Today’s little gem comes from a young lady in Indiana. I’m not sure if she loves me or hates me, based on this “gift” she shipped to my mailbox. Herr’s doesn’t distribute in my neck of the woods, so I never would have had the chance to…experience these chips without outside help. I wouldn’t have even known they existed. According to my source, she spotted these in the vending machine at her work, and thought I might “enjoy” them. First of all, I want to see where someone works when they have Baby Back Ribs potato chips in their vending machines. Out of all the places I’ve worked, I’ve never seen anything that interesting in a vending machine. I’d be lucky to spot some Chili Cheese Fritos or Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles. Most of the rest was all blandsville, all the time. I probably would have had an autistic freakout if I’d ever seen Baby Back Ribs in a machine. My fingers wouldn’t have been able to fumble a dollar bill into the slot fast enough.

As if the flavor itself wasn’t enough, look at that package! Crazy font! Barbeque sauce splurts everywhere! Wait, that doesn’t look like barbeque sauce, that looks like…BLOOD! And what’s this now…

Finger Lickin’ Rib Flavor Apron! As my friend/chip donor commented, this is quickly turning from an innocent little bag of chips into some sort of serial killer crime scene. I imagine Dexter Morgan putting up plastic tarp all around a dark shack in the middle of nowhere, wearing this apron as he does his dirty work. Blood spatters everywhere as he hacks up his latest victim. Those ribs on the package look sort of ominous, too. More sickly than inviting. If Dexter were a cannibal, I think he’d be disappointed with this rack of human.

My cat and I have differing levels of desire to eat these chips.

After my last adventure with things that should not be meat, in addition to my previous experience with rib chips, I’m more than a little trepidatious about Herr’s Baby Back Rib Potato Chips. But, there’s nothing left to do but dive in. Let’s see if I need to take a little trip east to visit my friend, armed with an apron, a butcher knife, and a copy of How to Serve Man.

Upon opening the bag, the smell is encouraging. And by that I mean, it doesn’t smell at all like an animal died and was sealed in a foil pouch. It smells mostly like pretty much any other barbecue-flavored chip on the market. The chips are ridged, a little less tightly than Ruffles, with a light coating of red flavor powder. I noticed that these seem to be much less intensely powdered than a typical Frito-Lay chip.

I took a quick break (one might call it a stalling mechanism, but hey) to visit Herr’s website. From the looks of it, all, or at least most, of Herr’s chips are ridged. That’s a boring fact. Here’s a less boring fact: Herr’s is just as awesomely batshit with their flavors as Frito-Lay is. Creamy Dill Pickle! (Really? Creamy dill pickle?) Kansas City Prime Steak! Old Bay! An entire line of “Snack Friez”! That’s it, I’m moving to Indiana. I’m uprooting my entire life to move somewhere that sells Herr’s potato chips. The actions of a responsible adult, to be sure.

While I’d love to get my greasy little hands on all those flavors, what I have in my possession are Baby Back Rib potato chips. Which, oddly, are not listed on Herr’s website as a flavor they produce. The logical conclusion is that my friend has a magical vending machine at her work that is producing its own flavors of Herr’s chips. More updates as events warrant.

Enough stalling, let’s eat these chips.

I have to say, I can’t decide if I’m disappointed or relieved that I could not detect any creepy meat flavor in these chips. A little bit of both? I guess Herr’s hasn’t discovered whatever dark secret Doritos has that has given them the ability to make chips taste like meat. That said, Herr’s Baby Back Ribs didn’t exactly taste like a typical barbeque chip, either. They did have properties of a typical barbeque chip, including that little bit of sweetness they all seem to have, but they also had an extra depth of flavor. They seemed a little more smoky than your typical BBQ chip, and they also had a garlicky undertone that was quite tasty. They were also super salty, which I loved. The chips themselves were the perfect thickness and texture.

What started as dread quickly turned into enjoyment while I was eating Herr’s Baby Back Ribs Potato Chips. While Herr’s failed to actually make their chips taste like ribs, they totally succeeded in creating a barbecue-flavored chip that stands out in a world already stuffed with chips of that flavor. The smokey undertone, the garlic, the extra salt and the texture of the chip all worked together to make this one of the best BBQ chips I’ve had so far. If you’re going have a cartoon apron telling the world your chips taste like ribs, and they actually don’t, that’s a marketing fail. That said, the taste of these chips is a total win. I guess my serial killing spree through Indiana will have to wait.

  • Score: 4 out of 5 bloody aprons
  • Price: Free, or probably about 75 cents from your local vending machine that makes its own flavors
  • Size: 1 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: My mailbox via someone’s work vending machine
  • Nutritional Quirks: The first ingredient listed is “choice” potatoes. To think of all the un-choice potato chips I’ve eaten…