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I'm expanding my salsa reviews to its own page. I've been eating and making it for years, and it is becoming increasingly hard for me to eat bad or mediocre salsa. The problem is, most of the ones out there aren't good! Luckily, I live in an area of the USA with a strong Hispanic population (Colorado), which usually ensures the availability of good Mexican food and good salsa. So, check out my handy reviewer's guide below. Many of the "microbrew" salsas on the list are from a couple of recent trips to Santa Fe and Taos (New Mexico), the heart of salsa country in the US.
First, some generalities: A bit of tomatillo helps make a great salsa. Same for cilantro. A bit of tomato paste is a pretty good indicator of a poor salsa. We're not just looking for heat here - any moron with a bottle of habernero pepper sauce can make a hot salsa. We're looking for a salsa with great taste, the right combination of heat, salt, pepper, black papper, texture, tomato, something sour (usually vinegar or lemon juice), and a slight bitter componant (Cilantro). Getting all of these balanced is hard, but when it is done it is fantastic. A good salsa is a lot more than something to dip a chip into. It is a condiment, good as an addition to just about anything. A great salsa propels the consumer into the rarified gastronomic nirvana usually reserved for great pizza, oriental food, and curry.
Chips: The first choice is baked or fried. I eat about 50/50 (baked when I feel like being healthy, fried when I want the taste :-) ). For baked, I like Tostitos or Guiltless Gourmet. For fried, On The Border does a good job, as does Santina.
Chip update 12/14/00: I thought all fried chips were the same - and then I tried a couple of Garden of Eatin' chips. Wow, delicious.
Fresh Salsa: Yes, a good fresh salsa can be better than anything on this list. I've made some fantastic ones, in which all the ingredients were growing on plants one hour prior to consumption. Yum! But, canned salsa can be almost this good. Canned salsa is much more consistent, wheras fresh salsa varies from batch to batch.
Here's my 1-10 rating scale:
<=4: Don't bother. Life is short. I've tried it so you don't have to.
5: Edible, but nothing to write home to mom about. Eat this only in a salsa emergency.
6: Tasty, decent, but not quite worth a repeat purchase
7: Very good, worth a repeat purchase
8: Excellent, addictive, one worth eating time and time again.
9: Close to perfection in all categories. I can (and have) eaten 8s and 9s for several straight meals in a row!
10: Haven't tasted one yet.
Some of the common commercial varieties are shown with only the rating. There is no point in critiquing them, you shouldn't be eating them in the first place!
2/13/05 Added La Primera
2/29/05 Added Chi-chis, Roberto. 160 salsas
3/19/05 Added Epic Valley mild and hot
Current Favorites: This is a combination of my ratings and local availability. I usually get one of the following salsas (when I'm not trying out a new variety): Pablo J's, 505, Sadie, Arriba. Tragically, Pablo J's has recently closed up shop. Zapata is very similar, but hard for me to find. I'm trying to find a way to order a case of Two Hot Chili Peppers Chipotle Garlic Salsa... it can't be too hard, they're made only 60 miles away
Unique Ingredients: I scan the ingredient list of every salsa I review. Usually there are no surprises, but here's the strangest things I've seen so far: Propelyne glycol (mmmm, yummy!), coffee, sorghum, brown sugar, poppy seeds, apples, white zinfidel, blue crab.
20 Pepper Salsa (Hot), made in Randallstown MD
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6 Texture: Fine Rating: 8.5
Serious salsa - great taste, perfect texture, nice pepper kick. I enjoyed the salsa - but my wife flat-out raved about it; she says it may be the best salsa she's ever had, and she's tried most of the ones on this list. You can order from the above website.
505 Southwestern Salsa, made in Albuquerque, NM
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 8
Yum! It's a lot like La Victoria done right. Highly addictive. I'm glad it's good - I bought a big jar of it, from one of those huge discount-food places. The smallest jar I could find was 32 ounces - so I was really hoping it was decent. The Hot version of this salsa takes a significant step up in heat - I'd put it at 6.5 on the Dave scale.
Adobe Kitchen Salsa (the red) medium, made in Velarde, NM [picture on index page]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium, watery Rating: 6.5
Good taste, passable texture, but the salsa is extremely watery. Water is, in fact, the 2nd leading ingredient! Why?
Amy Lasley's Rocky Mountain Salsa, made in Fort Collins, CO
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Chunky Rating: 8
It's been a while since I handed out a rating of 8... this salsa isn't perfect, but it has that addictive quality that - for me - defines an 8. Improvements: I'd add a bit more heat, and chop it a bit finer. The salsa has a strong black pepper kick - which is a good thing, and I'm starting to think that contributes to the addictive quality.
Ayla's Organics Hot Picante Salsa, made in Petaluna, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Chunky / a bit Pastey Rating: 6.5
Not bad - just a bit too pastey (tomato puree is ingredient #2) for a repeat purchase.
Arriba! (medium), made in
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 8.5
Excellent - a lot like Zapata salsa, all of the comments there apply. I've heard friends rave about their bean dips as well - I don't care for beans myself, so I really can't rate this. This salsa is one of my staples, the fine texture adapts well to baked chips.
Ass Kickin' Salsa (kick-yo-ass hot), made in Glendale AZ
Heat: 7 Late heat: 7 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 6
It's hot all right - habernero peppers will do that. But the rest is unexceptional - too pasty, and not enough flavors left after the habernero gets done kickin yo ass. Still, when you need a quick endorphin boost, this salsa will do it!
