Pizza Lab #11: Limburger Pizza
Pizza Lab is a fun theoretical column in which Meg A. and Erik S. explore their innermost passion for baking and eating pizzas. It exists purely for the sake of experimenting in the kitchen. It may not necessarily be cost-effective everytime, so don’t try this at home kids.
So it’s November already, huh? What a shame Meg and I already created a Thanksgiving Pizza for Pizza Lab months ago. Hindsight may be 20/20, but now that I’m trying to look back, I can’t exactly remember the rationale in making a Thanksgiving-themed pizza back in the springtime… No matter. Time marches on, and so does Meg and I’s experimenting on all things food. If you recall, Meg recently gave her positive thoughts on everybody’s favorite stinky cheese, limburger. Being unabashedly weird and having a fondness for various weird things, the two of us knew we couldn’t settle with just the one review and call it a day. Instead, we surmised the possibility of a Pizza Lab involving the limburger and give it a send off worthy of our new favorite cheese.
Meg A. Once we realized there’d be leftover Limburger from our cheese adventure, we knew we had to use it on a pizza. We are us after all.
Erik S. Haha yeah, just trying limburger wasn’t enough, heh.
Meg A. Yet despite knowing for about a month we wanted to make this pizza, we kinda put the plans for it together rather slapdash. I fear we let the limburger down a bit.
Erik S. Yeah, we had a loose idea of a pizza, but it was literally the night before we made it, that we actually made a solid plan. Despite how some of our pizzas may look, we do generally put a lot of thought into them.
Meg A. Yeah, this one… we sorta dropped the ball on. We’ve been busy! Bah. Stupid lives and responsibilities we have. It should all just be baking pizza.
Erik S. Oh God I wish… It really should.
Meg A. But even with the relative lack of planning, the pizza still turned out pretty darn good! It has the potential to be my 5th favorite savory pizza we made. Pretty much the only thing keeping it from that was the unfortunate use of maple bacon.
Erik S. Yeah, once again bacon screwed us over in a Pizza Lab. We put too much faith in it for the Disco Fries pizza, and now this time it messed up our Limburger pizza.
Meg A. What makes it even worse is that in retrospect we probably didn’t even really need it. The few strips of regular we had would likely have been enough.
Erik S. Yeah… lesson learned for next time.
As mentioned, the concept itself came about due to our recent adventure in purchasing and eating limburger cheese sheerly out of curiosity to see how bad it smelled. After finally obtaining some, eating it, and confirming it to be one of our favorite cheeses ever, we decided the next logical step would be to make a pizza using it, since we’re obsessed with pizza, and baking things usually brings out its natural odor even more Again, we don’t pretend to be normal. In fairness, the limburger itself didn’t smell as bad as we had thought (hoped?) and actually tasted pretty similar to a sweet cheddar. And afterall, Pizza Lab is all in the name of pizza and science, so we needed to be the ones to deduce whether or not baking limburger on a pizza would produce a delicious meal with a powerful aroma, or merely a sloppy pile of trash garbage. Fortunately it wasn’t the latter.
Onions are a staple companion to limburger, according to our serious-business research. The classic sandwich using the cheese called for thick onion slices on rye bread. I dunno where this tradition arose since onions were originally grown in the Middle East, and aren’t particularly associated with German cuisine. Meg dwelled on this in her review, pondering that maybe limburger’s stinky reputation was in part from its pairing with onions. Who knows why. Maybe someone just thought the idea of pairing two pungent foods together in smelly matrimony was amusing/adorable. Maybe they just wanted a laugh. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, the two go hand-in-hand, as referenced by waning reports of ideas for limburger pizzas we’d seen in the furthest reaches on the interwebs that also called for large amounts of onion. Rather than simply adding them on in slices, we opted to instead caramelize them, to sweeten the deal (My one alotted pun for this article).
Beyond this, we wanted to use some sort of meat, since generally most specialty pizzas call for some meat to add heft and mass. In keeping with the idea of it being a German dish, we decided to fry up one of the most tragically-named foods we all know, wienershnitzel. Usually wienershnitzel is made from veal, but can really be any meat, so we went with pork since veal is a depressing source of meat and you should feel bad if you enjoy it. Darkness aside, the pork cutlets were breaded and battered as they would be, and fried up, then chopped to be transported to their new pizza home.
As mentioned above, our rigidity in making it German-themed led us to discovering an interesting, folk recipe for something known as duckefett sauce. And by folk, I mean serious, hardcore folk, as in we couldn’t find any English recipes for it. With some translation and measurement conversion, we put together our own version of a recipe, which will probably find its way on here as a Cheat Code article someday. Anyway, all pizzas need a sauce, especially this one since pork can be a fairly dry meat. The duckefett is simply made of sour cream, bacon, and onions. So in other words it’s basically just a baked potato in sauce form. While yummy, simmering bacon and onions in hot cream doesn’t produce the most… pleasing sight.
Meg A. This pizza was educational as well as tasty, since it led to the discovery of a traditional German sauce called Duckefett sauce, which is where the bacon came into play (and ruined everything).
Erik S. Yeah, it was interesting, basically baked potato sauce. We’ll have to try using it again without garbage-ass maple bacon.
Meg A. Oh! This pizza was also educational because we learned that if you don’t take the rind off before melting limburger you’ll get ghost cheese windows.
Erik S. Right! That too. It looked cool and was awesomely appropriate for Halloween.
Meg A. With the exception of the ghost cheese windows, overall the limburger melted really well.
