Better Pizza Through Science 2: Heggies Crowned Pepperoni Champ

Following up on the wild success of the last episode of scientific pizza taste tests on frozen cheese pizzas, Stubble is pleased to present a slightly modified version of the test on… pepperoni! How will meat affect the results? Will the judges agree or will chaos consume? Only science can say.

The Test (written by Matt Decuir)

To ensure a level playing field, we opted to limit the scope of this experiment to thin crust, pepperoni pizzas only. All pizzas were purchased from the Seward Co-op, the Holiday gas station off University, and the Target at The Quarry.

Ideally, all pizzas would be cooked according to the instructions on their boxes in separate ovens and would finish cooking at exactly the same time. But that’s not reasonable, and who the heck has six ovens at their disposal?

We were limited to the use of one oven, and so we opted to cut each frozen pizza in half, and place each pizza directly on the rack, with a sheet of foil on the rack beneath to catch drippings, all the while keeping track of which is which (let’s be honest, that’s the hardest part). Once cooked, each half pizza would be cut into eight thin strips, so each piece includes a sampling of both the center and crust of the pizza. Plus, we don’t want everyone to get too full.

Tastings will be conducted without knowledge of the pizza being tasted, so as not to skew or bias any taster’s opinions of said pizza. Numbers will be used to track the samples, and ratings and reviews will be attributed to said numbers.

Judging criteria, based on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest):
1) Crust: texture & flavor
2) Sauce: texture & flavor
3) Toppings (cheese & pepperoni): texture, flavor, cheese to sauce ratio, etc…
4) Overall: flavor combination, overall pizza-eating experience, etc…
5) Notes

Once rankings have been determined, the pizza brands will be revealed, and rankings/notes from the judges will be shared with all participants.

Results

Analysis

With an average score of 7.9, Heggies Pizza, the pride of Milaca, is hereby crowed the frozen pizza champion! Second place was the Brew Pub “Lotsa Motsa” pizza, followed by Digorno, Connie’s ahead ofthe high calories-per-dollar pizzas Red Baron and Jacks rounding out the bottom.

From the judges’ comments, the strength of Heggies toppings – including the quality and quantity of cheese, and tucking pepperoni under the cheese instead of piling on top – was the clear factor that pushed its score to the top.

Just for fun, and to control for the variety of ranking spreads used by the different graders, we recalculated each score based on how many standard deviations it was away from each person’s average ranking:

Even with this voodoo, Heggies wins!

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