A good sausage is hard to find. A sausage pizza, that is! 😉 The ever-present debate over who in New York City makes the best pizza usually centers around the plain or cheese slice: who makes the best ratio of sauce to cheese, how crispy and chewy and utterly perfect is their dough, whose expert hands craft the best tasting pie. Rarely are toppings a part of the equation when judging the best pizza, unless they’re unique and interesting toppings that only one or a few pizzerias decide to employ. So when you have a staple topping like sausage, you don’t usually see exemplary slices championed up and down the streets of Manhattan. Which is a shame, because when they’re good, they’re super delicious! The spicy, meatiness of sausage takes pizza up a notch in terms of flavor, and (in my opinion) does so without the glut of grease and salt that a pepperoni slice provides. And the wide variety of sausages out there in the big beautiful world make for some really interesting (or really crappy!) sausage pizzas: personally, I prefer the crumbled little balls of sausage nestled sweetly inside a bed of saucy mozzarella cheese, but there are many who love sliced cased sausage, curved up and crispy on the slice, heated just right inside the super-hot pizza oven. If I’m going for a meat slice of pizza, sausage is my first selection–and if they don’t have it, or it doesn’t look up to snuff, I don’t get a meat slice, simple as that.
And one of the most celebrated places to get a sausage slice in New York is Franny’s Pizza in Prospect Heights–yep, that’s right, Brooklyn gets yet another star for the best pizza borough around 🙂 A newcomer to the pizza scene, Franny’s has made a lot of waves in a category (and a borough) that favors the seasoned, generational pizzerias like Di Fara’s and Totonno’s. But with high-quality seasonal ingredients and interesting twists on specialty pizzas, Franny’s has been hitting the top of “best pizza” lists ever since it opened. Take their sausage slice, for example: the sausage they use isn’t just any meat they get from their distributors, like so many other pizzerias of their caliber. It’s house-cured sausage made from locally-farmed hogs, ingredients so fresh the chefs at Franny’s could tell you where every piece of that sausage came from. Their attention to quality and detail has made this sausage revered over all others–and when it’s paired with buffalo mozzarella on a slightly charred thin crust, it stands out above the sea of mediocre sausage slices. The sausage also makes an appearance in their Maccheroni pasta dish, but my best bet is to go for the pizza for the best experience–because, when it comes to New York, pizza is always the right choice.
295 Flatbush Ave (between Prospect Pl & St Marks Ave), Prospect Heights
“Franny’s takes all its ingredients that seriously, from house-cured sausage to hormone-free farmhouse milk, and the details are micromanaged—presumably, judging by her tireless, all-seeing dining-room patrols, by Franny herself. Fine green olives marinating in olive oil and fennel seeds greet you at the sleek steel-and-polished-cement bar, where Orpheus, the bartender, expertly mixes house cocktails like Moscato d’Asti with fresh lime juice and Prosecco with grapefruit. The soundtrack is old-time jazz, the clientele young Park Slope parent.”–New York Magazine
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“We all ordered pizza of course, and I tried the sausage pizza. I don’t like the typical Italian sausage, stuffed with those annoying fennel seeds, and the waiter assured me that it was not like your nonna’s sausage and peppas. This sausage was fantastic and I have been thinking about it ever since, plotting my return.”–Meghan P.
“Next – Buffalo Mozz, Sausage and Hot Pepper Pizza. Finger Lickin’ Good, I tell you… Perfectly light crust, sauce w/some kick, a sophisticated amt of mozz, and sausage. Topped w/a toss of parm and drizzle of the finest olive oil… Also muy delicioso, my friends.”–Lans S.
Remember when I said, the quality and variety of the sausage is what really makes a sausage pizza? That’s the main reason why Two Boots Pizza, a chain pizzeria founded in the East Village (but now has locations all over the East and West coasts) is featured for National Sausage Pizza Day. Though the pizzeria tries valiantly, it’s rarely found on any “best pizza” lists…except for its sausage pizza. What makes it so special is what makes Two Boots special to begin with: the concept of Italian pizza fused with Louisiana creole cuisine. These two culinary cultures mixed together make for some great combinations, like the Bayou Beast pizza, made with spiced shrimp, crawfish, jalapeno peppers, and andouille sausage. I’ll bet you never try a sausage slice at a regular Italian pizzeria like the Beast! Unlike Italian pizza sausage, which tends to sway towards the sweet, fennel-laced versions, andouille sausage never pulls its punches: spicy, smoky, and flavorful, andouille stands up well to the creamy mozzarella and tomato sauce atop Two Boots’ typically thick crust. You can order a pie of just the andouille sausage, or go for the full Bayou Beast for a slice you really won’t find anywhere else in New York.
Two Boots Pizza
42 Ave A
“We were a little more restrained in our ordering for the pizza you see above, going with just andouille sausage on a small pie ($9.95). An appropriate choice, don’t you think? As it turns out, andouille is a pretty damn fine pizza topping. Smoky, spicy, and sliced moderately thick, it turned Two Boots’s biggest weakness — that too-thick crust — into a strength. On a thinner pizza it might be too much; here, it works.”–Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I ordered their Bayou Beast, which is pretty much gumbo on a pizza sans okra. It has crawfish, shrimp, and andouille sausage. It was spicy & flavorful! The slices are pretty huge too, so one slice was enough to get me full. Along with some local rootbeer, this meal was really tops.”–Paris J.
“In a town known for great pizza, Two Boots is some of the best. Most pies are made with their super zingy sauce, and I can’t recommend the “Bayou Beast” pie, (BBQ Shrimp,crawfish,andouille, jalapeno & mozzarella) highly enough.”–Bob F.
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