Erik S. Which makes sense since it’s a pretty soft cheese. The rind basically looked like tortilla chip strips, after everything was oozed together.
Meg A. Tortilla strips, and also shredded cupcake wrappers. To be frank, this was not our most aesthetically pleasant pizza.
Erik S. Yeahhh, it kinda looked like a pizza garbage dump, haha.
Meg A. Between the sauce, onions, pork, and cheese everything was pretty much the same color.
Erik S. It was a beautiful picture made exclusively with hues of grey and brown. Beautiful is the right word, right?
Unfortunately for us, the one downfall here was our use of maple bacon due to only having two slices of regular left. Maple bacon is fine for breakfast if you’re craving maple flavor, but don’t want to open up your $20 jug of authentic syrup, but its cooking practicality leaves a lot to be desired. It was a bit overpowering in the sauce, which didn’t call for or need maple overtones in it. It’s a savory sauce and as such the subtle sweetness of maple syrup was not only out of place, but also somewhat obtrusive as well. …this is all rather flowery speech to just say the maple bacon made it taste kinda shitty. It wasn’t terrible, since you could tell it had a good flavor to it, but any bites of bacon made this weird sensation in your mouth, clashing flavors. I guess it’d kinda be like walking into a nice quiet park, then having a large, hairy Canadian dude burst onto the scene and start shirtless wrestling a German dude. Nobody wins, in that situation. Bacon interfered with pizza perfection once again, so you can see why I’m a bit jaded towards it. Not to mention my inner hipster cringes at the droves of people whom insist the world needs to be made of bacon, and whom probably had an aneurysm upon reading my above distaste for it. I’m gonna say it once again, bacon is overrated. It doesn’t cure cancer, it doesn’t taste good in your coffee, it’s a just-okay food, best used as a complement to main staples. Get over yourselves, bacon lovers.
Meg A. I suppose we should touch on the smell too, considering the main reason we bought the limburger in the first place was to see how it smelled for ourselves. Smell how it smelled for ourselves? You know what I mean.
Erik S. Yeah, investigating the smelliness was pretty much the only reason we were interested in it.
Meg A. People who read the cheese review know that surprisingly the cheese wasn’t nearly as stinky as expected.
Erik S. Right. As such, the pizza was about as smelly as expected based on how the cheese itself smelled.
Meg A. Afterwards the room kind of smelled like… dough and smelly feet. Which probably sounds gross but I found strangely pleasant, heh.
Erik S. Yeahhh, I will admit it did smell good, haha.
Meg A. We are weird, heehee.
Erik S. Yup! Though let’s not even attempt to justify it, I doubt we’ll convince people our feet-pizza smelled nice.
Meg A. Haha, probably not.
The sauce was good enough, and worked well to add a base and moisture to the pie. In tandem it was helped by the sweetness of the limburger and onions. Interestingly enough though, the pork added relatively nothing to the pizza. It was sorta there, doing its thing and being fried pork cutlets. Its faint taste was drowned on by the stink of cheese and onions, and its texture was sorta lost in the slew of other foods on the crust. And actually, this was more a negative that just neutrality since it was taking up a lot of space. Nobody likes a fat, heavy pizza that requires three hands to eat (shut up, the entire whiny city of Chicago), and our poor limburger pizza came dangerously close to this territory due to the sloth-like pork slices on it. A valuable lesson learned, especially for us being ardent meat-eaters, that not every pizza needs meat on it. Or at very least, if the meat isn’t a featured part of the pie’s crux, it doesn’t need it.
Smell-wise, it wasn’t anywhere as bad as you’d think. It definitely had a pretty strong funk to it as Meg stated, and the room basically smelled like dough and sweaty socks, but a good funk! So I suppose it definitely could’ve gone worse, considering the different, pungent foods we had plastered onto the crust. If anything it just sorta smelled like we took our shoes and socks off and kneaded the dough into the pan using our feet. Also, you’re welcome for that adorably disturbing mental image; welcome to PCFG, we look forward to cooking for you sometime soon!
Meg A. I feel like we’re talking this pizza down, but I really did enjoy it. The onions, sauce (minus maple bacon), and cheese all went really well and worked great in pizza form. I suppose it should be noted that the insipiration for this pizza came from the traditional limburger sandwhich that is limburger and onions on rye bread.
Erik S. Yeah we need to stop beating it up. It was smelly and looked weird, but it was great!
Meg A. Yup!
Erik S. We’ve both agreed that if we ever find ourselves in possession of leftover limburger we need to revisit this pizza.
Meg A. Exactly. The stinky cheese deserves better than this, and we can certainly do better.
Erik S. Right. No pork, correct bacon, and more onions.
Meg A. We got caught up in the German thing and started to neglect the star, which was the cheese. And every cheese deserves its day!
Erik S. How cheesy of you… Heh.
Despite its foibles, the end product was actually really good. It had a very unique, hardy flavor to it. Interesting indeed, as you’d expect it to be. And I don’t use the term interesting as a derogative, like “Oh your sister files her nails into sharp points while muttering Latin? That’s… interesting.” I use it as a legitimate compliment on its uniquity and ability to stand out. It’s like nothing we’ve made or eaten yet, and it tasted good to boot. It wasn’t the prettiest duck in the bunch and it smelled like feet, but dammit it was good. This pizza proved a point to us. Smelly’s not always bad. Smelly things need love too! And sometimes smelly things are awesome. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from this pizza, and start giving a second chance to skunks and garlic and New Jersey. Next time someone you know smells bad, don’t ridicule them, for all you know, they could actually be a delicious pizza.