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REVIEW: Payday “Flavor of Texas BBQ” Peanut Caramel Bar

Hershey’s has made a big weirdo power move here, and we like it.

Payday "Flavor of Texas BBQ" Peanut Caramel Bar

“Y’all know that’s barbecue flavored, right,” asked the cashier at the gas station, even though there was only one of me. “Oh, yes,” I replied. “I’ve really been looking forward to trying it.”

The clerk, who up until that point had been engaged in some lighthearted conversation regarding bright purple wrist-casts (mine) and dirt bike accidents (hers), replied with a look that can only be described as some middle ground between revulsion and disappointment.

Payday "Flavor of Texas BBQ" Peanut Caramel Bar

And for many, that’s exactly what this new offering from the good people at Hershey’s presents, with their new “Flavor of Texas BBQ” flavored peanut and caramel “Payday” candy bar. From the press release:

Summer [is] a time to gather friends and family around a summertime barbeque. Try something new inspired from the grill with PayDay BBQ Flavored Bars. These new bars combine the tang of bold BBQ-seasoned peanuts surrounding a chewy caramel center for a unique, Texas-inspired flavor.

Now, granted, when I get a craving for the “Taste of Texas,” my mind turns to slow-smoking a huge chunk of beef, staying up all night to baste it in a mopping sauce whose recipe has been passed to down for three generations. Barring that, though, sometimes “a dusty candy bar from the gas station clearance shelf, sold to me by a teenaged runaway with a history of motocross accidents” has to suffice.

I’m a fan of Payday candy bars, as well as the whole “sweet and savory” snacking phenomenon, so I was not immediately repulsed by these. After all, I’ve eaten barbecue-flavored peanuts, and I’ve eat Payday candy bars. Sometimes even in the same day.

Payday "Flavor of Texas BBQ" Peanut Caramel Bar

This candy bar looks almost exactly how I had expected: It’s a standard-issue Payday, only with the “peanut” portion rolled in a dark red barbecue flavoring. There’s that same mysterious log of nougat running through the center, which is very sweet and buttery, but doesn’t overpower the barbecue flavoring on the nuts. Instead, the sweet and salty (garlicky?) BBQ flavoring never gets too pronounced, and the entire strange episode ends up being much more carefully balanced than I would have anticipated.

Payday "Flavor of Texas BBQ" Peanut Caramel Bar

It’s exciting to see large candy manufacturers trying oddball stuff like this, and it’s exciting that there’s a big enough market of adventurous eaters out there to make experiments like this profitable. The “Flavor of Texas BBQ” manages to be neither a Payday that somebody ruined with BBQ flavoring, nor a bag of BBQ peanuts with a weirdly sweet center. Instead, Hershey’s has managed to present an entirely new candy bar, that is pleasantly palate confusing and a lot of fun to try.

Payday "Flavor of Texas BBQ" Peanut Caramel Bar

 

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of “Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road,” as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the ‘Wich, Please food truck, named Eater.com’s “Hottest Restaurant in Maine” for 2015.

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