Production Troubles and Pizza Demand Cause Pepperoni Shortage

local pizzerias hit by spike in pepperoni prices

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Pizza shops nationwide are reporting pepperoni prices up to 50% higher than normal, Bloomberg reported. The shortage can be attributed to a recent spike in pizza orders, plus low profit margins and a worker shortage in pork processing. Personal-sized pizza variety can be cooked outdoors on your grill.

Pizza on grill
As an alternative to pizza delivery, making a personal-sized pizza on your outdoor grill is a good option for the adventurous home chef. Photo By Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

According to Bloomberg, America’s number one pizza topping is getting more expensive during the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Pepperoni is getting ever more expensive to obtain amid production snags at meat plants and high demand for pizza,” the article said. “Earlier in the pandemic, restaurants experienced high prices and shortages for other meat toppings, like ground beef, but while beef’s spike appears to be easing, pepperoni prices have remained high.

“Barry Friends, a partner at food service consultant Pentallect, said the ingredient’s labor-intensive process and low profit margins have made some producers say ‘screw it’ as they streamline operations amid the coronavirus.”

Pizza is almost always cooked in a pizza oven, but a personal-sized flatbread-inspired variety can also be made on a grill for the adventurous home chef.

Throw Some Slices on the Barbie

To learn to make grilled pizza, you can follow The Great Courses material from a lecture taught by the late chef Bill Briwa, chef-instructor at The Culinary Institute of America.

Pizza dough can be made from scratch or bought pre-made from a grocery store. Either way, when making a pizza on your grill, it’s recommended to make small or mini-pizzas from dough balls that are just 1/8″ thick when they’ve been rolled out. Chef Briwa said if you make the pizzas any thicker, the dough might burn from the heat of the grill before it cooks all the way through.

“Once the dough is thin enough, lay the back end of the dough on the grill and then slip your hands out from underneath it,” Chef Briwa said. “The grill is moderate to hot, and you’ll see some signs of cooking fairly quickly. Where the dough is touching the bars, it will blister a bit, which is a good sign; but if you notice big bubbles, almost like you’re making pita bread, pop the bubbles so that the dough folds back onto itself.”

Chef Briwa said the first side of the dough will only take about a minute and a half to cook. After this, you can pick up the edge of the dough and check it for browning. Once one side is significantly browned, flip it. Since the dough is already hot, the second side will only take about half as much time as the first.

And to Top It All Off…

There are a number of topping combinations Chef Briwa suggested, which can be assembled while the pizza cooks on the grill.

“You can make olive tapenade—which consists of olives, capers, and anchovies—and use it as your sauce,” he said. “Then top it with a salad of arugula, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes tossed with red wine vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.”

Alternatively, a breakfast pizza may help break up the monotony of your usual toppings. To make this, Chef Briwa recommended spreading pesto on the dough and topping it with an arugula salad containing scrambled eggs, shredded prosciutto, vinaigrette dressing, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

“For a Mediterranean approach, you can spread hummus on the dough and top it with a Greek salad consisting of feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, capers, cucumbers, and arugula,” he said.

No pepperoni required.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily

This article contains material taught by the late Chef Bill Briwa. A popular chef-instructor at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Briwa worked in the hospitality business as a professional chef and culinary instructor for experts and laypeople around the world for more than 30 years.