Have you ever considered ordering the “bee sting” pizza topping but were hesitant? For a number of years now, hot honey has been a popular topping, especially at artisan pizza joints, and the trend appears to be finally making its way to chain eateries. Pizza Hut has announced that starting on July 18 for a short period of time, they will introduce its Hot Honey Pizza to two markets: Cleveland and Dallas.
Pizza Hut has had a lot of recent success with dishes like Detroit-style pies and portable Melts (especially the Melts), and the brand has even experimented with novelty toppings like pickles. Obviously the pizza giant has been paying attention to current events, since the demand for spicy foods has increased dramatically in recent years, making a hot honey pizza the logical next step. What do you think?
Hot honey pizza, explained
Hot honey is a great pizza topping, and it goes especially well with cured meats like pepperoni, soppressata, and prosciutto. It helps balance out the saltiness of those additions by adding an extra layer of golden sweetness with a little bit of a kick.
Pizza Hut agrees, saying in a press release, “The secret to Pizza Hut’s Hot Honey Pizza is the perfect balance of sweet heat from the honey and savory, salty flavors from the pepperonis.” The company will use the superior cup and char pepperoni on this pizza so that each little “cup” holds a bit of the hot honey, “creating an explosion of taste with every bite.”
Mike Kurtz of Mike’s Hot Honey is often given credit for making hot honey pizza more popular in the United States. He saw a similar topping at a restaurant in Brazil and tried making his own version while working at Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn around 2010. Since then, it’s only been 13 years, but the fact that it’s become so popular shows how tasty it can be.
Other uses for hot honey
Hot honey tastes great on bread and other rich, salty foods, but I like it best on fried chicken. As it does with salted meats, hot honey helps cut through the salt and richness of the chicken’s breading while adding a sweet contrast. Pizza Hut will release its new pies and Hot Honey Wings at these test sites in Cleveland and Dallas.
If you don’t live in the Pizza Hut market test area, you should know that Wingstop uses the same ingredient in its hot honey rub, which is a limited-time taste that comes and goes and is currently available.
I also like to use it as a hidden ingredient in sauces (hello, hot honey mustard!) and salad dressings. Of course, it’s also great in sweets. Just drizzle some over vanilla ice cream and you’re good to go. But you can also be cool with it. Think of baklava that has a little bit of fire at the end.
Where to find hot honey
Mike’s Hot Honey is the most famous brand on the market. You can buy it at many grocery stores and online. Mike’s also works with a lot of other companies to make products. The most recent one was with Utz potato chips.
Big-name companies have also noticed how famous hot honey is, because some of them, like Heinz, have come out with their own versions of it (and Heinz is cheaper than Mike’s). Other small sauce shops, like Bushwick Kitchen, sell similar goods with branding that stands out.
Here’s a recipe for homemade hot honey to get you started if you want to try different amounts of heat. Most of us will probably have to wait a while to try Pizza Hut’s newest menu item, but in the meantime, you can pick up your favorite pepperoni pizza and add honey to it yourself to make a fancy pie.