I Tried 21 Variations Of New Pizza Hut Offerings And Survived

I tried these three and 18 more variations because pizza.

I tried these three and 17 more variations because pizza.

While I am not a scientist, professional reviewer or food expert, sometimes I and other the members of the Consumerist team venture out into the fast food wild and experience new things. Thus it fell to me on Monday night to try out some of Pizza Hut’s new crusts, sauces, drizzles and topping combinations. And by “some,” I mean I ate 21 different kinds of pizza last night.

Pizza Hut invited members of the press to be the eyes and ears for everyone else to a tasting event in New York City (NOTE: Because Consumerist does not accept any free samples, we actually paid Pizza Hut for the food eaten at this event), and although I could eat pizza every day for every meal (and would, if not for lame social norms/judgy people), I entered the experience with a certain level of trepidation.

This is customizing to the extreme: Pizza Hut claims that with its 11 new pizza recipes, six new sauces, 10 kinds of “crust edges,” four sauce “Drizzles” and four new toppings, there are now 2 billion unique pizza combinations available to customers.

But because there was no room in the event space for that many possibilities, Pizza Hut served up 21 different pizza variations, by my count, including traditional pizzas featuring new crust edges. Oh and also Asiago breadsticks, which I did not try, bent as I was on pizza.

Speaking of which, once I started, I decided to just eat everything they had. We’re talking a minimum of two bites, max of three, per type because I do not possess a cow’s internal organs and I can handle only so many minutes of meat sweats.

GENERAL PIZZA IMPRESSIONS
First of all, please keep in mind that these are just my impressions of what I tasted, with the criticism devolving into grunts near the end due to overloaded taste buds.

It was too much — while it’s admirable of Pizza Hut to want to offer consumers customized pizzas, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the number of options. Thin crust, pan style, the new “Skinny” option, a less calorific crust by way of a thinner crust and portion controlled toppings, new toppings, crusts, sauces…

It was like being in Willy Wonka’s house if he did pizza: “What is this special thing? Oh there are nine special things going on in just this one slice oh my god oh my god the pressure to experience IT ALL AT THE SAME TIME.”

Ahem.

The underlying theme is that under all the jazz and pizazz, each one tasted like… Pizza Hut pizza. Sort of spongy, lukewarm cheese (though it should be noted it’s not easy to keep pizza piping hot an event where people are mindlessly browsing) and an acceptable crust I wouldn’t kick out of bed.

Speaking of crust, it seems the new crust flavors are only on the edges, with the ability to also get customized Skinny crust edges. Head whirling yet?

As for the sauces, barring the creamy garlic parmesan, which is distinctly not a red sauce, and simply a fine white sauce, I couldn’t tell where I was getting the flavors from, exactly. For example, the Sweet Sriracha Dynamite features a Honey Sriracha sauce with a Honey Sriracha crust edge and honey Sriracha sauce drizzle. Something told me I was supposed to be tasting honey and Sriracha and I just felt kind of bossed around.

What’s the difference in taste between the Premium Roma Tomato sauce and Classic Marinara? Shrug. I couldn’t tell the difference under all those ingredients and drizzles.

If you haven’t given up on the idea of pizza altogether, I herewith present my notes, with assorted random photos and a “Trepidation Level” rating from 1 (least terrified to eat) to 5 (completely terrified to eat) both before I took a bite of each type on display and after.

THIS IS HOW I FELT WHILE EATING 21 VARIATIONS OF PIZZA HUT PIZZA
Official Pizza Hut recipe descriptions included where applicable, as I definitely was not keeping track while eating because too many words. Listed in order eaten.

1. Skinny Club: Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach, toasted Asiago on the crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 4
Verdict: Good, could taste most ingredients

2. Skinny Beach: Premium crushed tomato sauce with grilled chicken, fresh red onions, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 4
Verdict: Fine, nothing special

Neither tasted “skinny,” per se, just like a slightly thinner than regular crust but not as thin as thin crust, if that makes sense. Plenty of toppings, however.

Skinny Beach, Skinny Club, floating spinach.

Skinny Beach, Skinny Club, floating spinach.

3. Sriracha Honey Crust Edge with Pepperoni
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: A little spicy, not too hot, tastes like pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. Nice zing, liked pepperoni with Sriracha as flavor combo. Still fearful because I am not good with hot flavors — too much Sriracha = scary.

4. Pepperoni and Hut Favorite crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 1
Verdict: Tastes like pepperoni pizza with garlic breadstick crust. Fine.

5. Cheese and Salted Pretzel crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 1
Verdict: Pretty good. I am down with this one, even if crust is a bit salty. Cheese and pretzels are friends.

6. Cheese and Ginger Boom Boom crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 3
Verdict: What is a ginger boom boom? Forgot this was a special flavor immediately after eating it.

7. Pepperoni and Get Curried Away crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Fine. Didn’t want at first, but was okay and not as awful as anticipated. Curry flavor wasn’t too strong.

