Clancy's Nashville Hot Chicken Kettle Chips (Aldi)

A deflated bag of Clancy's Nashville Hot Chicken Kettle Chips, from Aldi
Nah.

I gotta be honest here: I love me some fried chicken, but I’ve never had it Nashville hot chicken style. This is despite having a popular hot chicken place open up relatively close to our home about 6 or so years ago (maybe longer...it’s amazing how time disrupts all but the most steadfast memories); I made a mental note to check it out, and then, true to form, lost interest a short while later. So I figured I would live vicariously through this bag of hot chicken chips, which is being featured as an Aldi special buy. Let’s crack open the bag and see what we can get into, shall we?

It actually smells pretty good...I could see it being the first smell that wafts into your nostrils as you walk into a fried chicken joint, something I haven’t done in such a long time that I’m actually kind of embarrassed. Especially since I would consider fried chicken to be one of my favorite foods, yet go months without even thinking about it. There’s the inviting hint of spices in the aroma, and you can definitely catch a glimpse of the heat inside your nostrils. It’s hard to say for sure what the experience is going to be like, because it can honestly go either way.

Now it’s time for my first complaint! And, as with most of the critiques I offer up here, it all comes down to personal preference: I definitely prefer my chips ridged (or “wavy”) rather than these flat, uninspiring potato slabs. For some reason, I really dislike the texture of regular chips...they just don’t do anything for me. Again, though, this is all just a matter of personal preference...I’m sure there are some who see this as a positive.

Another downside: for being a “kettle chip”, there isn’t much crunch beyond that of a regular chip. Maybe slightly, but not something I would even come close to considering a “kettle chip” had I not read the packaging beforehand. Again, some may prefer this to the “tooth-breaking” crunchiness of some kettle brands, but the crunch is so weak I would consider it to be more a misnomer than anything else.

The flavor is...interesting. I guess putting anything in chip form begs comparisons to other chips, and I would say the flavor is kind of along the lines of a barbecue, but without the sweetness that usually accompanies such flavors. Does it taste like a hunk of chicken covered in a certain kind of sauce and/or rub (I confess I have no idea what “hot chicken” is even supposed to be)? Not really. It tastes like a potato chip, because that’s what it is. And a very average one at that. The heat quotient is about on par with a typical "mainstream" chip, which is to say there's a noticeable kick of spice to fire up the tastebuds, but neither enough to satiate fans of hot stuff, nor enough to turn off the "average" chip eater.

I wouldn't say I regret trying these, but I also wouldn't say I'm a better man for doing it, either.

Overall: 4/10. Clancy’s serves up an uninspired dud of a chip with this take on the “Nashville hot chicken” recipe. I gotta be honest: I’ve never tried hot chicken, but I’d imagine it’s got to be better than these chips, which kind of taste like barbecue but with slightly more spices, and no sweetness to speak of. It might be a good chip for those who like their snacks hot, but those who like their snacks to pack some flavor to go along with the heat will more than likely be disappointed.

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