Author Topic: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA  (Read 50042 times)

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Offline steel_baker

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Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« on: February 19, 2011, 08:50:02 PM »
Victory Pig Pizza (VP) is a unique style of pizza that is local to the northeastern PA region. Located in the town of Wyoming, PA, the Victory BBQ restaurant serves it's own style of home made pizza on wednesdays, fridays, and saturdays. This is in addition to their simple fare of burgers, dogs, pulled pork, fries, etc. The pizza recipe is original to the sicilian family that owns & operates the restaurant. It is a simple "bakery" style pizza made with a medium thickness risen in the pan high hydration yeast dough topped with a simple sauce made of canned chopped tomatoes and finely chopped onions, no spices and uncooked. The cheese is believed to be white cheddar. The dough is pan risen in oiled blue steel pans, topped, and baked at high temps. It fries in the oiled pans and creates a pizza with a mouth feel that is quite decadent. The bottom is brown, crispy fried while the top is still soft & gooey with the fresh flavor of tomatoes, onions, and cheese. The crust is light & crispy in texture. The onions can only be tasted, there are no chunks due to the fine chop. The onion flavor is one of the distinct characteristics of this pizza and one of the reasons that people come from miles around to enjoy it. People who grew up in the area (like me) will travel from far off places just to eat this pizza again and in many cases, take boxes of it home with them to freeze & reheat. They sell frozen boxes in the restaurant but it's not the same as getting it fresh baked. It has spawned a few imitators over the years and many are very good in their own right, but the flavor contained in the real VP pizza continues stand out in comparison.

http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/photo_list/1232061

The restaurant has been around for over 50 years now and as is the case with many of us who grew up eating this great pizza, many have tried to duplicate it. Very few have been successful. I have been trying to do this myself for over 30 years and early last year, I finally got to the point where I think I'm about 95% there. So I've started this thread to discuss what I've learned and to document the process of producing this pizza.

First off, everybody who wants to make this pizza thinks that there is some deep dark secret recipe to make this pizza. There is not. In duplicating this pizza, it finally occurred to me that because VP produces hundreds of trays of this pizza in an evening, it must be relatively simple to make. It must use standard baking techniques that are simple & can be done by anybody. The workers in the kitchen are usually high school kids and older women (grandmothers?). Besides the flavors of the tomatoes, cheese, & onions, the key to making this pizza is the high hydration dough recipe, and the spreading & rising of the dough in the pans.

In future posts, I'll document my technique & recipes to make this pizza. In the process, I'll hopefully stimulate a lot of discussion about this great pizza and how it's made. With any luck, people who are more knowledgeable about this pizza will contribute & share their knowledge. Here's one of my trays.

steel_baker

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parallei

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 11:15:52 PM »
Looks very tasty SB!  Keep us posted......

Offline Motorpies

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 12:57:08 AM »
That looks like a perfect replica Steel_Baker.

I agree, they do a lot more volume than most of the standard pizzerias I've seen, so it makes sense that they would be using a relatively simple setup. Thanks for sharing with us!

Offline communist

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 09:06:47 AM »
Good thread steelbaker!  Twenty years ago I visited the Pig with my family.  The crunchy, greasy crust and bright onion sauce was memorable.  An outrageous pie!  I am back in the area, and will take my family down soon.  I will report, and perhaps jump in to your pursuit of the Pig pie at home.   Mark

Offline dhelm99

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 06:45:24 PM »
Consider me interested! :)

I was there last month when visiting with family!  I brought 3 trays to Grand Rapids, Michigan so that t I could work on the recipe and compare it to the original.  What is that cheese!?!


Offline communist

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011, 09:19:07 PM »
Stopped into the Victory Pig after 18 year absence.  Saturday night.  Moderate crowd.  Simple table set up.  Ordered 16 slices for family.  Wow, after 18 years, shockingly crispy and greasy crust! Yes!  Bright in your face uncooked ( except in oven ) canned red tomatoes with fine chopped onion flavoring.  And somewhat thin white cheese topping - is it Cooper Sharp?  No oregano or basil.  Excellent ratings from all family members.  A very different pizza to enjoy now and then.  Not sure if I want to reproduce at home because I can get this every couple of months because I am back in the area.  I am doing a good tray of New York style weekly, and getting good reviews from family.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2011, 10:53:24 AM »
Consider me interested! :)

I was there last month when visiting with family!  I brought 3 trays to Grand Rapids, Michigan so that t I could work on the recipe and compare it to the original.  What is that cheese!?!



