Kwik Trip lands frozen pizza on Green Bay Packers game day menu - Ever Travel


Kwik Trip lands frozen pizza on Green Bay Packers game day menu

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Meat Sweats Pothole Pizza is a combination pepperoni and sausage frozen pizza from Kwik Trip. (Photo: Daniel Higgins/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Culinary team members Kevin Buttner and Ray Monroe engineered Pothole Pizza to fill the brewpub niche of Kwik Trip’s pizza lineup.

Going on to be the official pizza of Lambeau Field was an act of marketing.

Buttner and Monroe started kicking around the idea of a premium frozen pizza last summer, and after taste-testing 15 pizzas, they dove into development.

Using taste-test notes and noting which Kwik Trip Cheese Mountain pizzas were top sellers, the team worked with suppliers to assemble the Pothole pizzas.

Monroe said they spent two months to find the right blend of cheeses. They settled on a five-cheese blend that includes a sprinkle of cheddar and a larger shred of cheese to make the pies more eye-catching.

Cheese meltability was another point of emphasis, Buttner said, as they tested the transformation from large shreds to golden brown in a time it took the crust to cook. 

Further differentiating this pizza from its existing options, the team went with a spicier sauce and a sausage that comes in big hunks that can’t be missed.

“We just didn’t want it to blend in,” said Monroe.

Initial Pothole Pizza topping options are sausage, pepperoni and a pepperoni-sausage combination. Released in July, customers have already inquired about additional options. Those may come, but not any time soon. With limited freezer space compared to grocery stores and just building the brand means Kwik Trip is sticking with this trio.

Becoming the official pizza of Lambeau Field is part of the brand building effort. Getting slices of their new ‘za into the mouths of fans attending Packers games this season took a hit before the first coin flip with the announcement that there will be games played without fans and limited seating.

Mark Meisner, Kwik Trip marketing director, said the ongoing partnership with the Packers has benefits beyond the home of the Frozen Tundra. Pep Rally, the pepperoni-topped Pothole Pizza, includes the Packers “G” logo. The chain of convenience stores will go ahead with joint sweepstakes and other prize giveaways to push the new brand.

As far as naming the pizzas, Meisner acknowledges that pothole doesn’t have a positive connotation but is memorable. 

As far as the names of the pizzas — Pep Rally, Sausage Palooza and Meat Sweats — Meisner said they drew inspiration from the craft beer industry and wanted to have some fun.

But how do these new pizzas stack up? Glad you asked.

I baked one of each — Pep Rally (pepperoni), Sausage Palooza (sausage) and the aforementioned Meat Sweats (pepperoni and sausage) — to find out. I hate to think those calories went to waste.

Three varieties of Pothole pizzas all promise “piles and piles (and piles) of Wisconsin cheese.” Each style is best described as meat-forward with Meat Sweats the meatiest of the trio. 

Pizzas are prepared in the company’s La Crosse kitchens before being frozen and shipped out. Sold in the convenience stores for $7.99 each places them in premium frozen pizza range. 

Those two months of cheese research paid off. There’s no shortage of gooey, melty cheese that did that lovely stringy thing of remaining attached to the pizza as I pulled back with a bite. I even coaxed a few cheese squeaks while chewing the gobs of mozzarella. I couldn’t individually taste each of the five cheeses topping the pizza, but the overall effect satisfied my cheesetooth.

The sauce tilted to the spicy side. The pepperoni was good, with a smoky, slightly spicy flavor.

Meaty hunks of sausage deliver a blend of Italian seasoning and salty pork flavor. 

If you’re looking for the most pizza for your $8, the combo weighs in at 26.5 ounces, sausage at 25 ounces and pepperoni at 22 ounces.

Here’s the breakdown for the calorie counters: Pep Rally 380 per serving (⅓ pizza); Sausage Palooza 460 per serving (¼ pizza) and Meat Sweats weighs in at an uff-da-inducing 510 calories per serving (¼ pizza).

More: Higgins Eats ingestigative report: These seven frozen pizzas have surprisingly distinct flavor profiles

More: The best cookie dough ice cream in your grocery store freezer is …

More: Easy recipes tested and reviewed here. Follow these links to past No Budget Cooking Series stories

Contact Daniel Higgins [email protected] Follow @HigginsEats on Twitter and Instagram and like on Facebook.

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