After trying a couple of the other Fresh Finds “gourmet” potato chips, I opted to try the most straightforward one yet: mesquite barbecue. There are only so many things you can do with BBQ chips, and many of them come off tasting like salt more than actual barbecue, but based on what I’ve had, I had faith in Fresh Finds to deliver the goods. Did they come through, or leave me hanging for the first time ever?
Like all the other Fresh Finds chips that I’ve seen, the Mesquite Barbecue is contained in an 8 oz. bag, for $1.90, which is a pretty good price point. A vast majority of the chips take on a dark red hue, from the sheer amount of barbecue seasoning on each one. While this can be a blessing, a lot of times with barbecue chips it tends to mean that it’s just overwhelmingly salty; still, I’d rather there be too much seasoning, than not enough, I suppose.
Just like the other Fresh Finds chips I’ve had, these really are nice and crunchy, just like the packaging declares. This is no doubt due to them being processed as kettle chips, which tend to be twice as crunchy as standard ones. And just like all the other ones I’ve had under the Big Lots private label brand, these are surprisingly delicious.
The “secret” ingredient in these, which are curiously missing from a lot of other BBQ chips, is that they add a touch of sweetness to their seasoning. This is welcome, because it helps to counterpoint the saltiness inherent of standard barbecue chips, that I have now mentioned three times. By adding a little bit of sugar to the mix, it creates a much more addicting flavor, and I found myself reaching into the bag at various points throughout the day just to shove a few in my mouth. This doesn’t happen very often to me, as far as barbecue chips are concerned.
But it really works here--I was downing these quicker than any other barbecue chip of recent memory. I’m usually hesitant to purchase BBQ chips because they all seem to taste the same (or close enough), but these stand out enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to get them again, though it would be some point down the road (barbecue used to be the only kind of chip I would buy, so I get sick of them quite easily, no matter how good they are). If you don’t mind a little bit of sweetness to go with your salty, then these are a surprisingly delicious way to go.
Overall: 8/10. A surprisingly sweet barbecue chip that is one of the better ones I’ve had in recent memory. The BBQ itself is good, and manages to avoid being salty on its own, but adding in a touch of sugar makes these far more addicting than they should be. For purveyors of crunch, these are kettle cooked, so they are twice as crunchy as standard potato chips. The retail price, $1.90 per 8 oz. bag, offers plenty of chip for an affordable price, too. If you’re a barbecue connoisseur, you should pick these up the first chance you get!
FRESH FINDS SRIRACHA HONEY KETTLE CHIPS
|Don't think about it too much, and you will be pleasantly surprised.|
I’m going to be honest here: I didn’t want to try these. It was the last flavor that I had yet to try from Fresh Finds’ gourmet potato chip line, (besides the “standard” sea salt and other boring flavors), and even though the others were good, I was more or less terrified to buy a bag of these. In fact, after much hesitation, I forced myself to pick this bag up, but also purchased a bag of their amazing Aged White Cheddar & Sour Cream chips to use as backup, in case these were bad.
For starters, everyone suddenly has sriracha fever, but “sriracha” these days essentially means something tomato-y and spicy, as companies flock to throw together something that they can call by that name simply to meet the demand of the market. In other words, the “sriracha” taste companies often use isn’t very good, nor is it very authentic, and this is why I wasn’t too excited to get them. But at the same time, I like a good edible challenge, and after walking around the store a couple of times and dwelling on the concept, I softened up and began to embrace the idea. Besides, for $1.90, it’s not like I’d be out a whole lot if they didn’t live up to my mediocre expectations.
As with Fresh Finds Jalapeno Popper chips, I feel like these also are so named simply to cash in on the sriracha craze. Again, the taste doesn’t remind me of sriracha sauce all that much, though there is a solid bit of heat that comes through. If I hadn’t read the bag, and you just delivered these to me blind, I’d probably label them “sweet chili chips”, or something of the sort. But you know what? For all my opinions of the chip name, all that matters is the flavor, and once again Fresh Finds has come through—I’m honestly leaning toward naming them my current favorite chip brand, which is high praise coming from a store typically associated with closeouts and discontinued items.
It’s common sense how this combo is supposed to work—the spicy of the sriracha mixes with the sweetness of the honey to provide a counter-balanced taste—but there are a lot of ways this can go wrong, the most obvious of which is if one flavor overpowers the other. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. It isn’t too sweet, with the honey playing a supporting role, allowing the “sriracha” to remain front and center, yet the sweetness still punches through.
These aren’t nearly as addicting to me as the Aged White Cheddar and Sour Cream chips, but this is a fantastic chip that’s very hard to put down. The $1.90 price tag hints at something much more generic than what you get, which is a fairly original, very tasty snack. If you come across these at your local Big Lots, ignore the voices in your head telling you this combination is “weird”, and give them a shot. Chances are, you’ll thank me later.
Overall: 7.5/10. These are pretty darn tasty. Again, the flavor name seems to be a little exaggerated—sweet chili would have probably been more on point—but then again, they were probably just trying to cash in on the sriracha craze (that’s Marketing 101). But regardless of the name, the taste is fantastic, with just the right amount of heat counterbalanced with a slight bit of honey that’s noticeable, but not excessive. I’ve got to hand it to Big Lots…their Fresh Finds chip line provide excellent value for the money (each bag is only $1.90), as well as surprisingly delicious, and sometimes even unique, flavors. Give them a shot if you haven’t already.