In the world of chips, I think there is a certain type that is underrated. I am talking about the jalapeno chip. Although this variety has made strides in recent years––you can now pick up a bag at Subway for instance––it still battles for respect.
However, the jalapeno chip doesn’t need to prove anything to me. There is no other crunchy snack I prefer more. The texture, spice, and heat combine to make jalapeno chips my favorite.
But make no mistake about it, not all jalapeno chips are created equal. Because the snack isn’t as mainstream as tortilla chips or cheese curls, there is no national-leading jalapeno chip that leads the way and spawns similar-tasting imitators. Because of this, you have a lot of variance in the jalapeno chip world. In fact, the different tastes are so diverse that you need someone well-versed in the extraordinary chemistry of the snack to properly rank them.
Someone like me.
When my brother and Carrie visited us, she had six bags of jalapeno chips sent to our home (four bags of the same brand, one bag of another, and one bag of another). The package arrived in the mail about the time their plane touched down in Myrtle Beach and the taste test was conducted a few days later when we had some downtime.
I was blindfolded and fed the three different brands of chips. It was quite exhilarating. Now, I understand that 98% of my readers couldn’t give a Dorito about jalapeno chips but please humor me. Let me quickly (and I mean quickly) rank the three brands I taste tested.
1. Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Chips – It was no contest. The thick, crunchy texture of the actual chip stuck out to me at the onset. Then, a second later, the one-of-a-kind bold and spicy taste registered within my palate. About 30 seconds later came the runny nose. It was the classic triple play! Tim’s wins for chip composition, flavor, and heat. It just sucks because this particular brand is only available on grocery shelves in the Pacific Northwest. The rest of the country doesn’t know what it is missing.
2. Kettle Brand Jalapeno Chips – These chips were kettle baked but noticeably thinner than Tim’s. The flavor was good but milder and less smoky than my top choice. If you don’t want to sweat, Kettle Brand is for you.
3. Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Chips – In my opinion, jalapeno chips are meant to be spicy…not sweet. The description on the bag of the chips is no lie, you can definitely taste the sweetness. I was not privy to the brands of chips Carrie had ordered prior to the taste test, so I was actually a little confused at first when I tasted the Cape Cod version. Although not a bad snack to munch on, these flimsy chips were demoted to the third spot in the rankings.
Thank you once again to Carrie for allowing me to be the start of a well-facilitated organized taste test. Also, thank you for gifting us with FOUR party sized bags of Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Chips, there is no better taste of home! Don’t Blink.