Wandering around Wal Mart in the middle of the night, I was looking at their fresh ‘take and bake’ pizza lines, and noting the relative value of the size/weight for the price, compared with other fresh or frozen pizzas. The Wal-Mart Marketside Brand 12” Ultimate Meat Pizza, goes for $5.00, and tops the scale at a hefty 28.25 oz.
“Our classic crust piled high with sausage, grilled beef, pepperoni, bacon, and mozzarella cheese,” says the signature on the box.
Following the legend of the USDA plant # 2539B, these pizzas are manufactured for Wal Mart by Great Kitchens, Inc., of Romeoville, IL (suburban Chicago). According to Great Kitchen’s website, they are the largest manufacturer of “take and bake” style pizzas in the US, furnishing pies to supermarkets, club and convenience stores, and food service.
I cooked the pie at the appointed 375 for the 13-17 minutes. As I like my crust on the crispier side of doneness, I checked it at the 13 minute point and then left it in for the rest of the time.
The cheese browned nicely, and the crust proved to be crunchy on the rim, and chewy in the middle, which is my own personal preference. The crust thickness is tantamount to most chain pizzas standard pie, not thin, but not thick either.
The toppings were more than ample, and the meats had the distinct personalized flavors that they should have. The smokiness of the bacon is evident, as it a little bit of heat, I suspect, from the Italian sausage seasonings. There was no evidence of cupping or char on the pepperoni, which assures us of a higher end meat choice by the producers.
The cheese has enough “pull” to it, and the crust is firm enough to not have “hang.” The crust has evidence of being uniformly mechanically poked, which is a technique to enhance crispness as well as prevent bubbling on the surface.
Great Kitchens makes a quality product at a very low price for Wal Mart. The producer had one recall this year, of their BBQ Chicken style pizza, because of the potential of foreign objects in the food.
A recall of that nature is pretty common, and is usually traced back to a mechanical malfunction, and the recall is done as a courtesy for consumers, not because there is an actual threat.