For Tastier Pineapple On Pizza, Add Bacon

We're addressing one of the most controversial topics in food: pineapple on pizza. It's a classic debate. On the one hand, the traditionalist sect claims the fruit shouldn't be added because it just doesn't belong there. Chef Gordon Ramsay famously tweeted his thoughts on the matter and declared, "Pineapple does not go on pizza," and Iceland's President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has stated that if he had the power to ban the combination, he would (via CNN). 

But, on the other hand, a simple argument is posed: How can this union be inherently bad if it tastes so good? As "Stranger Things'" pizza-aficionado Argyle, portrayed by Eduardo Franco, says: "Try before you deny."

In this contentious debate that seems to transcend the realm of simply accepting others' food preferences, Philadelphia chef Kurt Evans is pro-pineapple — on one condition. Evans believes that if you're going to do it, you've got to do it right (per Food & Wine). But what is the right way to make a Hawaiian pizza? The answer involves another topping that is already known and loved by many.

The secret ingredient is bacon

Topping your pizza with simple, canned pineapple? Not in Kurt Evans' kitchen at his Philadelphia restaurant, Down North. According to Food & Wine, the chef's secret to his famous Detroit-style Hawaiian pizza called the Flip Side is to first caramelize the fruit in bacon grease with just a bit of sugar. He prepares the produce in the same pan used to cook the meat to create a complex flavor that marries the sweet with the savory.

This isn't as contradictory as it sounds. The combo works for the same reason people sprinkle salt on fruits like pineapple, mango, and melon. In the right amount, the sodium acts as a flavor enhancer. A light sprinkle of salt actually makes the produce taste even sweeter — as long as you don't overdo it. Likewise, caramelization breaks down the pineapple's sugar molecules, resulting in a sweeter, less acidic flavor. By using bacon grease, Evans can transform the fruit's flavor into one that won't compete with the acidity of the tomato sauce but rather work alongside it.

Chefs like Evans around the globe are innovating ways to make the pineapple-on-pizza debate far less controversial. So, anti-Hawaiian pie folks, don't knock it until you've tried it done right. If you're still a traditionalist afterward, don't fret — there will always be a more basic slice on the menu for you.