Lay’s is the savory equivalent of Oreos. Their desire to pump out new flavors of potato chips seems like a compulsion. The difference between the two is that, while Oreo just goes straight off the rails, Lay’s always seems like they need a theme or a reason to do this. See: the extensive Taste of America rollout last year, the Passport to Flavor campaign, and of course, the Do Us a Flavor contests, where they basically said, “You do the work, we’ll sit back and judge.”
This time around, the excuse they’ve
decided to make is…music! They’ve teamed up with (read: paid) Bebe
Rexha to make an all-new song that you can only find by buying a bag
of Turn Up the Flavor Lay’s, or probably just take a picture of the
code on the package.
Apparently this song mixes pop, hip hop
and rock, which is such an accomplishment that my hat just flew off
my head. Also, full disclosure: this is literally the first time I
have heard the name Bebe Rexha. I am very old.
Because press releases are completely
fucking bonkers, here’s an excerpt straight from Lay’s:
“Like flavor, music has the power
to elicit strong emotions such as joy, passion and nostalgia,”
said Katie Ceclan, senior director of marketing, Lay’s. “Those
emotions can be heightened even further when you pair the right
flavor and music together – and that’s exactly what we sought to do
with the ‘Turn Up the Flavor’ program. As a brand that loves to
delight our fans, we are excited to bring them two things they love –
the uniquely delicious flavors of Lay’s and the incredible sound of
Bebe Rexha. Our limited-time flavors paired with exclusive, new songs
from Bebe each create a customized sensorial experience for our fans
to taste, listen and enjoy.”
Man, Katie really took us on a journey,
there. I now believe Lay’s has power over all
my emotions, and I will eat them much more cautiously. The last thing
I want to do is start weeping uncontrollably at a job interview
because I had a bag of Sour Cream and Onion on the way there.
That’s probably not
a good idea in the first place. You don’t want stank onion breath at
an interview. What’s wrong with you?
descriptions of these flavors in the press release are bonkers,
so I will review them from least to most crazy. You’ll see what I
Lime and Sea Salt
tangy and vibrant flavors of Lay’s Wavy Electric Lime and Sea Salt
are energetic and upbeat like the fun-filled melodies and lyrics of
Pop Music that you can’t help but keep on repeat.”
Okay. Cool. We’re one tequila shot away from a rollicking good time
with these flavors. Although how well do they vibe with a potato
The first chip is
a real lime punch to the tongue, which I have to say, is not exactly
appealing. Lime and potato aren’t a great duo if you ask me. It’s not
a truly authentic lime flavor, but it’s also not candy lime, which is
As you cram more
chips into your mouth the lime flavor fades and becomes more of a
general tangy sensation that works well with the sea salt on the
chip. I didn’t notice it as distinctly “sea” salt, however.
But the tang/salt
combo works well. The only problem is that if you stop eating them,
even for a minute, the lime flavor comes back and reminds you that it
sucks. The obvious solution is to keep eating the chips until the
entire bag is gone. Voila!
Cooked Classic Beer Cheese
Kettle Cooked Classic Beer Cheese is a bold, exciting flavor that
matches the incredible feeling you get listening to Rock Music as the
lead singer’s vocals lead into the first riff of the power chords and
you anxiously await the band to take it to the next level.”
Okay maybe lay off the amp pedal a little here, Lay’s. You sound like
a legally-stoned dad at a Van Halen concert. Although, appropriately,
so does this flavor. I feel prepared to be vaguely satisfied but
At first I thought
these tasted pretty much like a normal cheese kettle chip, but then
there was a bitter undertone that I could see representing the hoppy
taste of beer. It was a surprise flavor that wasn’t exactly welcome,
even though it did keep with the spirit of the Classic Beer Cheese
If you already
don’t like beer, you’re not going to like these chips, and even if
you do like beer I’m not entirely sure “bitter” should be a
flavor profile in a potato chip. Although if you’re already drinking
a beer, these might pair well.
While I don’t see
beer chips taking off as the newest trend, an attempt was made, which
is more than I expected out of this flavor. You always leave me
Flamin’ Hot and
Dill Pickle Remix
no arguing that if Hip Hop was a flavor, it would be Flamin’ Hot! The
harmony of distinct beats and spicy lyrics create the same alluring
experience as uniting two fiercely loved flavors – Lay’s Flamin’
Hot and Dill Pickle. Bringing two powerhouses together to create
perfect harmony, rapper and songwriter Saweetie drops a guest verse
in Bebe’s Hip Hop remix that takes the heat to the next level.”
Listen. While I enjoy the genre of music, I have no authority to deny
or confirm that Flamin’ Hot is, indeed, the hip hoppest of flavors.
And is combining Flamin’ Hot with Dill Pickle really an “alluring
experience”? Is Dill Pickle even fiercely loved as a Lay’s flavor?
