Last month, Pizza Hut pushed pizzas with creamy Parmesan sauce instead of traditional Italian-style tomato sauce. Now the Hut is unleashing pizzas with sweet BBQ sauce. I guess old school has been let out for summer.
Here's the Blake's Smokehouse BBQ Pizza breakdown: hardwood-smoked bacon, smoked ham with a sugar punch, crumbled pork, mozzarella cheese and a slather of sweet BBQ sauce on Pizza Hut's hand-tossed crust.
Pizza Hut is up to its old trick of dumping any old thing on a piece of dough and calling it a pizza. Barbecue in the round is getting around pretty good these days. Domino's, Papa John's and California Pizza Kitchen all are aboard the barbecue-pizza train.
The "Blake" in Blake's Smokehouse BBQ Pizza is Blake Shelton, country superstar and a judge on NBC's "The Voice." Pizza Hut publicity says Blake's Smokehouse BBQ Pizza is "inspired" by Shelton.
The Hut is introducing two other BBQ pizzas for summer: Hawaiian BBQ (smoked ham, sweet pineapple and green peppers), and Honey BBQ Chicken (white-meat chicken, bacon and sweet red onions). All three will stick around past Labor Day, and then it's back to the real world, where pizza has an Italian accent, not a Southern drawl.
These BBQ pies are the biggest rollout from the Hut since last year's 3 Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza. Expect to see Pizza Hut commercials with Shelton in heavy rotation until the leaves begin to fall.
Shelton's inspiration starts with a very heavy, very sweet BBQ sauce - Memphis-style. Pizza Hut covers its rear end in the barbecue wars by saying its sauce has hints of Texas and Kansas City-style barbecue, too. It's so sweet, I think it has hints of Hershey's.
A nice touch: The crusts of all three BBQ pizzas have shredded cheddar on top, so they bake up nice and crunchy. You won't find anybody tossing their crusts (we call them "bones" in the pizza biz) back into the box.
Blake's Smokehouse BBQ Pizza is a winner - no two ways around it. It's got a lot of meat and cheese and sauce. That's an unbeatable combo on slow, hot summer days. Pizza Hut did its homework and really delivers a strong barbecue kick. Pizza fans who've never been to a real pit barbecue joint will take to Blake's Smokehouse BBQ Pizza's down-home flavor. This one tested over the moon in Dallas, where they know a thing or a million about barbecue.
Honey BBQ Chicken and Hawaiian BBQ are your place and show finisher.
Total calories: 370 (for one slice of a 14-inch, large pizza). Fat grams: 16. Sodium: 790 mg.
Carbs: 40 g. Dietary fiber: 2 g.
Protein: 15 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $11.