I sometimes wonder if potato chip companies aren’t all guided by a collusion of meat company executives in a brilliant attempt to subvert the ideas of vegetarianism and tempt the herbavorically inclined among us to the joys of being a carnivore.
A far fetched conspiracy theory?
Perhaps, but perusing the Walmart chip aisle lends credence to my claim. There’s Chicken Barbecue chips. Baby Back Rib Chips. The proverbial [your favorite cheese here] and bacon chips, and, I’d be remiss not to point out, some horribly mediocre attempt at making chips into a BLT.
At some point one has to wonder if God had wanted fried potatoes to taste like meat, he’d have made them, well, actually meat. Come to think of it, maybe those chip companies are secretly plotting to turn us carnivores against meat by designing crappy “meaty” potato chips.
Which brings me to curious case of Herr’s Sloppy Joe Potato Chips. The All-American staple of thriftiness, the Sloppy Joe technically contains meat. Technically, because underneath all that gloopy “stuff” the lunch lady served to you in the fourth grade, was, I’m told, the denatured proteins of something that either went “moo” or “cluck.” I can’t remember the last time I had a Sloppy Joe, but I’m sure it was sometime during my less epicurean days of meat consumption. I’m also quite convinced it may have involved copious amounts of a canned sauce that rhymes with “Damn This!” If there’s one thing I am positively certain of, though, it’s that said Sloppy Joe tasted damn good, as in “damn my future pretentious affinity for paninis and designer burgers, I want some good old American loose meat!”
Given my more recent excursions into the world of meat flavored chips, I didn’t have the highest hopes for these. Right out of the bag, the aroma seemed to promise the kind of mediocre onion powder and salt infused taste one expects from a chip of wacky flavor designs, although the first bite revealed a tomato paste like sweetness combined with an altogether “mmm” quality one only finds in Woochestireshire sauce. Instantly I’m hooked, suddenly recognized a certain spicy sweetness.
The chips themselves are much more oily than Lay’s chips, while the coating is positively dumped onto some chips. What ensues is a flavor and mouthfeel with the simple yet proven flavor notes of sweet, salty, acidic, and dare I say even a bit meaty, while also managing to convey the kind of sloppy and oily mess that a fourth grade fat camper can’t help but smile about. I especially liked the tomato powder element, and detected hints of cumin and some vaguely defined herb that probably works its way into any number of Sloppy Joe’s.
And the potato?
Hardly tasted it at all, but I’m not complaining. After all, I may not recall my last Sloppy Joe that clearly, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a potato thrown in there somewhere.
As a potato chip connoisseur, I’m a bit ashamed to admit how much I like these. There’s a great snackability element, and no pretentious “all natural” claims that hinder the enjoyment of a good junk food session parked in front of the NHL playoffs. Herr’s clearly put some thought into these, and judging by an ingredient list which features tamarind and Woochestireshire sauce, it’s apparent that the Pennsylvania-based snack company didn’t just dump a bunch of salt and dextrose on some oily chips.
A few minor complaints, including only being able to find these at Walmart and a less than optimal ridgy crunch, but nothing to the extent that would make me throw caution to the wind when plowing through an entire bag.
Healthy? Maybe not.
But considering this dastardly chip company’s collusion to subvert the influence of actual meat in my life, I might as well get my kicks where I can.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce (about 13 chips) – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 279 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Herr’s Sloppy Joe Potato Chips
Price: $2.58 (on sale)
Size: 10 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Defies reason by tasting like an actual Sloppy Joe. Enjoyable mix of sweet, salty, and spicy, with a zippidy-do-da tang of Woochestireshire sauce. Better than Lay’s BLT chips. Possibly better for you than an actual Sloppy Joe, provided you don’t eat the whole bag.
Cons: Dastardly chip company collisions. Actually sloppy. More “ground turkey” sweetness than beefy richness. Only available at Walmart? Correctly pronouncing and spelling “Woochestireshire”