At FinanceBuzz, we love two things: side hustles and snacks. Earlier this year, we set out to combine them by starting a nationwide search for the perfect Buc-ee’s snacks taste tester.* We know people take their Buc-ee’s seriously, so we wanted a true expert who could help guide our readers on their next road trip.
What we did
- A few months ago, we put out a job listing for a Buc-ee’s superfan to taste test more than 20 of the convenience store chain’s most iconic foods.
- We wanted our superfan’s research to guide our readers on the must-have snacks for rookie Buc-ee’s shoppers.
- We offered $1,000, plus the cost of snacks, for our chosen Buc-ee’s Bud-ee taste-tester.
- After receiving more than 200,000 applications, we selected a local morning radio show host from the Dallas-Fort Worth area as our official Buc-ee’s Bud-ee.
Meet our Buc-ee’s Bud-ee
After reviewing more than 200,000 (yes, really) applications, we selected Tara Ward, of Dallas, Texas, as our Buc-ees Bud-ee taste-tester. Tara is a lifelong Texan (the home of Buc-ee’s) and a local radio show host in Dallas for 99.5 The Wolf.
To say Tara is a Buc-ees superfan is an understatement. Every road trip Tara and her family take starts with a printed map that includes markers of every Buc-ee’s location on the route. Actually, Tara even marks locations off her route. She recently traveled more than an hour in the wrong direction just to try a new Buc-ee’s store.
What sold us? Tara’s application made one thing clear: To her, Buc-ee’s isn’t just about tasty snacks — it’s about using Buc-ee’s to share experiences and make memories with her family. She painted a picture with her words (and obvious enthusiasm) that was as gorgeous as a Texas sunset.
“Have you even tried their jelly beans? Continuous bites of sugary love to keep the entire car grinning. Their iced tea is truly a golden kiss of Texas love that keeps you happy and focused as you travel down the road!! Pick me!!! Pick me!!!!!!”
So what about the actual taste test? We asked Tara to try a list of Buc-ee’s most iconic foods, along with some that she thought you should know about, for a final list of 22 top-rated snacks.
22 iconic Buc-ee’s snacks, ranked by our expert
Buc-ee’s only has locations in a few Southern states, so shoppers outside that area won’t have many bites at the apple (pardon the pun), to choose from the hundreds of snacks available at the roadside haven.
To guide first-time Buc-ee’s visitors, we categorized our Buc-ee's Bud-ee’s evaluations into categories based on “must-buy”-ness. Tara also shared her tasting notes and impressions as she ate her way through Buc-ee’s snack aisles.
Worth making a trip for
1. Three Meat Sandwich
I usually don’t like combining my flavors, but walking into Buc-ee's and choosing just one of their freshly smoked meats is like picking a favorite child! This combo of sausage, turkey, and brisket is next-level scrumptious, and all the flavors combined will make your face smile! It’s TONS of food, and I could only eat half!
2. Southwest Salad
OK, so you can’t drive and eat a salad, but if you’re a passenger (or making a pit stop), then this is a home run! Super-fresh veggies, roasted corn, onions, tomatoes and super-crisp lettuce. Freshly grated cheese! The chipotle salad dressing takes this to the next level, and it’s big enough to share!
3. Salt Water Taffy
Buc-ee's Salt Water Taffy is a walk down memory lane. The peppermint, banana, and cinnamon are my favorites, and I love that they sell the bags in individual flavors, too. I think the assorted bag would make for fun road-trip chatter as each passenger can vote on (and argue about) their favorites.
4. Fruity Pebbles Rice Crispy Treat
I have to admit, this was a total impulse buy at the register, but wowza am I glad I went for it! This is the most delicious rice crispy treat I’ve ever had. The fruity cereal takes this to the next level — it’s marshmallowy and chewy and one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever had!
5. Hot Roasted Pecans
Editor’s note: For this snack review, Tara tagged in her radio partner, Ryan, due to a nut allergy.
I gotta tell you … those Buc-ee’s cinnamon pecans are like little bits of heaven! Light cinnamon glaze and the perfect crunch. So much deliciousness, they really oughta be illegal.
If you love fudge as much as I do, hold on to your hats! Buc-ee’s is the mecca of fudge! They had 22 flavors last time I was there, and the Chocolate Walnut Fudge is the best! Think tins full of this making everyone smile at Christmas!
7. Cake Balls
Why is bite-sized always better? First of all, these are very big bites. Buc-ee’s cake balls are bomb! Super fresh! Moist! I’m pretty sure they hid some smiles inside. The Double Chocolate Cake Ball is dreamy and the sprinkle of salt on top takes it over the edge! The Italian Cream Cake Ball is favorite-Italian-restaurant good! I’m not a red velvet fan, but my red velvet-loving girls couldn’t get enough of the Red Velvet Cake Ball.
8. Buc-ee's Jerky
Buc-ee's Jerky Counter has a legit Texas-sized selection of flavors! There were so many that I had Collin behind the counter choose his favorite for me to try. I had the Jalapeño Honey Beef Jerky, and it’s delish! I like it spicy and the level in this jerky was perfect. The texture was smooth, so I didn’t have to strain my neck to tear off my bites. The kick of jalapeño flavor sticks around after you eat it, so you might want to have some Buc-ee's tea around if you aren’t used to spice. I also tried the Bohemian Garlic, and it was a tiny step away from eating a fancy restaurant steak. Chewy, salty, and it left me smiling!
