Snack Review: Miss Vickie’s Smokehouse BBQ Kettle Chips
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that when it comes to potato chips, I am an unabashed snob. Not only am I willing to live exclusivly on Route 11’s exceptional line of kettle cooked chips if called upon (and yes, Route 11, I will submit to such a challenge), but I hold a soft spot in my heart (and stomach) for classics such as UTZ’s Crab Chip. That being said, I have yet to encounter a chip so uniquely perfect in every aspect as Cape Cod’s Sweet Mesquite Barbeque Kettle Chips, which earned a grade of 9.25/10 in a previous review (the highest chip grade I have ever given out). Recently, I tried another brand of barbecue flavored kettle chips, this time in the form of Miss Vickie’s Smokehouse BBQ Chips. How did they stack up against my previous favorite?
Miss Vickie’s (sounds sassy, don’t it?) chips are actually a Canadian brand that are sold by Frito-Lay here in the good ‘ol US of A. They’re the kinds of chips you see in gourmet sandwich shops and at Nordstroms Cafes, although to be honest, I procured these like how I procure most of my snacks these days — I jacked them from my dining hall’s all-you-can-eat chip collection (a hit or miss prospect — lately all they’ve been carrying are regular Fritos and Cheetos). Regardless, these chips have been on the market for a good four or five years now, and are described as being “thick cut and extra crunchy” in addition to being “all natural” and “kettle cooked in small batches.” As for the “Smokehouse BBQ” flavor, Miss Vickie, as if a fine southern belle herself, invites us all to “enjoy the great homemade and familiar taste of warm, smoky barbecue.”
The first thing I noticed from these chips is the strong crunch, which is essential in any good kettle chip. The chips themselves show a good deal of saturation from the oil (something I like) without being overly greasy. I’m not sure how I feel about the combination approach of using “corn, cottonseed, or sunflower oil” in the frying process. Still, I’m impressed enough by the crunch, and intrigued by the seasoning blend. Notice I said intrigued. This is definitely a brown sugar/onion powder/paprika seasoning blend of BBQ, and doesn’t strike me as intense or as deeply as Cape Cod’s version. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the flavor of the “Smokehouse BBQ” chips, but anytime you advertise “smokehouse” in a product that is not actually, you know, smoked, then you’re bound to set yourself up for a certain degree of disappointment. I would say the preeminent flavors of the chip are sweet and salty, with a hint of light molasses on the back-end. There is a slightly smoky flavor, to be sure, but it’s something that I have found easily duplicated by most BBQ Chip makers. Nowhere near as intense as Cape Cod’s version, but enjoyable just the same. Nutritionally, these chips are about par for the course when it comes to flavored chips, although I found the nearly 1.5 oz. bag to be slim pickings compared to Route 11’s usually robust 2 oz. bags I down with ease. In all, this was an above average kettle chip which has good flavor, decent nutrition, and an exceptional crunch. That being said, it still does not match up to comparable flavors from Route 11 and of course, Cape Cod, but then again few chip makers do.
Pros: Very firm crunch. Nice 'double fold' action. Good absorption of oil without being overly greasy on the exterior. Well balanced salt to sweetness ratio. Strong "light" BBQ flavor.
Cons: Run-of-the-mill 'smokiness' that can be duplicated in most BBQ Kettle chips. Relatively few chips per once. Can't match the likes of Route 11 or Cape Cod in terms of flavor or texture. Could use bolder, tomato-based flavor. The honest possibility that to procure these in the future, I may actually have to enter a Nordstroms Cafe (gulp).
Price: Varies greatly by location. Avg $0.79-$1.29 per 1.375 oz bag
Overall GrubGrade: 7.75 (Good)
More Info: MissVickies.ca
Miss Vickie's Smokehouse BBQ Kettle Chips (Per 1 3/8ths oz. bag)