Review: Twisted Crust Pizza from Pizza Hut
A creation that brings pizza and breadsticks together eh? Isn’t that already sort of built in to most hand-tossed pizzas? Of course some pizza end-crust is better than others, but for the most part, that end crust has seen a lot of updates in recent pizza innovation. The latest from Pizza Hut is the new Twisted Crust Pizza and it’s an idea that facilitates those looking for some extra pizza parts to dip into even more sauces.
The new Twisted Crust Pizza features a ring of dippable twisted breadstick crust within the already perfectly dippable end crust. A large 1-topping Twisted Crust Pizza is promo priced at $11.99 and comes with one Marinara dipping sauce plus your choice of the new Cheddar Cheese sauce, new Buffalo Ranch or an additional Marinara dipping sauce. I decided to pay an extra $1.00 to add an additional dipping sauce in order to sample both new dipping sauces.
I was never one of those kids that didn’t eat the crust off my pizza. Growing up I can recall I was maturing faster than the other boys in only one way: pizza. I ate my pizza crust and I advanced way beyond plain cheese pizza before I entered elementary school. When I look at a pizza innovations aimed at improving the part of the pizza most likely to be left uneaten, I tend to have a harder time buying in to the stuff that goes overboard with it (besides the strong novelty factor). Twisted Crust Pizza doesn’t have a lot of wow-factor, but it caters to enjoying pizza and dippable breadsticks together and not as just an add-on side item to a standard pizza. The problem with Twisted Crust Pizza is that it made for some good breadsticks while at the same time negatively impacting the actual pizza.
By having these twisted breadsticks loosely stuck onto the ends before the pizza’s end-crust, it’s kind of like saying the pizza really ends with this twisted breadstick. Make your way through the pizza like normal and you’ll have two dippable pieces of bread at the end. The twisted crust piece is the softer, more delectable piece and the end piece is a little crustier and uneven. If you pull apart the twisted breadstick before you eat the pizza, the pizza loses most of its structure. Removing the twisted breadstick and then handling the pizza slice is like holding a balloon on a string and then someone cutting the string. The pizza just flops over and limps out and becomes just a shell of its once proud self. I’ll point out that the pizza sauce, cheese and ample amount of pepperoni topping was just right… it’s just that there’s nothing new or different going on besides the breadstick piece and dipping sauces. There’s something that Pizza Hut did late last year that I think works against them in the promotion of new pizzas. They introduced The Flavor of Now menu overhaul which added so many ways to customize your pizza beyond toppings that it’s like all their cards are showing. With the Twisted Crust Pizza, the newness doesn’t come from any flavor area for the twisted breadstick or end-crust because The Flavor of Now already took care of that with a whopping ten crust flavor choices already. If you want to flavor up the ends of your Twisted Crust Pizza you’ve got an exhausting list to choose from: Ranch, Smokehouse BBQ, Toasted Parmesan, Salted Pretzel, Honey Sriracha, Toasted Asiago, Fiery Red Pepper, Toasted Cheddar, Garlic Buttery Blend, and Hut Favorite. The Hut Favorite is the default flavor on the Twisted Crust Pizza and I found an equal amount of the garlic butter blend and parmesan/Italian herbs seasoning on the pizza crust and the inner twisted breadstick.
The standard dipping sauces that aren’t new to the menu are priced at $0.50 each, while the two new choices are $1.00 each. The Cheddar Cheese sauce is made with 100% natural aged medium cheddar cheese and the Buffalo Ranch is a combination made with Frank’s RedHot Sauce with the addition of Ranch. I found the Cheddar Cheese sauce to be a little boring and it cools down so fast and becomes too thick for simple dipping, so a microwave came in handy. The Buffalo Ranch had a consistency that was a bit on the watery side as far as dipping sauces go. I found the flavor to be heavier on the Frank’s RedHot Sauce than Ranch sauce which made for a very peppery dipper. With a little experimentation by adding small amounts of the Buffalo Ranch into the Cheddar Cheese, I created an amazing Buffalo Ranch Cheddar sauce so give that a shot and let me know what you think. The new sauces on their own didn’t win me over, but mixing the two was one of my better ideas.From the perspective of giving the Twisted Crust Pizza an overall grade, the taste and value will make it seem like a more impressive product than my final impression. My final impression takes into consideration factors that just don’t have standard measurable scores on GrubGrade. I see Pizza Hut trending towards a lot more novelty pizza offerings in the near future because they’ve made it so much harder on themselves with all these options put in the hands of the customer. This might be looked at as a good thing in a lot of ways and we should thank Pizza Hut’s R&D department for providing us with so much control. On the other side of the picture, it’s just going to be harder and harder to top themselves with standout LTO’s. Beyond the structure and crust components, you’re not getting a lot of “new” with Twisted Crust Pizza other than just a semi-interesting new pizza eating experience that is a lot more concerned with breadsticks and dipping sauce than actual pizza.
Pros: For those who like to dip. Mixing in a little Buffalo Ranch to the Cheddar Cheese sauce. Good sized dipping sauce containers.
Cons: Removing the twisted breadstick before handling the pizza slice will take the life out of the pizza. New dipping sauces cost more than the sauces already available.
Price: $11.99 for a large with one topping plus Marinara dipping sauce and either Buffalo Ranch or Cheddar Cheese sauce
Overall GrubGrade: 5.75/10
More Info: pizzahut.com