The cheese is white cheddar. They slice it paper thin on a meat slicer & lay it on top of the crushed tomatoes. I use a 50/50 blend of mozz & vermont white cheddar (usually Cabot because it's easily available). I buy the white cheddar at Costco in a 2 lb block and shred it with the shredding disc on the food processor. Shreds the 2lb block in about 5 minutes. Because I do everything on a scale I just mix equal weights of mozz & white cheddar in a stainless steel bowl, then weigh it out into Gallon sized ziploc bags for storage.

Here are a few pics from my pizza baking sessions over the past 2 months:



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Offline mikedavid

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2011, 05:15:50 PM »
steel_baker you're the man.

Been reading all of your posts. I envy your pans.

I cannot get them here in Canada. Do you know of a good substitute?

Also I don't think I've seen you post a dough recipe. I really liked your crust on that other thread.

For the cheddar do you get a sharp cheddar? Or 'old' cheddar?

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 05:38:26 PM »
I use a Vermont white cheddar which is sharp. For blue steel pans try Amazon.com. They sell Paderno blue steel baking sheets which will give you the same results. They're only 1-1/8" deep but as long as you don't use too much oil you'll be fine.

http://www.amazon.com/Paderno-World-Cuisine-11-825-Baking/dp/B001VH70WM/?tag=pizzamaking-20

 That's what I used before I found the 2" deep blue steel pizza pans at PA Products in Livonia, MI.

http://www.paprod.com/pans.html

Scroll down to the rectangular blue steel pizza pans. That's what I use as seen in the pictures I posted. They only sell them by the dozen but they're inexpensive at just under $8 ea. I bought a dozen and sold/ gave away the excess to friends & relatives. I kept 3 for myself.

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Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 05:40:12 PM »
BTW, I'll post a recipe soon. I travel a lot on business and don't always have time to post.

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Offline mikedavid

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 02:20:09 AM »
Thanks a bunch. Reading over hundreds of posts you seem to be the best pizza maker on the forum.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 12:24:16 PM »
Thanks a bunch. Reading over hundreds of posts you seem to be the best pizza maker on the forum.

Wow, thanks for the compliment but I'm sure there are better pizza bakers on this forum than me. I'm pretty good at this particular style of pizza since it's been an obsession of mine for decades but trust me, you don't want to eat any thin crust or NY style pizzas that I would make. I'm still learning how to make thin crusts and I have a long way to go.

But again, thanks for your compliment. You're making me blush now.  :-[

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Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2011, 03:30:44 PM »
s_b
Look's and sounds tasty for sure and I am intriqued by the onion sauce.  Both my Italian grandparents emigrated to, met, and married in NEPA.  My Nono was a coal miner and my mother was born and grew up there.  After following the link in your original post and poking around the internet I was taken by how much this style looks like what my mom used to make.  I never got around to asking for her recipe while she was with us and no idea if this style influenced her recipe, but really looking forward to your posts and giving your version a try.
Hog

Offline Apuleius

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2011, 04:30:52 PM »
I worked in the Pizza L'oven kitchen some years ago. Your assumption is correct; the ingredients are basic, the process is well defined and very repeatable. During my tenure, I was mainly responsible for the side work of wings (an entirely other worthy topic on some other board), subs, etc. I would occasionally help with the pizza. Here's what I remember.

Hobart equipment, particularly the mixer. The cheese was delivered from the back of a station wagon in blocks, which were then sliced thin for the night. I never could tell what it was since there was no labeling. I'm very glad that you shared your discoveries about the cheese. It certainly looks accurate to me.

The sauce was equal parts cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, into which an additional can of water was added, along with equal parts sugar and salt, and black pepper in smaller quantity. No onions in this sauce.

Peanut oil of course is used (also for the wings) and the banks of ovens where very hot. The peanut oil is capable of handling the heat best. Hundreds of deep black pans for the pies.

Only a few trusted employees knew the prep process for night, though it wasn't veiled in secrecy. On the weekends people would come in around 12:30 or so and start prepping. The first batch of dough made maybe 100 pans or so? Really the trick to their operation and Victory Pig's, as you correctly assumed, is in the logistics. How to plan for the evening rush and keep the pizza coming. The first batch is mixed into the Hobart and dumped. It rises. It is cut and weighed into a pan already ladled with peanut oil. The pans are stacked and the dough rises again. Another batch may be put through the Hobart. As the dough rises again, pans are taken off the stack, pat down and stretched into the pan to fill it out fully, then re-stacked.

As orders come in, pans are taken off the stack, stretched out again and pat down and kneaded into the sides and corners. It's a quick process done by the cooks. A ladle of sauce is added, cheese slices are put down, and into the oven for about 10-15 minutes each. Pans are turned frequently and bubbles in the cheese poked with a fork tied to a stick. Everything is eyeballed and based on experience. When ready, pans are brought out to a rack under which is a funnel into a bucket. The pie is slid out of the tray, the oil goes into the funnel, and the pizza slides onto the chopping block.

