NEWS: Subway Now Offers A Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich

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Update: Click here to read our Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken review

Subway’s latest sandwich is the Smokehouse BBQ Chicken, which is made up of slow-cooked shredded chicken in a smoky BBQ sauce.

I wonder if preparing the sandwich involves putting the slow-cooked chicken in the quick-cooking microwave. I also wonder if it uses the same barbecue sauce used in their BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, which wasn’t too bad.

A 6-inch Smokehouse BBQ Chicken has 380 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.

The limited-time-only Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken is available as a $6 Footlong special.

Image via flickr user time_anchor / CC BY 2.0

REVIEW: Doritos JACKED (Smoky Chipotle BBQ and Enchilada Supreme)

Doritos JACKED Smoky Chipotle BBQ and Enchilada Supreme

My wife recently told me she admired my self-control around open bags of chips.   I asked what she meant, and she explained that if a chip bag is open, I’ll eat a certain amount until I’m not hungry anymore, then stop and let the chip bag sit there unmolested rather than continue to eat.   I’d never really thought about it that way, but in general, I think she’s right.   I can eat some potato chips and then keep the bag in front of me without touching it.   I can usually do that with tortilla chips.   I can even  pull it off  with cheese curls.

But Doritos are another story.   Open a bag of Doritos and you expose my all-too-human weakness.   I’ll keep eating those things until I force myself to close the bag and stash it away, or until it’s empty.   If it’s open and sitting out, self-control is not an option.

So knowing that about myself, what was I to think about Doritos introducing the “JACKED” sub-line (I feel strongly it should be all caps) that boasts of Bigger, Bolder, Thicker chips?   Should I be enthused, or worried?   Was I like a smoker getting excited because his Camels would now contain triple the nicotine?   And why “JACKED,” anyway?   Were they going to contain Monterey or Cheddar Jack cheese (no), or was  this just  a doomed marketing attempt to seem appropriately “street” (almost certainly)?
 
Then I thought about it for .43 seconds and realized two of those adjectives are completely irrelevant.   Who cares if each  individual chip is 40% bigger and thicker if the size of the bag remains the same?   If anything it’s a ploy to get you to eat the same number of Doritos you always did, but since there are fewer per bag, you’ll need to buy another bag sooner.   They could just as easily make the Doritos small and wafer thin and brag about how each bag contains thousands, yes thousands of chips!

But it’s the second adjective that piqued my interest, because fortune favors the bold and so do I.   The two inaugural flavors kicking off the JACKED line are Smoky Chipotle BBQ and Enchilada Supreme, and neither of those tastes screams “Let my subtle notes gently  waft across your palate.”   Appropriately for a product that debuted at the SXSW Festival, these are chips for extreme people with extreme taste buds; and while I may not be one of them, I’m always up for a challenge.

Doritos JACKED Smoky Chipotle BBQ

As you can see (the penny is for scale, I haven’t taken to eating copper… yet), the Smoky Chipotle BBQ chips are definitely larger than their standard Doritos brethren, and while it may not be clear from the picture, noticeably darker as well.   I was unable to find one completely intact; I’m not sure if that’s a consequence of them being bigger and crunchier, or just having two toddlers who like to help unpack groceries.   The smell is surprisingly subdued, not at all the intense aroma that typically warns you to proceed carefully with spicy food.

My expectation was that, despite the best efforts of the marketing department, the Chipotle BBQ Doritos wouldn’t be absurdly hot, so as not to deter most of the target audience.   Frankly, I was afraid they’d go too far and end up with wuss chips; and luckily, that fear proved groundless.   They pack a greater crunch than the regular variety due to their increased thickness, and you can clearly taste the classic Doritos artificial cheese on them.   But with it definitely comes an explosion of spice that won’t send you sprinting for a gallon of milk, but will probably make you think twice about eating any without a cold drink handy.   Darned if there isn’t a bit of a smoky flavor to them too, complementing the heat.   It’s worth noting that the spice distribution is slightly uneven, some chips being noticeably hotter than others, but I’m not sure there’s any way that could’ve been avoided.  

Doritos JACKED Enchilada Supreme

Likewise, the Enchilada Supreme Doritos carry a less potent aroma than I would’ve expected.   They mostly smell like regular Doritos, with just a hint of Mexican spices if you really focus.   The taste, however, packs just as much of a wallop as the Chipotle variety, if not more.   Immediately your tongue is hit with a tangy salsa taste, and it IS tangy.   I would say the flavor is more intense than the Chipotle variety but doesn’t linger as long — like a process server, it gets in, hits you with a lawsuit or paternity papers, and gets out immediately.   It also has a cheesier taste than regular Doritos, which is much appreciated, along with some tomato flavor.   And not that these have anything in common with “real” Mexican cuisine, but as someone who makes his tacos with shells, beef, cheese, and that’s it, I was slightly nervous about this flavor but found myself really digging it.   You can also more easily eat them without a beverage handy than the Chipotle variety, since the spice doesn’t linger nearly as long.

