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.

Spicy Pulled Pork PizzaPapa 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.

Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza Papa JohnsThe 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.

Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza Papa John'sThere’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.

Spicy Pulled Pork Papa JohnsAbove 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.

Papa Johns pulled pork pizzaI 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.

Taste: 8.25/10
Value: 6.00/10
Price: $12 large promotional price

Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10

More Info: papajohns.com
Nutrition Facts:
One large slice
Calories: 330
Fat: 11 grams
Saturated Fat: 5 grams
Carbs: 44 grams
Sodium: 1000 milligrams
Protein: 10 grams

28 comments on “Review: Spicy Pulled Pork Pizza from Papa John’s

  1. MP says:

    Papa John’s – home of the 8,000mg sodium pizza.

  2. Robert says:

    A plain, regular, sausage pizza from this chain is so god awful terrible that you have to go with these specialty varieties. Looks pretty good, but the sodium really is off the charts.

    • Dkel says:

      Who gives a SH*T about the sodium? No one advertises, “hey our fast food has little sodium.” LMAO! I think you are in the wrong place buddy. Also, no is saying you have to eat all 8 slices to get that 8k sodium. You have some very bad eating habits.

  3. TJ says:

    “For extreme chile heads looking for something to blow you away… this pizza isn’t for you.” Haha awesome, that’s a good way to set expectations!

  4. al says:

    spicy isnt like wat plp can deal with.. i dont think this is tapatio thatis hot but average.. ur just no talent for hot stuff. im just toleerant to it as anyone but tos ay that this pzzza is weak is preety good.. i doubt its anything but spicy.. u know just put hot sauce and ur done// next month il ge getting it anyw

  5. Schmuggles says:

    AP has me laughing in real life. (all spelled out)

  6. TJ says:

    If Al hasn’t had a few drinks this weekend I would really like some of what he’s smoking.

  7. Sharon says:

    The pulled pork pizza was so hot and spicy that it burned my mouth. Definitely not a pizza for sharing with kids or grand kids. Thumbs down.

  8. Eric Schneck says:

    I’m generally not a big fan of BBQ pizza, but I’d say that this is better than Pizza Hut or Domino’s BBQ offerings. The flavor profile of Pizza Hut and Domino’s BBQ pizzas is mainly sweet, while the Papa John’s pizza is mainly spicy punctuated by hints of sweetness and a smoky flavor from the meat. It also seemed to have an extremely thick layer of cheese. There was enough spiciness to make my nose runny by the end of the third slice, but it’s not going to kill you. I wish it had some vinegary BBQ flavor in there, but it was still a decent effort. One thing that would definitely improve this pizza is more salt. I’d recommend adding about 60 or 70 shakes of salt to each slice. Mmmm, salt.

  9. Jonathan Wayne says:

    Al, OMG, Al, what is going on brother?

  10. Richard says:

    I had this last night, I thought it was okay. The pulled pork wasnt great but everything else was good.

  11. Dee says:

    This pizza was an absolute disappointment and didn’t nearly live up to the advertisement. I ordered it along with another pizza for my teenage son & his friends. I was stuck with half of the pulled pork pizza, which ended up on the garbage truck. No one liked it. The sauce was entirely too sweet, so sweet in fact, it dominated the entire pizza. All you could taste was sweet sauce. I also didn’t see or taste one crushed red pepper flake and the pork was scarcely distributed over the pizza. A major thumbs down!!!!

  12. Mike S. says:

    Their crust isn’t edible.

  13. Robert says:

    It’s a good pizza. Spicy and simple. Question is what is their next specialty pie? I suggest the BLT pizza featuring actual sliced bacon (not just the bits), lettuce, and tomato with ranch sauce.

  14. Matt says:

    Three words that should never be in a pizza title: Sweet. Chili. Chicken.

    Papa John’s is just awful.

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