9. Beef Burrito
If your family is craving Tex-Mex, but you don’t have time to pull over for a sit-down, this is a total home run! You will literally be checking the backseat for the chef who made this up for you. It’s giant, and the beef-to-bean ratio perfectly complements the flavors. This is a yes that will fill you up before you even finish it!
10. Beaver Tots
Hi, my name is Tara and potatoes are my love language! Beaver Tots are my next boyfriend!
- Crispy & Crunchy ✔
- Piping Hot ✔
- Perfect level of Salty ✔
And how do I know Buc-ee's wants me to be in 💙 with Beaver Nuggets forever? They provide their fresh ketchup in a cup for dipping! No silly little packets that end up all on the floorboard of my car!
11. Beaver Nuggets
When you were a little kid, did your parents throw some dry cereal in a bag as a road-trip treat? Beaver Nuggets carry me back to those good memories! Crispy little puffs of yum with the perfect bit of sweetness! They are buttery with a slight hint of waffle flavor and guaranteed to make you grin!
12. Beaver Chips
Is there anything more delicious than a freshly made potato chip? I think not! Beaver Chips are hot, crispy, salty, and all that is perfect in this world. I pretty much ate the entire cup before we got out of the parking lot. How far until the next Buc-ees?
13. Banana Pudding
Buc-ee's is famous for its food in a cup because they know you are on the road. I didn’t know if I would be excited about this, but the pudding-to-vanilla-wafers ratio is absolutely perfect. The banana was just sliced fresh, the pudding was perfectly creamy, and the dollop of whipped cream on top held its shape. Perfect level of sweet, and as rich as a country musician with 27 number-one albums!
Worth a stop, if it’s on your way
14. Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
Buc-ee's salsa, where have you been all my life? It has never occurred to me to try their salsa, but this is absolutely scrumptious! Dare I say, best salsa I have ever had? I cannot stop eating it! It has the perfect level of heat and a unique flavor combo with the avocado and tomatillos. I will never show up to a party again without this dip in my bowl.
15. Sausage on a Stick (with Tortilla)
We can all agree if you’re road-tripping with the right people it’s like a festival of fun, right? Buc-ee’s sausage on a stick is delicious, easy to eat, and reminds me of childhood festivals. Designate one of your passengers to be the clown, and you’ve got a party in the car!
16. Sausage Cheese Jalapeno Kolache
This big-as-your-head kolache is nice and spicy, and it has the perfect amount of cheese oozing out with every bite. I wasn’t super impressed by the bread, but I wouldn’t push your hand away if you brought one of these to the car!
17. Lemon Crisps
This is a fun, crispy little treat in the perfect-sized container for sharing. The crisps aren’t too sweet, which is totally my jam, but I would have loved a little bit more lemon.
18. Cream Cheese Kolache
Growing up in Texas, we have access to made-from-scratch kolaches when we go through the city of West, Texas. This is a nice little treat. It tastes more like the best donut I’ve ever had than a kolache, with the perfect amount of cream cheese, and soft fresh dough!
Save for your next trip
19. Taco Reaper Sauce
I like my breakfast like I like my boyfriend, spicy and hot! This was a tangy little addition to my eggs and avocados, but not as spicy as I thought it would be. I’ll finish off this bottle, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for another.
20. Triple Mix Popcorn
We eat popcorn daily at our house, so we’re very picky about it. These were good-sized bites. The caramel tasted freshly popped and mixed. The cheesy bites were delicious, but we didn’t think it was as crunchy as we preferred. We got no kettle vibes from these kettle bites. Next time, we’ll pass on the triple mix and go straight for a bag of the next-level delish caramel!
21. Chipimento Cheese
We love pimento cheese at our house, so I had to bring this home and eat it with my favorite crackers. It was fine, but I wasn’t blown away by the flavor like I have been with other Buc-ee’s treats.
22. 12-Flavor Gummi Bears
We’re gummy bear purists at our house, although we weren’t super impressed with these Texas-sized bears. They are a little too sweet for my taste. If you love super-sweet things, these are the bears for you!”
A final Q&A with our Buc-ee’s expert
Any other tips for first-time Buc-ee’s shoppers?
For your first Buc-ee's visit, you've got to grab a bag of their most popular snack, Beaver Nuggets, and I highly recommend you head to the bakery for one of their over-the-top freshly baked cakes or pastries.
What was the hardest part about the experience? What was the best part?
The challenging part of this assignment was bypassing all the super cute Buc-ee’s merch. They have shirts for every holiday, candles, toys, and literally anything else you can think of.
I had so much fun tasting all the Buc-ee’s creations. We’re usually road-tripping when we pop in to Buc-ee’s, and I haven't always taken the time to really peruse all the delish choices they offer!
Missed out on this side hustle? Here are other ways to make money on the side
- Find ways to supplement your income: There are plenty of many ways to make extra money on the side that can add to what you’re already making.
- Take advantage of free time: Earn as much as $100 a day from side hustles with extra hours in your day.
- Find ways to earn money off of your money: Learn the best ways to invest money to help build your wealth.