Yesterday, Pizza Hut submitted its new Cheeseburger Crust creation to the Lifehacker office for the official taste-test treatment. This is a singularly American concept that involves grafting eight "cheeseburgers" onto the ends of a regular large pizza. Depending on your eating habits, it's about as horrifying — or glorious — as it sounds.
The Cheeseburger Crust is a new deluxe crust option from Pizza Hut that can be added to any pizza for a premium of $3. It's basically a dome of puffy pastry filled with a beef patty and cheddar cheese. Pizza Hut is marketing it as "a cheeseburger in every slice" that combines two of Australia’s favourite foods into one.
Here's the official blurb from Pizza Hut:
Made with eight Australian beef patties with tasty cheddar cheese on top, nestled into the golden crust of Pizza Hut’s mouthwatering large pizzas, the Cheeseburger Crust Pizza is available with any of your favourite toppings for an additional $3.
It doesn't sound particularly healthy, does it? We spoke to a Pizza Hut representative who said the Cheeseburger Crust adds approximately 700 kilojoules to the large pizza of your choosing. That's actually not too bad all things considered. The energy increase is about the same as adding crunchy noodles to a McDonald's chicken salad.
With three pizzas to plough through, we decided to enlist the taste buds of some of our colleagues. To make things interesting, we didn't tell them what the crust was supposed to be. Would they be able to figure it out on their own?
The Cheeseburger Crust doesn't really deliver on its marketing promise: it neither looks like a cheeseburger nor tastes like one. When we asked our co-workers what the crust reminded them of, their answers ranged from a cheese scroll to a globular end-of-level boss from the video game Metroid. Nobody came close to guessing the crust's true inspiration.
I thought there was something disturbingly Cthulhuian about the crust pizza's appearance: especially when viewed from above. Brrr...
Our co-workers were similarly perplexed by the flavour — most people thought it tasted like a beef dim sim, pig-in-blanket or sausage roll. We think the confusion stems from the fact that there's no sauce inside the crust which is a staple ingredient of any self-respecting cheeseburger. Some pickle flavouring probably wouldn't go astray either. As it stands, the burger crust has very little in common with its namesake.
We've established that Pizza Hut's new crust fails as a cheeseburger substitute but how does it fare when judged on its own merits? Opinion in the office was mixed. Some thought the addition of cheese and mince made things interesting, while others were decidedly less enamored.
Personally, I found the mince to be a little bland for my tastes, but the pastry surrounding it was delicious. It's strongly reminiscent of Domino's Puff Pastry crust which was recently pulled from the menu. If you liked Puff Pastry pizza, this is the closest you're going to get.
In terms of pricing, the Cheeseburger Crust looks like pretty good value on the surface. The $3 premium works out at around 35 cents per "cheeseburger". However, it's worth noting that the crust takes up a lot more of the pizza's footprint — while the amount of toppings might well be the same, you're definitely getting less pizza per slice when you discount the burger section.
If you keen to give it a try, the Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Crust is available now except in Western Australia which is set to follow on 18 March.