Review: Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza from Papa John’s
When thinking about the three major pizza chains, Papa John’s stands out to me as the one that comes out with the more interesting topping combinations. I guess I think this way because the other chains seem to have a much bigger push on their chicken, pasta and pizza crust varieties. Just this year Papa John’s released the Sweet Chili Chicken Pizza and the Double Cheeseburger Pizza (with pickles)… and they’re the first of the chains to put chorizo on a pizza. The latest combination is another to add to this list of creative pizzas with the new Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza.
Papa John’s describes their new Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza like this:
If you love BBQ pork sandwiches look no further. Papa John’s NEW Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza, layered with slow-cooked BBQ pulled pork, crushed red pepper and a blend of spicy pepper jack and mozzarella cheese all on our signature fresh hand tossed crust.
Do I love BBQ pork sandwiches? Heck yes I do. Do I love pizza? Do you even have to ask? The combination of the two with a spicy twist… hmm. I’m definitely intrigued.
The shredded pulled pork is apparently hickory smoked and slow-cooked (I’ll take them at their word). I found it to be good enough to say there isn’t a bad thing to say about it. The pork was dispersed evenly throughout the pizza with a few meaty chunks strewn about. A fear I had going into this pizza was overly chewy pork, but that never happened. The BBQ sauce was sweet and blended well with the spicy cheese and crushed red pepper.
There’s nothing about the red pepper that goes beyond just your typical pizza parlor table side crushed red pepper shaker. It’s all over the pizza and even some sprinkling dusted over the pizza box so you know it’s the last ingredient to be applied. Having a cheese blend of mozzarella and Sargento’s Habanero Pepper Jack cheese gives the pizza a little extra color and kick of heat. I found the pizza to be quite spicy and I’m sure some will comment on this post saying “What are you talking about?! This pizza wasn’t spicy at all!” Well we all have our threshold for spicy foods and mine is kind of weak, but to the audience out there who really can’t stand spicy… this pizza isn’t for you. For extreme chile heads looking for something to blow you away… this pizza isn’t for you. If you fall somewhere around the middle, I think you’ll be able to handle it.
Above it all, even though it was a little too spicy for my pathetic mouth, I found this pizza to be surprisingly tasty. Papa John’s hand-tossed crust is overly bready and that might be a good thing if you need a break from the heat. At a promo price of $12 for a large it’s about what an average large specialty pizza costs these days when it’s being featured. Without the promotional price a large will run you about $17.
I think this style of pizza is solid the way it is, but if you don’t want to deal with the spice, just hold the habanero pepper jack cheese and red pepper flakes. The Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza from Papa John’s is a strong addition to their specialty pizza lineup. When your mouth hurts and you keep reaching for slice after slice, you know something was done right.
Pros: Balance of sweet BBQ sauce with spicy cheese and crushed red pepper. Meaty morsels of pulled pork.
Cons: Requires some customization if you want to try this and avoid your mouth burning.
Price: $12 large promotional price
Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10
More Info: papajohns.com
One large slice
Fat: 11 grams
Saturated Fat: 5 grams
Carbs: 44 grams
Sodium: 1000 milligrams
Protein: 10 grams