Revolting isn't the right word. It's hard to describe the feeling you get when you open up a cardboard box and gaze down at Pizza Hut's newest (to the United States, at least) creation, The Hot Dog Bites Pizza. Is there a word that means approximately "unsettling but not gross"? After thinking about it for hours, there really isn't a word in English that properly describes what it is to see this thing in real life. Off-putting is about as close as I've gotten, so that's what I'll say: The hot dog bites pizza is off-putting.
I know, I know, that sounds histrionic, which is part of why I'm so bothered by my inability to put a word to it. Adding glorified pigs in a blanket to a pizza isn't something that should be repellent; awkward sure, silly definitely, but it shouldn't cause the visceral rejection that most of the office had when they walked up to grab a slice.
The good news is that it actually looks better, somehow, in real life than it does in photos. Looking at that photo above, I'm struggling to figure out how I ate three entire slices of pizza meets hot dog madness. This thing will never photograph well, no matter how many filters you threw and throw at it. It doesn't even look appealing in the promotion photos for it, which are literally the best the pizza will ever look.
Before we get into taste, I want to make something perfectly clear: I love chain pizza, to a fault. Star Pizza is incredibly easy to get to from our office, and yet somehow I've managed to get the Little Caesars lunch special more times this month than I've eaten at Star over the past two years. Nick's Place is right down the street from my apartment and is amazing, but most of the time if I'm home and want pizza and there isn't a Totino's in the freezer, I'm ordering Pizza Hut and calling it a night.
What I'm saying is that I'm not a pizza snob, but I've been dreading having to face off against the hot dog bites pizza since I decided Thursday would be Lunch of Poor Decisions Day.
Which leads us back to taste and the real question of this endeavor: Just how bad are the hot dogs on this thing?
They're not awful. That's not to say that they were good; "not bad" is literally the best two-word combo that exists to label them. They taste more like hot dogs than they do Vienna sausages, which is a real fear some of my co-workers shared with me. Slot them somewhere around what you'd get at a ballpark dollar hot dog night: They're edible, they're filling and you're going to feel real bad about yourself the more of them you eat.
The real stumbling block here, other than the fact that this thing exists, is the dough. The hot dog bites pizza comes in two varieties: regular (technically "no crust flavor") and salted pretzel. "No crust flavor" is amazingly accurate because outside the barest hint of pretzel, it seems that the dough only exists because putting plain hot dogs around a pizza might actually be revolting. On the other end of the spectrum, the salted pretzel dough is too salty for a processed meat product already loaded with salt. There's probably a happy medium between the two, but when you're putting pigs in a blanket on a pizza, there's not really room for subtlety.
The pizza part of the equation is what it is. There's nothing out of the ordinary about it; if you've eaten at Pizza Hut in the past, you know exactly what you're getting. I ate four extra hot dog bites so that I could have another slice of pizza, but your mileage may vary. For your health, I hope it does.
I asked the other people who partook in this experiment for their thoughts, and this is what they had to say (no names so as not to shame anyone who had a slice):
*They should probably cut this into 16 slices, because after 2 I'm feeling full and bad about myself.
*The hot dogs and pizza were both decent, but not in the same bite.
*The mustard is weak. If it was brand name it's watered down. (Writer's Note: I don't eat mustard, so I can't comment on it, but each pizza comes with the yellow stuff for your dipping needs. Try it with pizza, I hear it's not that bad.)
*Wouldn't order this for myself, but might think about it for a kid's birthday party... a kid I didn't like too, too much.
*I wish I had something profound to say about the experience, but alas, I just thought it was like eating a slice of pizza and then eating some pigs in a blanket. Like, if you were really stoned and microwaved those two things because you were really hungry and indecisive.
The last person makes a good point: Maybe if you were stoned, this would be epic. Throw in a side of wings and what more could you ask for when you're high, hungry and have no standards?
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If you're sober, don't bother. Other than the fact that it exists, there's nothing really remarkable about the hot dog bites pizza. It's not good enough to be worth paying the premium to buy it, it's not bad enough that you'd want to eat it to say you did and it's not weird enough on a taste level to eat ironically. In the end, you'll just be full of meat and confusion.
Also, the hot dog bites look like Snausages. Just saying.