Thanks for starting the discussion. Please, please please post a recipe.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2011, 06:05:51 PM »
I worked in the Pizza L'oven kitchen some years ago. Your assumption is correct; the ingredients are basic, the process is well defined and very repeatable. During my tenure, I was mainly responsible for the side work of wings (an entirely other worthy topic on some other board), subs, etc. I would occasionally help with the pizza. Here's what I remember.

Hobart equipment, particularly the mixer. The cheese was delivered from the back of a station wagon in blocks, which were then sliced thin for the night. I never could tell what it was since there was no labeling. I'm very glad that you shared your discoveries about the cheese. It certainly looks accurate to me.

The sauce was equal parts cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, into which an additional can of water was added, along with equal parts sugar and salt, and black pepper in smaller quantity. No onions in this sauce.

Peanut oil of course is used (also for the wings) and the banks of ovens where very hot. The peanut oil is capable of handling the heat best. Hundreds of deep black pans for the pies.

Only a few trusted employees knew the prep process for night, though it wasn't veiled in secrecy. On the weekends people would come in around 12:30 or so and start prepping. The first batch of dough made maybe 100 pans or so? Really the trick to their operation and Victory Pig's, as you correctly assumed, is in the logistics. How to plan for the evening rush and keep the pizza coming. The first batch is mixed into the Hobart and dumped. It rises. It is cut and weighed into a pan already ladled with peanut oil. The pans are stacked and the dough rises again. Another batch may be put through the Hobart. As the dough rises again, pans are taken off the stack, pat down and stretched into the pan to fill it out fully, then re-stacked.

As orders come in, pans are taken off the stack, stretched out again and pat down and kneaded into the sides and corners. It's a quick process done by the cooks. A ladle of sauce is added, cheese slices are put down, and into the oven for about 10-15 minutes each. Pans are turned frequently and bubbles in the cheese poked with a fork tied to a stick. Everything is eyeballed and based on experience. When ready, pans are brought out to a rack under which is a funnel into a bucket. The pie is slid out of the tray, the oil goes into the funnel, and the pizza slides onto the chopping block.

Thanks for starting the discussion. Please, please please post a recipe.

Thanks for your very informative post. I had to figure out all of the techniques on my own and face it, in a business like this, simplicity & repeatability rules. I have not posted in a while as usually winter is the busy time for my pizza making. I plan to video my entire process, edit, and post it all to youtube which I'll link to from here. I can also PM the recipe if you like. It's not the exact one I use today which is slightly higher hydration but it's designed for starters so that the dough is easier to handle and can be made by hand. I use a Bosch universal plus so I'm able to make multiple trays (usually 3-4) at a time. I generally make it for a group since it's too much to eat for just my wife & I.

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Offline jsperk

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2011, 02:45:25 PM »
That looks awesome.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2011, 02:48:34 PM »
Now that we're past labor day, it's time to start baking pizza again. Over the next few weeks, as I start up again, I plan to videotape & post Youtube videos of the process of making this pizza so stay tuned. :chef:
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Offline itisjustme

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2011, 04:13:46 AM »
Now that we're past labor day, it's time to start baking pizza again. Over the next few weeks, as I start up again, I plan to videotape & post Youtube videos of the process of making this pizza so stay tuned. :chef:

I'm glad to hear this and look forward to viewing the video.

Offline linklaw

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2011, 09:17:01 PM »
Steel_Baker, you inspired me. Like you, for at least the last 25 years I had been attempting to duplicate Victory Pig style pizza. When I saw your post, I immediately ordered a half dozen blue steel pans, seasoned a couple on the grill and mixed up a batch of dough. I let it rise in a bowl until it doubled then stretched it and fit it into the well oiled pans. After it rose in the pan for about two hours, I pushed it down and into the edges and corners of the pans. After another couple hours, I lightly flattened it, added the sauce and cheese and popped it in a 500 degree oven. I turned the pans every couple minutes so the bottom wouldn't burn and about 15 minutes later, voila, I had the closest thing to Victory Pig pizza since Pizza L'Oven! For cheese I used a mixture of equal parts aged provolone and domestic provolone and the sauce was just crushed tomatoes and onions. All that was missing was the birch beer on tap and the smell of stale Gibbons. If anyone knows what type of cheese the "pizza cheddar" is, please let me know. John

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Victory Pig Style Pizza - Northeastern PA
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2011, 10:04:54 PM »
The cheddar is a sharp white cheddar. VP uses Wisconsin cheddar I believe. They slice it paper thin on a meat slicer and let it on the dough. I use Vermont white cheddar since it's easily available and seems to taste the same.

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