All I can do is tell you my opinion.
disclosure: I feel like I’ve vaguely heard the name Saweetie before,
but could tell you absolutely nothing about them. I’m just so
My nostrils were
completely pickle-blasted upon opening the bag, which I did not
expect. Even more surprising was how well Flamin’ Hot and Dill Pickle
played together. The taste of what I can only call “hot” (Flamin’
Hot really is just a flavor unto itself) and the mostly
vinegar-driven sourness just work.
know it sounds gross. I thought it would be gross. Wait, am I the
only one who thought it would be gross? Come to think of it, hot
pickles exist and are seemingly popular. Bringing heat to a
vinegar/garlicky combo doesn’t sound so crazy when I give it a second
converted me, Lay’s. While Classic Beer Cheese comes out the surprise
winner in uniqueness, Flamin’ Hot and Dill Pickle Remix takes first
place in taste. Sorry Electric Lime and Sea Salt, you’re just kind of
hanging out in the background, which is ironically representative of
me at any concert.
And now for our new segment, Behind the Food: It didn’t take much looking into the Frito-Lay chip machine to find a little bit of dirt swept under the rug: Just last May, Frito-Lay settled a three-year wage, meal, and rest dispute with their California truck drivers to the tune of $6.5 million. Turns out Frito-Lay was supposed to be paying their drivers and they weren’t! I guess they got mad that truck drivers actually wanted to stop driving at some point during the day. Hell yeah to these workers for getting the wages they deserved in the first place!
Lay’s Turn Up the Flavor Chips
Score (Wavy Electric Lime and Sea Salt): 2.5 out of 5 fun-filled melodies
Score (Kettle Cooked Classic Beer Cheese): 2.5 out of 5 legally-stoned dads
Score (Flamin’ Hot and Dill Pickle Remix): 4 out of 5 hip hoppest beats
Size: 7 1/2-8 oz. bags
Purchased at: Safeway
Nutritional Quirk: Classic Beer Cheese does list “Beer Solids” as an ingredient, which includes both hops and barley. I don’t want to know how you get beer solids.
This is probably gonna be a short one, mostly because if you’re an American (or pretty much anywhere else?) you know what a McMuffin tastes like, and also I really just wanted to try this and figured the pictures would be worth it. Given the amount of salty meat on this thing, I’m basically documenting my death.
And yeah, you read that right – I took the egg off after the original picture. Unfaithful to the review? Maybe. But I hate eggs, I’ve never liked eggs, and I’m not going to start eating eggs for you now, especially not in weird McDonald’s form. Listen, I’m getting pretty loosey-goosey with this website, and I’m comfortable with that. Folks, we’re all just trying to get by, here.
Here’s our big, salty boy. Look at him go. Here’s how the McDonald’s website describes the sandwich: “Each one is a tower of two sausage patties, two slices of melty American cheese, egg and crispy bacon, all sandwiched between your choice of a toasted English muffin, sweet and savory griddle cakes or a buttermilk biscuit.”
Oh yeah, you can get it in biscuit or McGriddle form, too. I forgot to tell you that. Again, loosey-goosey. I’ve never tried a McGriddle, but I would imagine it might work well with the Triple Breakfast Stack. Some sweetness to cut through just layer after layer of salt. But I don’t roll that way, baybee.
Fortunately, as you can tell, I did not die eating the Triple Breakfast Stack. In fact, as I chewed, I realized that McD’s had basically done me a favor – every time I’m eating a Sausage McMuffin, I wish I was eating two Sausage McMuffins, but that’s a little too much food for me.
But by basically slapping two of them together, adding some bacon and subtracting some carbs, they made my wish come true. I was able to finish my Triple Stack and even fit in the obligatory hash brown (if you don’t get a hash brown when you order a McDonald’s breakfast you are a monster), although that pushed me over the edge from satisfied to a bit stuffed.
As for the taste? I mean, it’s everything you would expect. I love the double sausage. I think having two slices of cheese was wise, because it kind of lubricates everything, and for some reason I love McDonald’s shitty, shitty cheese, but only in this application.
I thought the bacon would be a throwaway addition, but it added a different texture from the sausage that I found welcome. It’s not particularly crunchy – standard cruddy fast food bacon, here – but it added a bit of difference from the softness of the sausage and a bit of smoky flavor.
It’s tough to grade McDonald’s Triple Breakfast Stack. On the one hand, it’s fantastic! They took all the things I inexplicably love about McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin and turned it into the sandwich I always wanted but never knew I did. Love it! Triple Stacks for days!
On the other hand, it’s just so very…ordinary. McD’s took a page from the Taco Bell playbook and made a new menu item out of all the stuff they already had laying around. It looks pretty XTREME on the surface, but in reality this baby has less calories than two Sausage Egg McMuffins. (780 vs. 960.) It’s got practically half the carbs. It’s got less sodium. It’s objectively healthier than two of those little guys! Hold on while I start my “Triple Breakfast Stack is a health food” campaign.
So yeah, it’s pretty boring. But it’s also a limited time offer, and that makes me sad. It’s my ultimate breakfast sandwich come to life! I guess it’s time to start a change.org campaign along with that health food campaign. I’m gonna be busy!
