The Burnt Pizza Toppings That Had Reddit Divided

Imagine you order a slice of pizza at a pizzeria. When you get it, you notice that instead of the usual slice you may expect, you get one that's been burned to a crisp. The golden-brown crust is now a dark color, the once-bubbling melted cheese has solidified into a single charred layer, and rather than being able to fold in half thanks to its greasy chewy dough, it hits your plate like a rock. Did some new guy in the kitchen decide that your pizza should be well-done? Who do they think they are, serving you burnt pizza?

Burnt food, believe it or not, is appetizing to some people. (Think about the people who order burnt ends at BBQ joints or, in this case, the people who like their pizza with a little extra "crunch" to it.) Epicurious explains that some people enjoy burnt or overcooked foods because they believe burning certain foods gives them a deeper, more complex flavor. It's like searing a steak to "lock in" all those flavors or eating the really crunchy ends of a fudgy brownie. While some theories have proposed a connection between burnt foods and cancer cells (via Cancer Research UK), there seem to be no proven health risks associated with eating burnt food.

This seems to be the driving force in a debate about burnt pizza toppings on Reddit, where some advocate for the benefits of burnt toppings.

Are burnt pepperonis good?

On the subreddit r/Pizza, user u/FriendlyOrdinary6281 posted an image of a pizza they'd ordered. The pizza looks fine enough, until you notice that most of the pepperonis topping the pizza are in varying states of being burnt. Some are lightly edged with dark rims, while others seemed to be curled into little black cups. While some may have understandably called to complain, others tried to persuade the user that burnt pepperonis are good, despite their appearance.

According to one user, the charring process gives the pepperoni "10x" the flavor, alongside the indication that it was a sign that the pepperoni was real instead of artificial. "Did you taste it? You mean it's too burnt for your vision?" said u/al_polanski. "It really adds a ton of flavor with this type of pepperoni. It's like a good sear on a burger."

According to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (via Serious Eats), cup-shaped pepperoni has its benefits. The "cup shape" prevents grease from spilling and pooling all across the top of the pizza, while the edges provide a crispy, bacon-like taste. Lopez-Alt explains that this "curling" could be from either the thickness of the pepperoni slices to the types of casings of the pepperoni sticks. 

But if you don't happen to like burnt pepperoni (or burnt pizza, for that matter), there's one burnt pizza "hack" you can use to remedy it.