Yes, dear reader. It’s that time again. Another in our long line of Snack Food Reviews. As the Bearded Giant eats his way through the local convenience store’s offerings of snack food deliciousness (and monstrosities).
Next up we have a product that doesn’t come with an English label, but is from our frequent supplier, good old Lay’s Potato Chips.
The Chinese characters in this product’s name can be translated a few different ways. But today we are going with “Lay’s Barbarous Cowboy Flavor”.
I admit. Getting ready to tear into these, I was expecting to not be able to write a decent review of them. When writing reviews, I am secretly rooting for the item in question to either be awesome or horrible, to be amazing or terrible. There’s only so many ways you can describe boredom, whether it is a boring movie or a boring bag of potato chips. So when I prepared to rip open the package, my great fear was that they would taste just like plain BBQ chips and there wouldn’t be a story to tell.
I was wrong.
When I was 9 years old, Mount St. Helens erupted in southern Washington. Lives were lost, rivers flooded, the ash cloud drifted for hundreds of miles. It’s the only major volcanic eruption in the lower 48 in the last century. For months after, the area for miles surrounding the volcano was closed off, with no public access inside the “red zone”, to protect citizens from harm. But at age 9, my geologist relatives took me over the barricade and into the red zone to see the devastation first hand.*
It. Was. Awesome.
These chips are almost that cool.
You know what’s wrong with BBQ potato chips? Well, that’s a loaded question. Frankly there are lots of things wrong with them. But perhaps the biggest is that in the rush to provide a lowest common denominator flavor that no one will hate, the manufacturers invariably bury them in sugar. Typical BBQ chips taste very little like actual BBQ. Instead they taste like a pile of brown sugar with just a hint of spice. Doesn’t matter whether you like a Memphis dry rub, a Kansas City sauce, or a Texas brisket, your BBQ potato chips will taste nothing like them.
Oh my, dear reader. You are in for a treat.
You ever eaten good Texas barbeque? Not something called “Texas BBQ” that you got in a strip mall in Richmond, Virginia. I mean actual Texas barbeque. Like you might find in Lockhart, or a dozen other small towns throughout the state.
Twenty-six years ago, I had a chance to eat some hole-in-the-wall BBQ in a town called Leon Springs, just outside San Antonio. The brisket was outstanding, so good in fact that I went back several dozen times and made it a point to ask for end pieces (the burnt ends of the brisket) on every subsequent visit. Served on butcher paper, with a handful of fresh white bread, no frills, no fuss. Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q is a chain now, with over thirty locations in five states, but I don’t begrudge them their expansion. Those folks have been making good BBQ for decades, even back when they first started selling it out of that one location in Leon Springs in 1989.
Remember the chips?
That was what this post was about… in theory…
These chips taste like Rudy’s BBQ brisket in a potato chip. Meaty. Salty. Spicy. None of the pointless heavy brown sugar.
They’re so good they make me crave some of that fine brisket that I know I can’t have until 2016.
You win this time, Lay’s Barbarous Cowboy Flavor.
(Full disclosure: we only went about 10% of the way inside the red zone, nowhere near the actual volcano. We may have been adventurous, but we weren’t crazy.)