McDonald’s Triple Breakfast Stack McMuffin (With No Egg)
Score: 4 out of 5 get that gross-ass weird egg thing out of my McMuffin’s
Size: 1 sandwich
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Nutritional Quirk: Pretty much covered that in the body of the review. Healthier than two Sausage McMuffins. And it’s even cheaper! (A Sausage McMuffin with Egg is $3.32)
It’s a problem I’m sure we’ve all had while camping – you wake up, unzip your sleeping bag, and your tummy starts a-rumblin’. The sun has just crested the horizon, and it just feels too early for beef jerky. What’s an outdoorsperson to do? You sigh and reach for the GORP, but your mind is on that savory slab of protein.
Well fret no more, intrepid adventurers! Jack Link is finally here to provide you with the energy you need in the A.M. while still honoring the sacred flavors of the breakfast hours. Introducing Jack Link’s line of A.M. dried meat products!
Okay, so these aren’t exactly new. They premiered about a year ago. But I kept passing by them in the store and wondering if they really lived up to breakfast meat’s high standards. However, something in me couldn’t bear to bring breakfast-themed jerky to the cashier, so I bought them online. (There’s also Hot & Spicy Sausage and Brown Sugar & Maple Bacon, but I figured I’d stick with the original releases. Plus I couldn’t get them online.)
Bacon jerky is a product that’s been around for a while, but sausage…jerky? Can it even be called that? That’s new. Shelf-stable sausage is old hat (shout out to Hickory Farms, my Christmas homies) but it’s never been marketed as something you’d eat for breakfast. Let’s see if Jack Link has broken ground in the world of dried meats.
Jack Link’s A.M. Breakfast Applewood Smoked Bacon
I have not, surprisingly, ever had bacon jerky. I have, unsurprisingly, tried that “fully cooked” bacon that doesn’t even need to be refrigerated. You’re urged to put it in the microwave, but I’m guessing you could eat it right out of the box if you wanted to reach that next level of sadness. The level that comes below buying a box of pre-cooked bacon.
JL’s Applewood Smoked Bacon has the exact same flavor and almost the same texture as that bacon, but it’s less sad because you’re supposed to be eating it straight out of the bag. The pieces are shorter and more bite-sized than an actual strip of bacon, which is convenient for snacking.
If you’re looking for a crispy treat here, you can throw that straight out the window. We’re in fast food country with Jack Link’s Breakfast Bacon. The pieces are limp and chewy, just like every Burger King burger you’ve ever purchased. However, they’ve got a great smoky flavor and distinct real bacon taste – there’s no artificial “bakon” fuckery happening here.
So JL AM BAS Bacon is kinda sad, but at the end of the day it’s bacon, with all the flavor bacon provides, just not a crisp texture. I’m very much over the bacon craze, but I still love bacon, and if I were taking a morning hike, I’d consider this as an alternative to beef jerky.
Jack Link’s A.M. Breakfast Original Sausage
Now, these little shrively guys are an entirely different beast. Unlike their fresh counterparts, they have a leathery outer texture that gives you some assurance that they are shelf stable, but they are pretty much the same size as a regular breakfast sausage.
There was a little snap when I bit into one, and the texture was like a cross between a breakfast sausage and a Slim Jim, which was a weird crossover. I expect my breakfast sausage to have some give, but this was definitely more chewy, which I assume was a necessary side effect of transforming a usually fresh product into something you can throw in your backpack.
There’s a ton of different sausage flavors out there, and the breakfast link is a distinct one. I was surprised at how spot-on Jack Link’s nailed it here. While you might be getting a bit of a texture whiplash, the seasoning of the two-bite links is pretty good. I definitely felt like I was eating breakfast dried meat and not lunch dried meat.
Overall, Jack Link’s Breakfast sausage and bacon offerings are a mixed bag. Out in the middle of nowhere and craving a diner breakfast? Floppy bacon and weird sausage will give you a nice protein pick-me-up while you sip your shitty camping coffee.
Watching the inevitable SVU marathon in your underpants and craving a snack? Do yourself a favor, move your body, and sizzle up some real strips. Your house will smell great. If rolling around some breakfast links in a pan seems too difficult (I’ve been there), those fully-cooked Jimmy Dean sausage patties aren’t bad in a pinch.
Also, don’t be like me. Read the packaging. “Refrigerate after opening,” it says, defying all the logic of dried meats and also their usefulness. My husband opened up the package of sausages about a week after I’d opened them to review them and he was like, “Is it okay that there is black goo in here?”
No, that is never okay. So if you get lost in the woods, guess you better eat these first.
Jack Link’s A.M. Breakfast Original Sausage and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Score (Bacon): 2.5 out of 5 GORPs
Score (Sausage): 2 out of 5 “refrigerate after opening”s
Price: $3.98 each
Size (Bacon): 2.5 oz. bag
Size (Sausage): 2.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: amazon.com
Nutritional Quirk: If finished off both of these pouches at once, you’d have a fortifying 59 grams of protein in you! You also probably wouldn’t feel very good. Also, the sausage proudly proclaims that it’s made with applesauce, which I don’t understand. I tasted no applesauce, nor did I want to.