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Doritos' New Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chips—Taste-Tested!

There have been some truly wild Doritos flavors over the years—this one is a safe bet.

There's a new Doritos flavor in town, folks. OK, well, actually not in my town, as it turned out.

Following the beloved snack brand's Jan. 5 announcement of its new Sweet & Tangy BBQ variety, I embarked on a long and initially fruitless search for these tantalizing chips. I went to Target, Stop & Shop, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and several local gas stations, and all to no avail. I scoured Amazon's and Walmart's sites, and no-go. 

Finally, I spotted the new Doritos flavor for sale on and I pounced, spending $5.59 on a bag of the chips, plus $4.99 for shipping. Five days later, the new chips were all mine.

I was excited to see how this latest variety would fit into the long line of Doritos history, which dates back farther than you may think. In fact, Doritos were created way back in 1966 by Frito-Lay vice president of marketing Arch West, who was inspired by toasted tortillas he encountered while on vacation in Southern California, according to The Washington Post. And in the intervening decades, Doritos have become one of the most popular snack chips in America.

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Given the ubiquity of Doritos today and the vast range of flavors in which the chips are available, it's hard to imagine that for two decades, there were only two flavors of Doritos available, per Snack History: these being Taco and, from 1972 on, Nacho Cheese. Cool Ranch (later Cooler Ranch) joined the mix in 1986, and then, in the 1990s, the brand began to introduce new flavors (and even new shapes) much more aggressively.

It's there in that heady post-Cold War, pre-9/11 era that I became a Doritos fan. Once a week, on the way home from school, I was allowed to stop off at a local 7-Eleven and get one type of candy, one beverage, one foodstuff (think taquito), and one bagged snack. Almost without fail, that snack would be Doritos. This was the time in which Doritos was trying out new shapes, like the 3D chip, and flavors ranging from Jalapeño & Cheddar to Salsa Verde (both triumphs) and some missteps, as well, like Chester's Cheese, which had a Cheeto tie-in. Overall, it was a good time to be eating Doritos.

There have been some truly wild Doritos flavors released over the years — After Dark Last Call Kebab and Collisions Chicken Sizzler Zesty Salsa, for instance — and there have been even bigger misses, such as the Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger, which the late Mr. West apparently spat out after tasting, according to his obituary.

As one who may not eat that many fried and flavor-dusted tortilla chips these days but who has a long appreciation for the rich history (and flavor) of the Doritos brand, let me tell you that the new limited edition Doritos Sweet & Tangy BBQ is no misstep.

At first bite, you get that unmistakable Doritos taste: the salty, savory/umami flavor lurking underneath all of the brand's chips. Next, you get the unmistakable sweet and smoky barbecue taste–notes of brown sugar and molasses, vinegar, a vague tomato hint, and what we can only call tang. And hey, when we look at the ingredients, what do we find among the corn and MSG and whatnot? Yep, molasses, paprika and what appears to be a heavier dose of tomato powder than the standard Nacho Cheese variety.

It's not until your mouth is empty (likely after having eaten six to eight chips in rapid succession, if not all at once) that one detects a touch of peppery heat. It's not a burn like you get with a hot sauce, but it's a pleasantly lasting warmth. 

If you like Doritos in general, then you are likely going to like these chips. And if you like Doritos and you like that quintessential barbecue flavor, plus a bit of heat, it's almost a sure thing.

Which is good news for Doritos, because the brand is betting big on these chips, even featuring Sweet & Tangy BBQ chips in a commercial to air during Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12the 23rd time Doritos has been featured in a Super Bowl ad.

In my book, these chips were worth the effort, and if I do spot a bag on a store shelf, I'll be grabbing it. Would I hit up half a dozen stores and pay twice the MSRP for an online order for another bag? Probably not. But if you're a tried-and-true Doritos fan, you probably should, because these are "limited time" chips, according to the packaging. Who knows if they'll ever come back?

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven