We tried Papa John’s new ‘Sriracha meats’ pizza and 2 other new menu items — here’s the verdict

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Are these three flavors tantalizing touchdowns or mere food fumbles?
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Hollis Johnson

With the NFL season in full gear, and Halloween around the corner, fall is a major season for snacks.

In preparation for this year’s football food fanatics, Papa John’s Pizza – the official pizza sponsor of Superbowl 50 – has concocted three new pizza choices, picked by NFL players in an offseason poll.

The Sriracha Meats, BBQ Chicken Bacon, and The Works pizza all join the Players’ Choice menu for a limited time, October 26 through November 22.

Sriracha sauce has reached full blown trend status in the past few years as an easy way to add a unique and foreign cachet to foods – something millennials tend to gravitate toward.

We were curious to see if the players picked the right pizzas, so we decided to hold an office wide taste-test of the three choices. Here’s what we found.


The pizzas arrived at the office steaming hot, safe in their boxes.

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Hollis Johnson

From left to right, the Players’ Choice pizzas: BBQ Chicken Bacon, Sriracha Meats, and The Works.

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Hollis Johnson

First, the BBQ Chicken Bacon. It smells delicious – but then again, what pizza doesn’t?

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Hollis Johnson

There were many fans of this pizza here, with most praising the use of BBQ sauce as the base instead of marinara as well as the generous amount of chicken. The bacon also adds a salty counter to the chicken and melty cheese.

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Hollis Johnson

However, I feel it’s a tad too sweet for pizza – the sauce is sugary, and it could use a bit more barbecue smokiness. But for what it is, it’s not bad.

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Hollis Johnson

Next up, the oddly-named Sriracha Meats. It could use another name, as this one makes me think of a high school mystery meat meal attempting to stay on trend. The smell of pepperoni is delicious, however, which puts me at ease.

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Hollis Johnson

The pizza is covered with meat, which luckily is identifiable: pepperoni and Italian sausage. It’s actually quite tasty, with the swirl of Sriracha adding a slight kick to every bite – a unique twist on what is essentially a meat lovers’ pizza.

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Hollis Johnson

However, Sriracha fans might expect more tang and heat from it – and they’d be disappointed. It’s nowhere near spicy, as the sauce is more for flavor than burn.

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Hollis Johnson

Finally, The Works. It certainly looks loaded with toppings.

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Hollis Johnson

And The Works is in essence a simple supreme pizza. Which makes me wonder, did Papa John’s not have a “Works” before?

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Hollis Johnson

This concern aside, it’s a delicious pizza. Covered with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and Canadian bacon, it has more meats than even the Sriracha Meats, and the veggie load – mushrooms, onions, black olives, and green pepper – is more than enough.

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Hollis Johnson

Overall, all three options are decent. However, the BBQ Chicken Bacon has the most fans in our offices, and I prefer The Works. The Sriracha Meats pizza is good, but I expect more spice for something using the famous chili sauce.

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Hollis Johnson