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Turkey Pepperoni and Hot Honey Pizza on a wooden pizza paddle

Tariq Trotter’s Tonight Show Award-Winning Turkey Pepperoni and Hot Honey Pizza

For its inaugural Pizza-Off competition, “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon faced off against rapper Black Thought (Tariq Trotter), with none other than New York City-based pizza historian and tour guide Scott Wiener there as the judge and final word on all things pizza. The prize? Eternal glory and the show’s magnificent “Golden Slicer Award.” 

Fallon opted for a spaghetti and meatball-inspired pizza, taking the “carb-on-carb” trend perhaps a step too far. Tariq played it safe with a pepperoni and hot honey pizza, but used turkey pepperoni for his signature twist. Drawing on his experience working at Chicago’s iconic Pizzeria Uno, Tariq placed the pepperoni on before the cheese, impressing Scott. This, in addition to a well-rounded pizza and post-bake hot honey drizzle, earned Tariq the title of 2021 Pizza Champion. Sorry, Jimmy. (Watch Jimmy and Tariq face off.)

We wanted to give this award-winning pizza (named the “Pie’ing Lotus”) a shot, and recreated the recipe at Ooni HQ using our recipe for Homemade Hot Honey (you can also use your favorite store-bought brand like Mike’s Hot Honey, of course). This recipe would suit a variety of pizza styles, and we think neo-Neapolitan, sourdough, Detroit-style, or our classic pizza dough would all be great fits. And hey — if you can’t find turkey pepperoni, normal pepperoni will do just fine.

25 minutes active time 

Makes one 12-inch pizza

Ooni pizza oven
Ooni Infrared Thermometer
Pizza peel
2-ounce ladle
Ooni Pizza Cutter Wheel or Ooni Pizza Cutter Rocker Blade 

250-gram pizza dough ball
5 to 6 tablespoons (70 to 85 grams) Ooni classic tomato sauce 
6 to 8 slices turkey pepperoni
4 ounces (100 grams) low-moisture mozzarella, shredded

For garnish:
Hot honey
Red pepper flakes
Fresh basil

Make sure to prepare your dough well ahead of time to ensure it rises at room temperature before cooking.

Fire up your Ooni pizza oven, aiming for 950°F (500°C) on the stone baking board inside. Use the infrared thermometer to measure the temperature quickly and easily. 

On a lightly floured surface, stretch out the dough ball to 12 inches and lay it over a lightly dusted pizza peel. Using a 2-ounce ladle, spread pizza sauce evenly over the base. Top first with pepperoni, followed by mozzarella. 

Slide the pizza off the peel and into the oven. Cook for up to 2 minutes, turning regularly to ensure the pizza cooks evenly. Once cooked, remove the pizza and top with a drizzle of hot honey. Finish with red pepper flakes (optional), grated pecorino, and fresh basil. 

Serve immediately and taste the glory.

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