoni and toppings if you so choose.
  11. Bake in preheated oven 15-20 min, until cheese top starts to brown, or edges start to turn black (see below).
  12. Prepare sauce while pizza bakes: Add hot sauce, ginger ale, and mustard to small sauce pan on HIGH; bring to boil and reduce to about one-third volume, roughly 10 min. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  13. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 min; slice and serve.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

There are a lot of pictures, so let’s knock ‘em out real quick:

  • The first picture is the ball of dough right after coating in oil and right before setting it aside.
  • The second picture is a good representation of “doubled.” This is almost exactly 45 min later.
  • Next up you can see the dough spread to the sides of the pan, I’ve added pepperoni at the bottom (except for a small spot for my daughter who doesn’t like it). The cheese cubes are lined up as well.
  • Next up we have mozzarella added and the three sauce stripes.
  • I made sure not to rotate the pizza as I added more pepperoni on top (the cheese only up top matches the cheese only below).
  • The last two photos are the full pizza after cooking to show off the cheese coloration when done, and then a slice without the sauce for dipping.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn't nail this, per Detroit guidelines. Usually the edges blacken. I don’t think I spread the mozzarella close enough to the edges and, consequently, my dough pulled away from the pan sides and didn’t blacken. There was caramelization on the sides, but not quite perfect.

I did blacken the bottom of the crust a little bit, which I think tasted great, but it’s a tough balance between a little blackened and burnt. You can move the rack in your oven either to center or just slightly below—and I’m betting you’d add more char to your cup and char, while decreasing the bottom burn. You can also decrease the temperature and cook for a bit longer, though that might sacrifice some of the caramelization that gives the edges their signature flavor.

  • Also, if you want to make your own hot sauce to add to the dipping sauce prep, here you go.