One of the joys of my job (my real one, not this thing) is that I get to travel around the Pretty Okay State of Oklahoma—saying we’re “great” feels like hubris, plain and simple. And in my travels, I visit restaurants. I do other things, too, but this is a website about eating food, so I figured you weren’t super interested in the other stuff.
The Mother Road Market in Tulsa is not, strictly speaking, a restaurant. It is several restaurants and a bar and some gift shops and a mini golf course and quite a bit else, including a place to purchase The Southern Spiced Snack Company’s line of snacks. When last I was in Tulsa, I picked up some spiced nuts and promptly ate them like a monster.
A few weeks ago, I saw them pop up on Instagram doing a giveaway and I thought, “You know, I sure enjoyed those peanuts,” so I reposted it to my account and wished them the best. More people ought to know about the delicious, locally made snacks.
Well, life is funny. Because even though I was trying to get other people some free food, the nice family behind Southern Spiced wanted to send me some snacks, too. Can I be very honest? I was thrilled. Quarantine* has done a real number on my snack supplies and I was running low.
*Quarantine is what I call the duo of my gaping maw and my ever-expanding waistline.
Because this is a review site, and because they sent me one of everything they make, I decided to take a break from reviewing takeout and dip my toes back into product testing. (When, if ever, normalcy returns to my ALDI shopping trips, I will regale you with more nonsensical reviews of German-discount-grocery products.)
I cannot tell you what is in the Southern Spiced spice blend. I know there’s some ground chili powders from a few hot peppers (more when you get to the “Fire” line of snacks) and what tastes like classic ranch seasoning, but to be honest, it’s like trying to parse the flavor of water coming out of a firehose. For that reason, I’m not going to dive deep on the flavors of these, because I have no idea.
Is it my job to have an idea? Yes. And I have already filed a complaint against myself for not having an idea. We (me and I) meet with HR later this week to discuss a plan. It’s been so stressful, I’ve been eating lots of snacks.
These are a seasonal snack for Spring 2020, so I’m not sure if or how long they’ll stick around, but my guess is if you want some, get them before summer. Seasoned seeds are the only Southern Spiced snack that requires a second container. Everything else you can eat until the bag is empty and then throw away the bag. These will require either a) a receptacle in which to spit shells or b) a complete lack of shame about having sunflower seed shells all over your carpet.
These are lovely little pretzels sticks that are, again, absolutely shellacked with seasoning. The zip-bag keeps everything nice and fresh and, by stacking vertically, Southern Spiced really packs a bunch of these into each bag, which is nice. I have eaten a lot of pretzels sticks with only salt for a seasoning and these are better.
Oyster crackers don’t get nearly enough love, especially in the realm of snacking. Sure, they make every bowl of clam chowder better, but they shine brightest when someone at a Christmas party drizzles them in butter, shakes on a ton of seasoning, and bakes them. The reason I like these better is because I don’t have to be invited to a party to enjoy them. And, yeah, that’s an issue for me.
If you don’t like spicy peanuts, you don’t like America. Don’t blame me! It’s in the Constitution you haven’t read yet! And you don’t want to get peanut spices all over the Constitution, so just eat these and go back to only reading this blog. Yes. Now I have you where I want you.
Texture-wise, I prefer the peanuts to the almonds. There’s still a nice crunch with the peanuts, but the almonds are a bit harder. That’s not a big deal when you’re eating just almonds, but when you get them in the Trail Blazer mix (see below), the disparity between these nuts and the rest of the ingredients is incongruous. But if you think I’m not also going to recommend the mix you’re insane, because it’s so good.
Here’s my issue with the sliced almonds, and I can already tell you it makes no sense, re: what I just said. Sliced almonds have way too much surface area, so the seasoning gets really intense. It’s good seasoning, but I can only take so much before my taste buds are blown out like the factory-installed speakers on a 1991 Mazda 626 after SOMEONE decided to crank the volume on my Digital Underground cassette tape.
This mix includes pretzels, crackers, peanuts, and almonds. I have two complaints. Complaint the first: The mouth of the bag is too small to pull a giant fistful out at a time. Complaint the second: I finished it too quickly. Even though the almonds throw me off a bit, this is still so tasty and satisfying. The added heat component is very welcome here. It’s comparatively mild to some of the Fire line, but no less delicious.
These are marked at six “flames” of spice and, while they won’t get you with the first couple, you’ll definitely start feeling it by the end of your first handful. The flavor does lean a bit more heavily on the chili powder, but it’s not incredibly different from the regular peanuts. What you’re getting here is heat—a pleasant heat that only occasionally grows into discomfort, at least in my case, but that’s the difference.
Even though these are rated at five “flames,” I felt these spicy pretzel sticks were hotter than the peanuts because they didn’t have that fat from the nuts to help tame the flame. If you want the heat, but not an endless feedback loop of ever-increasing fire, consider a sour cream- or avocado-based dip.
At six “flames” and not much fat, these really can bring the pain. But it’s also your best bet for truly tasting the seasoning, because oyster crackers are kind of bland by nature, and it’s much easier to pick out bits and bobs of ingredients. Is that...dry mustard? Mayhaps. Whatever, you’ll demolish the bag because they’re so addictive either way.
With so many of us still practicing social distancing, it can be really easy to rely on only those snacks available at big box retailers. The Southern Spiced Snack Company is based in Tulsa. They can ship you a box of really tasty savory snacks and you’re still eating local like a champ. You did it, buddies! You kept a local business going while also satisfying your intense snack cravings.
And that, I do believe, deserves a snack.