[Review] Tangy Barbeque Popchips Potato Ridges

I have a love-hate relationship with Popchips.

I love them because they’re cooked using a fancy pressurization chamber, not fried, which means they’re easier to eat with less guilt. I hate them because they’re easier to eat, which means I consume them by the metric ton. Even worse, Popchips always gloat that they have “half the fat.” That’s great for them, but my waistline now has double the fat because they’re so damn addicting.

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Continuing in their mission to make me the first man to ironically die of a heart attack from eating too many “healthy” snacks, Popchips are releasing a new line of chips with a bolder flavor and more crunch, called Popchips Potato Ridges. These chips aren’t supposed to hit shelves until June, but I found a bag of Tangy Barbeque Popchips Potato Ridges (they’ll also be available in Salted, Cheddar and Sour Cream, and Chili Cheese) at a Walmart store in my area. Hey, at least no matter how many of these I eat, it’ll still be healthier than eating actual barbeque food…Right?

“Barbeque” might seem like a pretty straightforward flavor, but it’s actually fairly complex. It usually consists of vinegar or tomato, sugar or molasses, and various spices. I was anxious to see if these Popchips would be able to nail the full flavor. Judging from the smell alone, I wondered if I somehow managed to grab a bag of paprika chips. I really hope they taste better than they smell.

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Luckily, there’s an immediate barbeque flavor in these chips. It’s sweet, with the tang of tomato and some light smokiness. After the sweetness and smokiness fades, however, the lingering aftertaste is mostly tomato. That aftertaste then swells into a complex mix of spices–I picked up on some onion and garlic flavor, as well as slight heat from black pepper. I was actually impressed with how many elements of the typical barbeque flavor I was able to detect in these Popchips.

Do the ridges make a difference? Yes and no. They’re not very pronounced for the most part, and some chips don’t even have “ridges” at all. Overall though, they provide some nice textural variety. These chips have a substantial crunch to them, which is a pleasant surprise considering they’re so light.

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Oddly, there’s almost too much barbeque in these Popchips. Some chips are so heavily doused in the flavored powder that I couldn’t even place the potato taste itself. This was a disappointment, especially considering that there is already a normal barbeque Popchip variety, which have a much fuller potato flavor. Here, the basic potato taste was pretty much drowned out entirely.

These Tangy Barbeque Popchips Potato Ridges are pretty good, but I wish they had more balance. Having said that, if you’re looking for a lighter barbeque chip without sacrificing flavor, look no further. Did I love them? Not quite. But judging by the bag I’ve already plowed through, I certainly didn’t hate them either.

Item: Tangy Barbeque Popchips Potato Ridges
Price and Place of Purchase: $1.98 at Walmart
Nutrition Facts (serving size-1 oz): 120 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 3.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 115 milligrams of potassium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
In a Nutshell: These chips have an impressive depth of flavor and a hearty crunch. However, the barbeque flavor tends to drown out any taste of potato. Is the proper spelling “barbeque” or “barbecue?” Currently changing my Facebook relationship status to “It’s Complicated with Popchips Ridges.”
Overall Score:  8 out of 10

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