It’s time to revisit a subject (and maybe the first in a series of similar topics) for discussion here in the chilehead world: what are my favorite spicy snacks in the world?
On previous lists on this very topic in years past, I have included spicy sweets among fiery snacks. I decided to forgo the mention of candies, chocolates, confections, sweet baked items, and caramel sauces and hot syrups on this top 5 rundown, and instead will go for the more salty-based variety of munchies. This includes chips, baked or fried products made from potatoes, corn, wheat, or meat jerky.
As I was compiling this list, I discovered that a few “shoe-ins” unfortunately had to be left out as the manufacturer either stopped production of the item or the company went out of business altogether. It’s sad, but most of you know that the fiery foods industry can be a fickle and tough one to remain successful in, and sometimes the products for whatever reason did not gain the audience they deserved.
So, without further ado, here are what I think are the best chile pepper-laden snacks on the market today in order.
5. Ruffles Deep-Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips
Who would have thought that a major national manufacturer could have made something so bold and flavorful? When I first sampled Ruffles Deep-Ridged Classic Hot Wings Potato Chips, they were a major surprise. The chips have a super thick cut, possess larger-than-normal ridges, and are heavily coated with a sweet and tangy buffalo sauce seasoning. Although these originally stated on the label that they are inspired by “Buffalo Wild Wings,” there is no describable BWW sauce flavoring detectable. That’s quite okay, as they are terrific on their own. Based on the snack chip alone, I awarded these 5 out of 5 stars when I reviewed them (I did knock off a half-star because you do not get your money’s worth for the amount of chips they put in each bag).
4. Jeff’s Famous Habanero Heat Wave Beef Jerky
Do you think spicy beef jerky? Here is some simply amazing stuff. Jeff’s Famous has nailed outstanding jerky snacking with most of their flavors, and Habanero Heat Wave is perhaps their best. They start with tip-top beef the pleases your mouth with excellent chewiness, and have made it even better with slightly sweet tones and plenty of delayed burn from habanero chiles.
3. Deano’s Jalapenos
These are quite a unique little treat, and are perhaps nothing like you’ve eaten before.
Deano’s Jalapenos are not made from corn, wheat, or any other grain product. They are simply jalapeno peppers that are sliced thin, fried to perfection, and sprinkled with cheddar dust. The result of this a light, crispy, crunchy, almost cracker-like consistency with dazzling taste and remarkable snackability. Deanos’ Jalapenos are not just for munching on. They’re also good as a salad topper or in green bean casserole.
The Vermont-based Deano’s has created different flavors like Sea Salt and Ranch, and most are excellent. Yet the ultimate version of these are the orange Cheddar.
Review link: http://www.scottrobertsweb.com/review-deanos-jalapenos-chips
2. Snyder’s of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pieces
I’m not a fan of large, hard pretzels. Yet Snyder’s of Hanover has concocted a brilliant, savory mix of broken-up pretzel pieces and a smooth yet fiery coating of buffalo-style seasoning with their Hot Buffalo Wing Pieces. You might know that a lot of “buffalo” styled chips have a strong vinegar front end that turns me off a bit. Snyder’s of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pieces are thankfully able to circumvent this annoyance and going instead for a blustery, almost “creamy” cayenne pepper flavor that retains a good but of tang. The taste is rich and intense yet still mild enough for a large percentage of non-chilehead snackers.
1. Red Hot Riplets
This is it. The creme de la creme. Fiery snacks don’t get a any more delicious than this.
Old Vienna’s Red Hot Riplets are a St. Louis, Missouri legend, and have garnered quite a reputation for being a completely addictive snack product…one that will leave you exclaiming to the potato chip bag, “oh my God, where have you been all my life?!?”
Red Hot Riplets are a masterwork of the perfect cut and thickness of a ripple-cut chip, outstanding barbecue seasoning, a touch of sweetness, and enough chile pepper spice to please most chileheads. No, they’re not as scorching hot as a snack product like Blair’s Death Rain Chips are. But they more than make up for it in addictability and pure awesomeness. Try Red Hot Riplets, and you will crave these day and night for the rest of your life.
Lamentably, Red Hot Riplets are still mainly a St. Louis area thing, as their distribution area is almost based entirely in Missouri and Southern Illinois. Curious chileheads and snack fanatics across the United States can order these babies off of the Old Vienna, LLC website for delivery. They are also available on Amazon, but as of this writing I discourage order from there as their prices are outrageously high.
What do YOU think??
Do you agree or disagree? Any that I’ve left off the list that you think no chilehead should do without? Let us know about them in the comments section below!