Review: Pizza Sliders from Pizza Hut
A lot of “innovation” in the food world really means shifting and remixing ideas already in place. It was only a matter of time before Pizza Hut decided to cop the term “slider” – usually referring to delicious little hamburgers like Chili’s Big Mouth Bites – and apply it to pizza. New Pizza Sliders from Pizza Hut debuted the day after the Super Bowl – an odd choice for a release date, seeing as the days leading up to the Super Bowl are one of the most lucrative pizza-selling times of the year. The logic behind Pizza Hut’s timing was to build up consumer anticipation for this secret “new item” that it would be giving away by the truckload right after the quarterback said “hut” (get it? Like Pizza Hut. And the quarterback says “hut”… I’ll explain later). “When the quarterback says hut,” ran Pizza Hut’s cryptic tagline,”Everybody wins.”The problem was, their commercial never even mentioned the big new item or said what it was going to be. I suppose they were hoping to create an aura of exclusivity surrounding Pizza Hut Sliders by way of netroots marketing – a few Facebook comments here, a few blog posts there. I’m not sure if this worked for them. It can be difficult to gauge consumer interest, but from my average Joe standpoint, Pizza Hut Sliders were just not on my radar come game day. Anyway, now that America is privy to Pizza Hut’s big secret, how do Pizza Sliders actually taste? When I went to order my sliders, the Pizza Hut nearest to my house didn’t have the slider dough in yet. The second place I called seemed reluctant to take my order, asking if I couldn’t just get them from my hometown Pizza Hut. I’ve heard of some other people having trouble getting their orders through, too, and I suspect this is a case of inadequately-trained employees combined with high-volume demand for a new item riding on the coattails of the Big Game.Eventually, I did get my Pizza Sliders – nine sliders for $10, a slightly better deal than the other option of three sliders for $5. In their press release, Pizza Hut points out sliders are all about customization. Customers can order sliders three at a time with up to three different toppings on each. For mine, I ordered three cheese, three meat lovers’ (pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage) and three “classic” (pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom).Calling these sliders “big” must strictly be a play on words (Big Game, Big Easy, et cetera, ad nauseam) because they are small – 3.5″ in diameter, or about the size of a bagel. It’s interesting that my hometown Pizza Hut said they didn’t have the “slider dough” in yet, because in Pizza Hut’s press release said they use “signature Pizza Hut Pan Pizza dough,” which all Pizza Huts should already have in stock. Does this mean the slider dough rounds come specially pre-cut?I don’t eat enough Pizza Hut to tell you if this dough was the same as their pan pizza dough, but I can tell you it was good. Crusty on the outside and spongy towards the middle with a slightly sweet taste. It was a little on the dense side, but then again pan pizza dough is typically denser than regular. And there was a lot of it. These aren’t just mini pizzas – they’re mini pan pizzas, meaning crust accounts for a great deal more volume than toppings. Basically, Pizza Hut Big Pizza Sliders are doughy hockey pucks with a thin sheen of sauce, meat, cheese and vegetables on top.Out of my three types of sliders, I enjoyed the “classic” combination the most – pepperoni, green pepper and mushroom. No complaints about the toppings – the pepperoni was juicy and unburnt, the cheese was salty and gooey and the sauce was slightly sweet to match the dough. The cheese-only sliders were my least favorite out of the three. Cheese is good, but these had so much cheese that it turned my stomach in the last few bites. Plus, some of the cheese was falling off and had those gross brown/crispy ends to it. And because there is so much dough, you’re basically eating a cheesy breadstick made with dough that frankly doesn’t belong in a breadstick.Some suggestions for Pizza Hut Big Pizza Sliders: Dessert pizza. This almost pastry-like dough would shine under some icing and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Also, dipping sauces. The dough is good, but that’s basically all there is. After chomping halfway through one, you almost need some nacho cheese or some ranch just to get rid of your dry mouth. Would I get these again? Probably not, unless it was for some last-minute party appetizers. They’re just a little too doughy to qualify for the main event. Pizza Hut Big Pizza Sliders have a good taste, but they need some dipping sauce or more toppings to contend with all that crust.
Pros: Crusty, spongy, slightly sweet dough, solid toppings.
Cons: Too much dough, burnt cheese ends, stupid plays on words.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $5 (for three), $10 (for nine)
Overall GrubGrade: 6.00/10
More Info: www.PizzaHut.com