Thursday, March 31, 2011

Honey Barbecue Rib flavored potato chips

Platters of burgers and wieners hot off the grill are usually accompanied on the table with potato chips, and since 1965 when Lay's launched a barbecue flavor, those chips have often been of the barbecue variety. While I've enjoyed my share of multiple versions of barbecue flavored chips, I'd never seen a bag of chips with the specific flavor of Archer Farms' (Target) Honey Barbecue Ribs thick-cut potato chips. Not just barbecue flavor, but barbecue ribs. Would they really taste anything like ribs and not just the standard BBQ flavored dust? I had to find out.

The chips had that familiar BBQ dust flavor, but there were unfamiliar undertones of not just sugary sweetness (honey solids per the ingredient list) and something reminiscent of vinegar (vinegar solids). The "rib" flavor was most certainly supplied by a dose of natural smoke flavoring (15th of 19 ingredients). They reminded me of something I'd eaten recently, but it wasn't a rack of baby backs. They tasted much like Lay's Tangy Carolina BBQ flavor which contain brown sugar as an additional sweetener and vinegar solids as well, but not smoke flavoring. At least Archer Farms didn't go the easy route from here to umami and add some MSG, but who uses that anymore? Well, Ruffles Authentic Barbecue flavor does, as well as that natural smoke flavoring.

Overall, Lay's has six versions of BBQ flavored chips including Baked Lay's, Ruffles and Miss Vickie's. Only Ruffles and Miss Vickie's have smoke flavoring, and you might think that some brands just roll it in under the "natural flavors" heading. But you'll always know if what you're eating contains smoke flavoring because the USDA requires it to be listed separately in the ingredient list. More specifically "the labeling of natural smoke flavorings is covered by 9 CFR 317.2 (j) (3) and 381.119 (a) and by Policy Memo 117, 'Smoke Flavoring.' Natural smoke flavoring may not be listed as 'natural flavor' or 'flavor' in the ingredients statement. It may be declared as 'natural smoke flavoring' or 'smoke flavoring.' Artificial smoke flavoring must be labeled as such."

Archer Farms has a few more BBQ potato chip options as well, including Mesquite Barbecue, Maple Barbecue, and the exotic Szechuan Barbecue. So maybe nobody would mistake Honey Barbecue Rib flavored chips for meat on a bone, but the flavor had more depth than your average BBQ chip. Now Lay's needs to step up with the Smoked Brisket Flavor for us Texas BBQ lovers.

- BBQ Snob

No comments:


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.