Limited Time Only: Honey Mustard Carolina BBQ Pringles, Memphis BBQ Pringles, Smoky Texas BBQ Pringles, Deciphering Regional BBQ, and the Home Run Derby is Back Back Back Back…
Junk Food Nation, tonight is the MLB Home Run Derby. For the uninitiated, it’s basically a batting practice display/contest where four players from the National League and four players from the American League try to hit hit as many home runs out of the park as possible in a limited number of at-bats. It’s a spectacle I used to love when I was a kid, but after so many years, it’s a little played out. ESPN announcer Chris Berman usually provides the commentary, so you’ll hear plenty of this tonight:
For some, this sound is familiarity and comfort. For others, Berman’s call makes you want to poke your eyes out. For me? It falls somewhere between listening to Oasis’ Champagne Supernova on repeat and watching a YouTube clip that has a 1-second delay between audio and video. Not enough to infuriate you, but JUUUUST enough to make your eye twitch. Enjoy it tonight!
Today’s junk food is a cavalcade of three limited edition Pringles varieties I spotted in Walmart: Honey Mustard Carolina BBQ Pringles, Memphis BBQ Pringles, and Smoky Texas BBQ Pringles!
Three different types of barbecue chips, representing three different regions: The Carolinas, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve often wondered – besides these regions and others like Kansas City, did NO other regions develop a signature BBQ? Why is there no Maine-style BBQ? Lame.
Anyways, I know people get REALLY DEFENSIVE about their region of barbecue, etc., and protective of whose is better blah blah blah. The best barbecue is simple: it’s whatever is in front of my face. Hey now….
The question that is sure to be asked is how do each of these Pringles live up the BBQ flavor from the representative region? Well, let’s get started:
According to Wiki, Honey Mustard Carolina BBQ is more of a South Carolina BBQ (not the traditional vinegar and red pepper flake version of North Carolina.) “In the central part of the state (the Midlands), barbecue is characterized by the use of a yellow ‘Carolina Gold’ sauce, made from a mixture of yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar and other spices.” Let’s see how these Honey Mustard Carolina BBQ Pringles stack up…get it? Stack up?? Guffaaaahhhhh….why aren’t you laughing?
Honey Mustard Carolina BBQ Pringles as soon as I put one in my mouth, I got an immediate smokiness as well as the start of some good mustard flavor. As I chewed good honey mustard flavor continued. Didn’t get any spice, but some of that sweet barbecue flavor did emerge that was distinct from the honey mustard flavor. The swallow ended with a decent sour from vinegar. Basically, the flavor profile was just honey mustard with some added smoke and a tinge of sour – which wasn’t bad at all.
Still unsure of the palm tree as the “i” in the word Carolina on the can, but I’d say this lived up to the flavor profile decently.
BBQ in Texas, according to Wiki, is varied. “Generally speaking the different Texas barbecue styles are distinguished as follows. In the East Texas style the beef is slowly cooked to the point that it is “falling off the bone”, typically over hickory wood, and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce. In the Central Texas style the meat is rubbed with spices and cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood. In the West Texas style the meat is cooked over direct heat from mesquite wood giving it a somewhat bitter taste. The South Texas style features thick, molasses-like sauces that keep the meat very moist.”
Given the emphasis on sauce on the can label, I’m going to assume these Pringles are going after East or South Texas flavoring.
Smoky Texas BBQ Pringles had immediate sweet tomato taste. As soon as I placed a chip in my mouth, the biting tomato flavor came through super strong. There was some definite smoke to this chip, and some sweetness. I couldn’t really discern whether the sweetness was from the molasses, but it definitely added to the already sharp tomato flavor. This definitely tasted the most like the type of barbecue sauce you might find in dispensable pakcets at fast food restaurants – smoky and really sweet and tomato-ey.
Not bad…but not my favorite. It was a little too sweet.
OK, Memphis BBQ, whatchu got? According to this article, Memphis BBQ is known for highly flavorful dry rubs, and (when there is sauce) a thin, sweet, tangy, tomato-ey sauce that is served along side dry ribs. Wiki sort of confirms this description, “‘Dry’ ribs are covered with a dry rub consisting of salt and various spices before cooking, and are normally eaten without sauce. ‘Wet’ ribs are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking.” Wiki also adds that Memphis is known for hosting The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
Memphis BBQ Pringles were as expected – as soon as I placed it in my mouth, it exploded with tangy sweet BBQ flavor. LOTS of flavor, in fact. The first taste was definitely vinegar and smokiness – bam. Then came the tomato, garlic, and more smokiness – Bam! Finally, I got definite hints of mustard and paprika and even more tang – BAM! A REALLY strong BBQ flavor, and definitely my favorite of the bunch! Nice aftertaste of consistent garlic and onion taste. Loved it. This, of all three, had the sufficient amount of smokiness to bring it above the level of just tasting like a sauce, and actually tasting like BBQ.
So, to rank ‘em:
2) (South) Carolina Honey Mustard
3) Texas (Sorry, Texas)
Enough the HR Derby tonight, if you can!
PURCHASED AT: Walmart
COST: $1.59 each
Sincerely, Junk Food Guy