I’m often skeptical of attempts to improve an established product I like, and doubly so if they appear to be pursuing the Poochie demographic.   That said, I’m surprised to be able to happily recommend both of these new flavors.   The increased size and thickness is largely window dressing, but they both have chops as far as spiciness, albeit in different ways.   I’m a little more partial to the Smoky Chipotle BBQ flavor myself, but regular visitors to the Bell or a real Mexican restaurant may swing more in favor of the Enchilada Supreme.   Either way though, you’ve got something good on your hands.   Just remember to stretch properly before getting that X-treme; cramped taste buds are NOT cool, man.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz (about 6 chips) – Smoky Chipotle BBQ – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.   Enchilada Supreme – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Doritos JACKED reviews:
FatGuy Food Blog
Junk Food Guy (Smoky Chipotle BBQ)
Junk Food Guy (Enchilada Supreme)

Item: Doritos JACKED (Smoky Chipotle BBQ and Enchilada Supreme)
Price: $4.29 each
Size: 10.5 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Smoky Chipotle BBQ)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Supreme Enchilada)
Pros: Doesn’t wimp out on the spice.   Bolder.   Enchilada Supreme definitely tastes like both cheese and tomato.   Begrudgingly, I’ll admit they are more “extreme” than regular Doritos.   You can really see the spicy crystals or whatever on the Chipotle BBQ kind.   Catch you on the flip side, dudemeisters!
Cons: Irrelevant size increases.   Not exactly cheap.   “JACKED” is not a word typically associated with good things (carjacked, jacked up on steroids, etc).   The description on the bag contains phrases like “mind-blowing” and “Can you handle it?” without an air of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness.   Might lead to you accidentally eating your iPod Nano.

WEEK IN REVIEWS – 4/14/2012

Marmite

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

Marmite-flavored potato chips? What a marvelous way to mar a party. (via Option Pitch and Waffle Crisp)

For those of you who like to put ketchup on everything, there’s now an appropriate ketchup you can use to drown your lamb vindaloo, tandoori chicken, samosa, biryani, and pakodas. (via Foodstuff Finds)

I giggle when I see Mounds candy bars in the store, so I wonder if Hispanic kids giggle when they see this candy on the shelf. (via ZOMG! Candy)

Wendy’s is still testing their Black Label burgers. When I first heard about them, I wondered why they didn’t call them Red Label burgers to match Wendy’s red hair. I later learned “red label” is used to deem something as extremely toxic. After discovering that, I continued to wonder why Wendy’s didn’t call them Red Label burgers. Just kidding, Wendy’s! (via An Immovable Feast)

Arnold Palmer has a half lemonade and half iced tea beverage named after him and Jack Nicklaus now has lemonade named after him. Too bad a particular ice cream company wasn’t named after Walter Hagen. (via BevReview)

Image via flickr user Jacob Rickard / CC BY 2.0

REVIEW: Lay’s Classic BLT Potato Chips

Lay's Classic BLT Potato Chips

I want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine a Classic BLT sandwich.

Picture yourself  on the patio of  a quaint small town cafe in the heat of July, your lips warmed by a cool Coke Zero and your taste buds salivating as the aroma of apple-wood smoked bacon glides into your periphery. A mural of green romaine and juicy ripe tomatoes is hardly contained  between the  toasted white bread, while plump  bacon invites your  carnivorous spirit in this delight  of its fatty yet crisp, salty but sweet, taste of hog heaven.

There’s crunch. There’s smoke. There’s a hint of creaminess and acidity, and there’s relief and sweetness.  It’s enough to make you pause to contemplate whether this is the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten or if you’ve just died and gone to Heaven, all before fulfilling a sudden emotional urge to quote the movie Babe.

That’ll do pig. That’ll do.

Got that image in your head? Good, because that’s the kind of imagination you’ll have to have to taste the Classic BLT flavors and textures  when your sitting on your couch watching reruns of old NCAA football games on ESPN Classic in the wee hours of the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, Lay’s new Classic BLT isn’t bad if you’re looking for a lighter take on sour cream and onion flavors, but when it comes to two of the three letters in the BLT acronym, the new chips miss the mark completely. Ironically, the only letter decently represented is “L,” although I don’t think it makes enough of a difference to qualify as a serving of fruit and vegetables.

Lay's Classic BLT Potato Chips Closeup

I knew my expectations were too high right off the bat when I opened the bag. The chips looked and smelled like sour cream and onion chips, and while the buttermilk tang and heavy onion flavor  weren’t  distractingly overwhelming  in the seasoning, you’d have a hard time picking out bacon and tomato if you hadn’t looked at the bag you were stuffing your face from.

There’s a slight dextrose sweetness and weak tomato powder flavor that lets you know there are hints of tomato, but when it comes to projecting meaty and smokey bacon, this comes off more in the vegan imitation variety than the  smokey-meaty-fatty  All-American hog.

Clearly a potato chip that intends to imitate a food which derives much of its flavor from from its texture is bound for failure, but I was at least expecting something to facilitate my daily helping of fake smoke flavor and salty, finger licking greasiness. Now all I have is breath that smells of sour cream and onion, and a bag of BLT chips that might — keyword, might — taste like a BLT sandwich should I find a worthy BLT sandwich to stick them in.

(Nutrition Facts – 1  ounce (About 15 chips)  –  160 calories,  90 calories from fat,  10 grams of total fat,  1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol,  150 milligrams of sodium,  320 milligrams of potassium,  15 grams of total carbohydrates,  1 grams of dietary fiber,  1 gram of sugars,  2 grams of protein, 10% vitamin C, 2% iron, 4% niacin, and 4% thiamin)

Item: Lay’s Classic BLT Potato Chips
Price:  $4.29
Size:  10 ounces
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating:  5 out of 10
Pros: All natural ingredients. No bacon cooking required.  Classic BLT “crunch.” An excuse to watch Babe. Resistant Starch, son.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like a BLT. Weak tomato and almost no bacon flavor. Lacks lip-smacking fattitude of freshly cooked bacon. Doesn’t count as a serving of fruit and vegetables. Sour Cream and Onion breath.