Yes: Pickle pie is delicious, but only if it’s from a NJ pizzeria
Earlier this summer, my colleague Kylie Moore told you about the monstrosity the Indiana State Fair was trying to pass off as pizza. And based on what she wrote, I would have to agree with her.
Now before continuing on with this story, If you haven't seen Kylie's story about this absolutely nasty-looking pizza, I encourage you to read that first by clicking here. Trust me, catching up on her story first will make you appreciate why New Jersey's pizza is so much more elite than other states.
So let me start by saying that I was skeptical of pickles on pizza. In fact, I used to consider that one of those items that should never share the same plate as a slice of pizza. I maintained this opinion until a few years ago when a new pizza shop opened in Monmouth County.
This particular pizza shop offered something I'd never seen before. They had a specialty pizza that featured pickles on it. That's right, Indiana isn't the only place that offers this as an option.
But there is one critical difference between the two. Instead of the pizza looking like something from an alternate universe (see Indiana's version above), The one made in New Jersey actually looks like something worth giving a try.
A big reason for this? It's simple. Pizzerias in New Jersey know what they're doing. Just look at how different a slice from the Garden State looks below compared to the Indiana slice from above.
So which Monmouth County pizza shop dared to attempt a pickle pizza with huge success? It's none other than Julio's Pizza Co in Atlantic Highlands (across from the historic movie theater Kevin Smith recently purchased).
In fact, their pickle pizza is a featured item, and one of their most popular menu items (the website even jokes about it by saying "Yes. Pickles.") They call it Joe Joe's pickle pie, and it is amazing.
And the ingredients speak for themselves. Instead of slopping it with dill ranch sauce and dill seasoning as the Indiana version does, Julio's pickle pie is simple.
According to their website, Joe Joe's pickle pie contains "House Garlic Parmesan Sauce, Mozzarella," and "Pickle Chips." In other words, ingredients that really mesh well together.
I know it seems hard to believe, but this pizza is really good. Trust me, I was highly skeptical at first myself. But when I finally gave it a chance, I was floored with how good it was. I now understand why this pizza quickly emerged as one of their most popular pies.
I guess I really shouldn't be surprised. I mean, if anyone can make pickles work on a pizza, it's going to be a local pizzeria shop in New Jersey.
And to be honest? I don't get how other states can call what they have pizza. I still have a memory from when I was a kid visiting family in the Florida Keys. We went out for pizza one day and I was immediately puzzled as to why they were giving us forks and knives while we waited for the pizza to be ready. Being from New Jersey, I've only ever known to hold pizza with your hands.
And then the pizza came, and it was one of the grossest things I have ever seen. Much like the Indiana pickle pizza, it appeared very slimy, oily, and watery. In fact, it was so waterlogged that you couldn't even pick it up, which is why it was served with a fork and spoon. Needless to say, I refused to eat it.
I think I was around seven at the time and I still have a vivid memory of this so-called pizza. That just tells you how bad it was and why people from outside our area really have no idea what pizza really is.
The moral of the story is this. Unless the pizza is made in New Jersey (or the tri-state area for that matter), then you're absolutely right to question it. This is why New Jersey pizzerias such as Julio's Pizza Co absolutely define what true pizza really is.
They dared to take something that most would reject on a pizza, and turn it into a masterpiece. And if you were skeptical like me, I urge you to give a slice a try.