header banner

Made with oxtail, this popular pizza from Birmingham has a Philly cheesesteak-like flavor

Table of Contents

    There’s a lot of star power at 2 Dough Girlz Pizzeria in Birmingham’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

    Obviously, that’s by design. The restaurant pays homage to the culture of hip hop, from its name — a nod to Outkast’s “Two Dope Boyz (in a Cadillac)” — to the menu, a rundown of dishes named after song titles, lyrics and record labels.

    Since sisters Anita and Jennifer Craig, Steve Debrow and Chauncey Moore opened the restaurant in May, the joint’s brightest star has been the “Wanna Be a Baller” — a pie featuring the pizzeria’s hand-tossed organic wheat sourdough crust topped with slow-cooked oxtail, bell peppers and red onions. Named after the 1998 track from rapper Lil’ Troy, the pizza quickly became a crowd favorite.

    A small team at 2 Dough Girlz keeps the joint in play. Staffer Teresa Bell says the restaurant whips up about 100 pizzas a week, and she estimates at least 30 of those pies are the “Wanna Be a Baller.”

    2 Dough Girlz Staff

    The team at 2 Dough Girlz pose for a photograph on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. From left, clockwise: Jennifer Craig, Anita Craig, Omar Bradford, Steve Debrow, Danielle Turner, Teresa Bell, Cam Fisher

    Bell, who splits her time between cooking and managing the pizzeria, says the oxtail pizza is one of her favorites. (For those who need primer on oxtail, the name refers to the flavorful and succulent cut of meat from the tail of cattle. )

    Creating the pie is an art, starting with prepping the oxtail with the signature seasoning and marinade.

    “Then, I kind of do a double cook to it. I’ll simmer them and then slow cook them in a skillet for maybe a couple of hours on and off. I braise it. I make the broth,” says Bell. “It keeps cooking in there until it almost falls off the bone. It’s easy and it’s so tender.”

    Using the gravy from the oxtail as the pizza sauce, the team tops the crust with the oxtail, vegetables and finally, the cheese.

    “I love it! It tastes just like a Philly cheesesteak,” said Bell. “So, if you like Philly cheesesteaks, order the oxtail pizza. You can’t go wrong.”

    Oxtail is tough to come by these days. A surge in popularity means grocery stores are having trouble keeping the meat in stock. And when the treasured cut does grace the shelves, the price is high, to say the least.

    Overconsumption of oxtail could lead to a long-term shortage of the coveted meat. But with dishes like the “Wanna Be a Baller” pizza in the culinary landscape, that’s a risk we’re willing to take.

    We sat down with Bell to talk about 2 Dough Girlz’ most beloved pie. Here’s what to know.

    Wanna be a Baller

    Bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola beverages are some of the drinks on the menu at 2 Dough Girlz Pizzeria. (Shauna Stuart| AL.com)

    You were selling out of the “Wanna Be a Baller” quite a few times when you opened. Is that still the case?

    Teresa Bell: Constantly. We can’t keep it. We don’t keep it. Because once somebody orders oxtail pizza, then everybody wants the oxtail pizza. And then oxtail is sold out for the day.

    So, let’s say a group of people walk in and one member of the party orders the “Wanna Be a Baller,” then the rest of the group will want some, too?

    Mhmm. Or if you have other customers in here who haven’t heard about it. When they see somebody else order it, it’s like “Oxtail? You guys sell oxtail?” It’s one of our best sellers.

    I’ve actually gotten the “Wanna Be a Baller” pie a couple of times. The last time I got it, I had it with substitutions. Instead of bell peppers, I got it with jalapeños, and it was delicious. Obviously, oxtail is the base meat, but do you ever encourage people to try other toppings that vary a little from the traditional “Wanna Be a Baller?”

    You can get it any way you want and fix it up any way you like. But most people prefer the way that we have it. I haven’t had anyone ask for the jalapeños yet. That’s a first. People come in and mostly I get orders for “the oxtail pizza.” They haven’t added anything with me yet. But they’ve probably done it with somebody else. But I haven’t gotten that yet.

    The "Wanna Be a Baller" pizza with subsititutions

    An Instagram-worthy shot of the "Wanna Be A Baller" pizza with jalapeños instead of bell peppers. (Shauna Stuart| AL.com)Shauna Stuart

    It’s a high-demand item that you have — oxtail. Can people add oxtail as a topping on another pizza? So, for example, instead of ordering the “Wanna Be a Baller,” could folks order another pie and just add oxtail to it?

    They can. And we also have the “Rags to Riches.” Which is actually a pasta. We call it our spicy 400-degree pasta. Normally, we have it with shrimp and andouille sausage and mushrooms and bell peppers and onions. But we do have it with the oxtail. So, instead of the shrimp and the andouille. You would get strictly the oxtail with the flavors and other ingredients. You would get a whole piece of oxtail on top of your pasta. It’s good! So, we’ve had some people get that, too.


    Yeah! So, we do have the “Rags to Riches” oxtail pasta. [Anita] was thinking of adding more oxtail dishes, and we were like, “No! Leave it alone!” Like she was thinking of oxtail fries. And we said, “Oh my gosh! We would never keep [oxtail] in stock if we do it that way.”

    So, if you want to try the “Wanna Be a Baller” pizza or any pie or pasta with oxtail and you don’t want to be out of luck, what do you suggest? Should you make sure to come in earlier?

    Yeah. Come in earlier, or you can always call. Call in so you’re not waiting your time coming. Because if we don’t have oxtail, then you’ll be disappointed. So I always tell people call first for oxtail. Because with the high demand that we have for it, if we sell out of it, it’s hard trying to get it, because the stores don’t keep it. Other people are buying it as well. So oxtail ... I don’t know what’s going on with it right now. But it’s running out.

    If you run out of oxtail, are you out of it for one or two days? A week?

    It varies. It varies. It may be one or two days. It may be the same day if we can get a hold of it. The butchers are finding it hard to keep up with it. Everywhere that we go and normally get it from. I guess we’re buying it too much. [Laughs]. They can’t keep it.

    So, I recently saw that you all had a little poll on Instagram asking followers if you should add Philly cheesesteaks to the menu. I’m not trying to get all the secrets — but if you do add Philly cheesesteaks, would an oxtail Philly be on the menu?

    We’re actually thinking, maybe for the fall, we might stop with the oxtail since it’s such a high demand, and we can’t keep it as much and do the Philly cheesesteak instead. If we get enough people to say “yes” for the Philly, then the Philly is going to win for the fall and oxtail will come back in the spring.

    If you purchase a product or register for an account through a link on our site, we may receive compensation. By using this site, you consent to our User Agreement and agree that your clicks, interactions, and personal information may be collected, recorded, and/or stored by us and social media and other third-party partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy.


    Article information

    Author: Luis Klein

    Last Updated: 1702045562

    Views: 941

    Rating: 4.4 / 5 (88 voted)

    Reviews: 98% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Luis Klein

    Birthday: 1966-08-26

    Address: 05634 Joan Manors Suite 923, New Kristin, DC 13836

    Phone: +4173908831606758

    Job: Dietitian

    Hobby: Origami, Cooking, Crochet, Pottery, Calligraphy, Running, Reading

    Introduction: My name is Luis Klein, I am a multicolored, talented, sincere, persistent, Gifted, unyielding, courageous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.