Aug 23, 2021

Review: Papa John's - Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

Top-down view of Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.

Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza is an extra-large (16-inch) pizza with extra cheese and extra pepperoni with toppings almost to the pizza's edge. As with all Papa John's pizzas, it comes with a cup of their special buttery garlic sauce and a pepperoncini.

The Shaq-a-Roni goes for $13 but I received this courtesy of Papa John's.

Close-up of the toppings of Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.

There was a fairly even layer of pepperoni that was enough so you get a some pepperoni flavor in every bite but not so much that the salt washed out the taste of everything else. The overall flavor of the pepperoni was fairly mild without any peppery heat. The pepperoni was super thin and crisped up slightly at the edges without drying out.

Two slices of Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.

There was an even layer of melted cheese but I wouldn't call it abundance. It managed just a slight stretch initially but as with most of the Big Four pizza chains, it mostly just breaks when you bite into it and added a neutral creaminess.

The pizza sauce offered a bit of sweet, salt, and tang without veering too much in one direction. It's fairly neutral in turns of herbs and other seasonings but you can gussy it up by asking for their special seasoning, which contains a blend of garlic, onion, paprika, and more (but also more salt...).

Cross=section of a slice of Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.

The pizza crust differed slightly from their regular crust as it's a tad thinner all around with a much thinner end crust (I'm not sure if that's how their extra-large crust is in general though as I can't remember the last time I bought an extra-large pizza from Papa John's). The crumb was soft and chewy with fairly uniform and small air bubbles. The crust was just very slightly crisp but mostly soft. The end crust was also slightly oily, which I believe was caused by the oils from the cheese and pepperoni at the edges. Be warned that the smaller end crust doesn't leave much for dipping in the garlic sauce (although you can just dip the whole slice as you like).

A folded slice of Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.

Like Papa John's regular Pepperoni Pizza, the Shaq-a-Roni turned out pretty average as far as chain pizzas go, which is to say it was enjoyable but not very interesting. That being said, I liked it better than their regular Pepperoni Pizza, as the slightly thinner crust made for a nicer texture (more crisping and less bready) and the extra pepperoni added flavor without feeling like a salt bomb. The two extra inches over a 14-inch large made for quite a bit more pizza and toppings, especially with the smaller end crust.

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