North Carolina is famous for barbecue. And this summer, barbecue lovers have a new treat from Asheville, North Carolina-based Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn. Poppy has released its Summer BBQ Series celebrating three regional styles of American barbecue— including a tangy vinegary Carolina barbecue popcorn.
Most snack food companies flavor their snacks with some kind of smoky sweet barbecue flavoring because consumers can’t seem to get enough of that barbecue flavor. Some companies do it well, others not so well. I’ve tasted a lot of barbecue flavored snacks, and a lot of barbecue-flavored popcorn and this is the best version that I have ever tasted. Each regional flavor is distinctive and lives up to the description on the back of the package
The Summer BBQ Series flavors are Tangy Carolina Barbecue, Smoky Texas Barbecue, and Spicy Kansas City Barbecue. A Sweet Honey Barbecue is also available. The Summer BBQ Series is available until August 1, 2021, in retail stores including Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma. You can check Poppy’s store locator to find a store near you.
The Tangy Carolina Barbecue is described as “a tribute to our home state’s vinegar-based barbecue sauce. Tangy, smoky popcorn with a subtly sweet finish.” This was—no surprise—my favorite flavor. The pop of vinegar as you eat the crunchy crisp popcorn is both refreshing and literally a pop of flavor.
The Smoky Texas Barbecue flavor is described as “smoky, spice-rubbed popcorn with a hint of molasses. Close your eyes and you can almost taste the brisket.“ This popcorn flavor is slightly smoky and slightly sweet and reminds me of the classic salt and pepper Texas barbecue.
When I set the Spicy Kansas City Barbecue popcorn out, it was quickly the crowd favorite. This is the universal barbecue flavor of sweet, spicy and savory. The back of the bag describes this flavor as “hickory smoke and cayenne, the spice-rubbed popcorn starts sweet and ends with a kick.” This flavor is addictive similar to other sweet, salty and spicy snacks and it is in perfect balance. It is not too sweet or too smoky and doesn’t taste artificial.
Finally when I poured a bowl of the Sweet Honey Barbecue flavor, one of my friends took a couple of kernels and popped them in his mouth. Without knowing the flavor, he instantly said “oh honey…” The popcorn lives up to the description of “the perfect blend of smoky spices and sweet honey…resulting in a “caramelized barbecue taste.”
If you are craving barbecue in a snack form, this popcorn is a great option and is a fun nibble to serve with drinks. It would also be a welcome gift for your favorite barbecue fanatic. The popcorn comes in large (9 cup) re-sealable bags and the suggested retail is $10.50 a bag.