I recently went to a Brazilian steakhouse and it was one of the best dining experiences of my life. Servers there bring cuts of various meats to you every few minutes, like brisket, tri-tip, bacon-wrapped sirloin, chicken wings, chicken hearts, lamb, sausage, pork loin, and many more. But my favorite was the picanha.
Picanha is a cut of beef towards the rear of the cow and it’s popular in Brazil. Technically, it’s part of a cow’s butt, but it’s so wonderful. The picanha I gobbled up had a great meaty flavor, was tender, and I’m drooling just thinking about it.
If you’ve never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, servers bring the glistening meat to you on skewers and they slice off a piece, which you take with tongs. But after tasting picanha, every time a server brought it back, I always yelled, “I wanna…more of the picanha!”
Okay, I didn’t scream that out loud, but my taste buds probably were.
But this is not a Yelp review for Brazilian steakhouses, this is a review for Lay’s Brazilian Picanha Potato Chips, which is part of their Passport to Flavor line the brand is offering this summer.
These are not just steak-flavored chips. They also have seasoning that’s supposed to tastes like chimichurri sauce. If you’re wondering how these chips get their steak flavor, they get it from, according to the ingredients list, beef extract and beef fat. There’s also milk protein concentrate and skim milk listed, but I’m not a food scientist, so I’m not sure if they contribute to the steak flavor.
To get the chimichurri sauce, the chips are seasoned with several spices and ingredients. There’s salt (duh), oregano, parsley, dried garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and onion powder, some of which you can see on every chip.
The chips have a herby and meaty aroma, but they also smell slightly sweet. Their flavor does remind me of steak, but not the awesomeness of the picanha I experienced at a Brazilian steakhouse. Along with the meatiness, there’s also a bit of pepperiness, a bit of herbs, and a wee bit of sweetness. All together those flavor characteristics create something that tastes like steak and chimichurri sauce. While not as enjoyable as eating actual picanha, I think it’s a mighty fine tasting potato chip and it does a decent job at trying to replicate the meat.
Along with seasoning inconsistencies from chip to chip, there was something about the flavor that bothered me. I kept thinking to myself that it tasted familiar, and I kept shoving chips into my mouth to figure it out. Then it hit me. They kind of taste like a meat sauce one would find on spaghetti. It’s not a bad thing and if Lay’s ever decides to come out with spaghetti-flavored chips they already have the recipe.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant meaty, herby flavor. It also kind of tastes like spaghetti meat sauce. Actual picanha at Brazilian steakhouses.
Cons: Doesn’t make me as happy as actual picanha does. Seasoning inconsistencies from chip to chip. Chicken hearts.
17 thoughts to “REVIEW: Lay’s Brazilian Picanha Potato Chips”
It’s weird they call it “Brazilian picanha” and put chimichurri on it.
Chimichurri is a seasoning very common in Argentina and Uruguay, but not in Brazil, so the label is a bit misleading.
On a sidenote, glad to hear you like our style of BBQ.
These shitty ass chips hand no salt and no vinegar despite being in a bag labeled salt and vinegar, eat shit frito lay I hope your company tanks fuck you
I was in Greece a few months ago and they have oregano flavored Lay’s out there. Just fantastic. Hope this makes the Passport line.
I HIGHLY recommend the Indian Tikka Masala chips. I don’t usually like kettle cooked chips, but loved these. Note they are not Chicken Tikka Masala, just Tikka Masala spice. A wise choice since reproducing meat flavor always fails in chips.
Brazilian Picanha….grossest chips ever. I threw a whole bag away. Any chip that tastes like meat, and makes your breath smell like old meat…..nuff said.
I tried these and the Chinese Szechuan Chicken and didn’t like either of them. The Brazilian Picanha tasted like straight beef. There was no complexity to the flavor. I’m glad I only wasted money on the smaller bags.
Brazilians don’t use anything but salt to season the picanha. That is not picanha flavored. In some places of Brazil that would be called heresy.
Any respectable region of the globe should consider these heresy.
Tried the Chinese chicken one and the Brazilian one. Chinese one was OK, could’ve used more seasoning in my opinion, the Brazilian one I think is quite literally the nastiest chip I’ve ever put in my mouth, as of the time of typing this, it’s been about an hour since I tried it, and the gross after taste is still lingering. It’s similar to how your mouth tastes after vomiting.
I got a small bag of the Brazilian Picanha chips at Subway with my sandwich and I loved them! I looked for them at Walmart, but didn’t find them, unfortunately.
Has anyone else had an allergic reaction to these? My face felt like it was ON FIRE, and my ears and arms felt like I had a SEVERE SUNBURN within ONE MINUTE of eating these!!!?
That was the liquid shame that they drizzled on these chips on the way out.
I tried them last Sunday. Shortly afterward, I started developing reddish and itchy marks around my torso, which then developed into full-blown hives pretty much all over. Went to doc next morning. Am ingesting antihistamines for the next week. Recovering. Have been trying to figure out what ingredients might cause the reaction. Have had hives only once in my life before. These chips are the only out-of-the-ordinary food I’d had in the few days before and since my bout.
I don’t know what the author was tasting, but it couldn’t have been these Lay’s chips. To me, they tasted like ass flambeau with drizzled ass-crack sauce in a bag. Avoid at all costs if you value your money and dignity.
I like them. The flavor is definitely meaty, and has a nice zestyness. Of course, I haven’t had the real thing, so I can’t compare them to the real deal (which your description makes me want to try it very much). Unfortunately, I live in the middle of nowhere, and any kind of international cuisine outside of “Chinese” and “Mexican” simply cannot be found.
You’re right in that the chips have an inconsistency in flavoring from chip to chip, which is a shame, because otherwise I like them quite a bit. Actually, I was floored by how the first few chips I tried tasted like grilled beef, and I mean that in the best way. I don’t know how they pulled that flavoring off, but I was impressed.
That said, I hope to try the real thing someday. Until then, these will do.
These, like so many Lays chips, are nothing new nor worth trying. Actually, they tasted more like Sour Cream and Onion chips.
I try Lays every now and then thinking they will actually come up with something flavorful.
Buy Utz as they are way better.
Really liked these pichana chips, and the queso ones too. Too bad the only ones we can get here are biscuits and gravy -GROSS! At least 10 different kinds of bar-b-que…. and some mac and cheese… WTF
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