• Eric

BBQ Sauce Overpowers Homogeneous Pizza

BBQ Chicken frozen pizza from California Pizza Kitchen has a sweet and savory flavor that unfortunately blurs into a monotone BBQ taste.


I think you have to be very careful putting BBQ sauce on pizza because it's such a powerful flavor. A little bit goes a long way, and unless your other ingredients can really stand up to the dominating flavor profile of the sweet and tangy sauce, they will immediately get lost. Unfortunately, that's what I think happened with this BBQ chicken frozen pizza from @CPK.



I was debriefing with Chris after making this frozen pizza (that I had all to myself because he won't touch barbecue pizza), and he said I was being a hypocrite because I had just recently complained about the Art Lover pizza from Blaze not being homogeneous enough that it never coalesced into a single flavor. Fair enough, but at least the Art Lover had pockets of gold in the ricotta cheese. This BBQ chicken had no little rewards hiding under the cheese, it was just BBQ the entire time.



I didn't even realize there was cilantro and multiple kinds of cheese on the pizza until I went back to re-read the box. I didn't get much onion flavor or any kind of variety. I think the cheese toned down the BBQ sauce just a bit to help steer it into savory territory rather than too sweet. But my overall impression was that it was a pleasant flavor, I mean it was good, just not at all dynamic and you couldn't taste the individual ingredients.



I associate California Pizza Kitchen with artisan crust with creative flavor combinations, I was hoping for more of a surprise or a clever twist. After all, CPK was one of the pioneers that introduced the California-style pizza to a larger market, it should be quintessentially Californian. Maybe 15 years ago putting BBQ sauce on pizza was considered edgy, but in 2020 with numerous chain restaurants and even frozen pizza varieties pushing the envelope, it just comes off as monotone.



I was also a little surprised how thin the crust was - looking at the pizza from side view, a little chunk of chicken looks like it's towering above the rest of the ingredients. I'm not sure if I cooked it wrong or if it just looks thicker in the overhead photo on the box, but the crust itself couldn't compete with the BBQ flavor.



Am I being too critical? I'm trying to mentally separate frozen pizzas into their own category. Even among frozen pizzas I've had recently, this really didn't leave a lasting impression or leave me craving more.



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