Pretzel, Ginger Boom Boom and Sriracha crust edges

Pretzel, Ginger Boom Boom and Get Curried Away crust edges

8. Garden Party (pic at top): Premium crushed tomato sauce topped with fresh green bell peppers, fresh red onions, fresh mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes and fresh spinach, Thin N Crispy crust. Advertised with Hut Favorite crust edge but??
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 3
Verdict: Good, but balsamic drizzle is kind of sweet.

9. Old-Fashioned Meat Brawl (aka where I started to fear the meat sweats): Classic marinara sauce, classic meatballs, red onions and diced Roma tomatoes – flavored up with our Hut Favorite on the crust edge.)
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 2
Verdict: I liked these meatballs, not too dense/heavy.

Old-Fashioned Meat Brawl

Old-Fashioned Meat Brawl

10. Cock-A-Doodle Bacon: Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and diced Roma tomatoes, toasted Parmesan on the crust edge.
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Hangover food to the max, I feel heavy.

cockadoodlebacon

11. BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger: Barbeque sauce, classic meatballs, hardwood smoked bacon, fresh red onions and diced Roma tomatoes, toasted cheddar on crust edge and barbeque sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Fine. I get it, there’s BBQ. So much and all the meat sweats coming now. A bit too sweet.

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, meat sweats not pictured.

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, meat sweats not pictured.

12. Giddy-Up BBQ Chicken: Barbeque sauce, grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and fresh red onions, toasted cheddar on the crust edge and barbeque sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 4
Verdict: Fine. Am turning into BBQ drizzle. No more. I wish I had a pool filled with lettuce.

13. Pretzel Piggy: Creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, hardwood smoked bacon, fresh mushrooms and fresh spinach, salted pretzel crust edge and balsamic sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 1
Verdict: Pretty tasty. Felt like a piggy. Would eat again. Publicist points out meat sweat glistening on face as joke.

14. Sweet Sriracha Dynamite: Honey Sriracha sauce, grilled chicken, sliced jalapeño peppers, sweet pineapple and Peruvian cherry peppers, honey Sriracha crust edge and honey Srirach sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Good. Pretty spicy (for me) but surprisingly, liked. Doubting my tongue after so many things.

15. Hot & Twisted: Premium crushed tomato sauce, premium salami, sliced jalapeño peppers and fresh red onions, salted pretzel crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Yawn. All bark no bite, not that hot and I have wussy taste buds. But didn’t eat a pepper.

16. 7-Alarm Fire: Premium crushed tomato sauce, pepperoni, sliced jalapeño peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, sliced banana peppers and fresh green bell peppers with fiery red pepper on crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: Eh. I could handle this too, again no peppers eaten because I’m no sadist.

17. Buffalo State of Mind: (Buffalo sauce, grilled chicken, sliced banana peppers and fresh red onions, toasted cheddar crust edge, Buffalo sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: I loathe Buffalo sauce so this was not to my taste, but otherwise fine.

L-R: Pretzel Piggy, Sweet Sriracha Dynamite, Hot & Twisted, 7-Alarm Fire, Buffalo State of Mind

L-R: Pretzel Piggy, Sweet Sriracha Dynamite, Hot & Twisted, 7-Alarm Fire, Buffalo State of Mind

Here’s where I realized I’d skipped some pizzas. Sigh.

18. Skinny Italy: Classic marinara sauce, classic meatballs, diced Roma tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, fresh red onions and fresh spinach with balsamic drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 1
Verdict: I wish I could enjoy these meatballs at this point. Pretty good.

19. Skinny with a Kick: Premium crusted tomato sauce, pepperoni, sliced jalapeno peppers, Peruvian cherry peppers, fresh green bell peppers and fresh red onions with fiery red pepper crust edge
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 4
Verdict: Kick again not so scary, fine, where am I?

20. Skinny Luau: Premium crushed tomato sauce, grilled chicken, slow-roasted ham, fresh green bell peppers and sweet pineapple
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: So happy to be done but this tastes like a Hawaiian pizza is supposed to, bit flabby, not great and I’m done I’m done I’m done no more.

Just kidding, I still had to eat Cherry Pepper Bombshell, which wasn’t brought out until right before I left.

21. Cherry Pepper Bombshell: Premium crushed tomato sauce, premium salami, Peruvian cherry peppers and fresh spinach with toasted Asiago crust edge and balsamic sauce drizzle
Trepidation Level Before Eating: 5
Verdict: I can’t believe I just ate more pizza and can honestly not tell you if I enjoyed this or not. I’m out.

Pizza I Would Cherish Most When Hungover Award: Pretzel Piggy
Pizza I Never Want To See Again In This Life: Buffalo State of Mind

Full disclosure: About an hour after my last bite at the Pizza Hut event, I ate a slice from a local place my friend had ordered her own dinner from. It was delicious and I should probably feel like a gross human being but whatever, pizza.