Badlands Salsa, made in Belvidere, South Dakota
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium/fine, mostly Rating: 7
I picked this up on a recent trip to The Badlands in S. Dakota, in Wall Drug. Good taste, no sins in the ingredient list, but there was one odd thing: The salsa was fairly finely chopped - but there were huge hunks of Jalapeno - like a 3/16" thick horizontal slice of a whole pepper, some larger than a quarter. The taste of the salsa was integrated well enough that the Jalapeno pieces didn't really give it any extra kick - but it was strange to see.
Billy Beans I Scream Sauce, made in Abilene, Texas
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: Med/fine Rating: 7
Unique. Take a good "normal" salsa & add malted vinegar instead of regular vinegar, and you have this.
Bone Suckin' Salsa, made in Raleigh NC
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium, Chunky Rating: 7.5
We're talkin' serious big chunks style... as it says on the bottle. Tasty!
Brazos Legends Blackeyed Pea Salsa, made in Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Med/Fine Rating: 7
Another winner from Brazos. The peas give it an interesting taste and texture, the heat level is just a bit light.
Brazos Legends Greenhorn Big Garlic Salsa, made in Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Fine, smooth Rating: 8
Delicious salsa - the garlic isn't all that "big", but there's plenty of good Chipotle taste. Decent heat level. There's an interesting taste/texture to the salsa, and I think it's the little dose of pureed black beans.
Brazos Legends Indian Corn Salsa (Medium), made in Texas
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pastey Rating: 5
Hmmm - now I want to go back and try the Brazos garlic salsa again, as I was really quite unimpressed with this one. The flavor was dominated by a acrid-tomato taste that I really didn't care for.
Brazos Legends Rawhide Burning Salsa (hot), made in Byron Texas
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: fine/pasty Rating: 5.5
It's hot, but Brazos makes better salsas than this!
Brazos Legends Wild Peach Salsa, made in Texas
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
I ate this right after the superior Mango Tango from the El Paso Chile Company - and this was notably inferior. Not bad at all - just not nearly as good, and not quite good enough to buy again.
Buffalo Bill Salsa, made in Denver CO
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: sauce Rating: 4
The best-tasting tomato paste I've ever had.
Byrd Peach Salsa, made in Savannah, GA
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 3.5 Texture: Thick sauce Rating: 6
Unique. It reminded me a bit of Quinn salsa, but it was saucier and sweeter.
Byron Bay Smoky Red Bean Salsa Salsa (medium), made in Goonengerry, Australia
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium/pasty Rating: 7
We span the globe in search of salsa. Wow - Australians know salsa! Very good, nice bean aftertaste and texture. If I lived just a bit closer, I'd be buying it regularly.
Cahill Cactus Salsa (medium hot), made in Phoenix, AZ [picture on index page]
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium/pasty Rating: 6.5
Tasty all-around salsa - but why in the world is this medium-hot? It's not even medium! Another negative was the pasty texture: as usual, a quick glance at the ingredient list shows the two most likely culprits: Tomato paste and water. Remove these & I'd bet the salsa is better.
Cannon's Red Hots, made in Albuquerque, MN
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 7.5 Texture: Medium, chopped Rating: 4
Tastes like jalapenos and sugar - which are in fact the first two ingredients. No tomato, so it's not really a salsa, but even as a condiment, there is no subtlety or depth to Cannon's. It's the salsa equivalent of grunge rock. Nice late heat, major endorphin producer.
Casa de Waffle, made in San Antonio, TX
Heat: 4 Late heat: 3.5 Texture: chunky runny sauce Rating: 3
A friend of mine ate at a waffle house recently, and bought a jar of Casa de Waffle Picante Sauce as a joke. It isn't the freshest stuff I've ever had, and the ingredient list is front-loaded with the expected heavy-hitters: Tomato puree, water, tomato paste. I will cut it a bit of slack since it calls itself a 'picante sauce', not a salsa - but still, you can do lots better.
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Coarse, chopped Rating: 7.5
An excellent refrigerated salsa. Texture almost demands a non-baked chip. Nice tomato flavor, good heat level. Possible improvements: Tomatillo, a finer chop to the texture.
Cherith Valley Gardens Mango-Lime Salsa, made in Ft. Worth, TX
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Not your typical salsa! The ingredient list is usual, with the addition of Mangos as the #1. The lime could have been just a bit stronger. The result is a sweet salsa that works well with salty chips. The jar recommends it as a condiment also - I didn't try that, but I can see where it would be good.
Chi-Chi's Fiesta Salsa (medium), distributed from Austin, Minnesota
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium, a bit pasty Rating: 4
Lite salsa... pasty, watery, no heat, little flavor. The only good thing is that our kids could eat it (most salsas are too hot for them), so we're using it as 'training salsa' 8)
Chile Addict Salsa chipotle made in Albuquerque, MN
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 8
Very tasty, suprisingly sweet, and no, they didn't cheat to achieve this. Excellent, if I had to nit-pick: A bit more black pepper, and some tomatillo taste would round this salsa out a bit.
Chili Mama's Habernero Salsa (hot), made in Phoenix, AZ
Heat: 6 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium/pasty Rating: 6
Not bad, and nice pop from the haberneros.
Cholula (medium) made in Mexico
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Fine / sauce Rating: 7
Unique. I'm not a fan of the sauce texture, but the flavor is great, with a strong dose of black pepper. I bought a second jar, and it was quite different: the black pepper was not nearly as strong, but there was too much vinegar, too sour. I tried a third jar, and it was similar to the second, too much vinegar. But even so, it is tasty and worth a sample.
Christopher Ranch Garlic Salsa (Medium), made in Gilroy, California
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
The more I ate this, the more I liked it! But, I expected more garlic flavor from the "garlic capital of the world" (as Gilroy bills itself)
Classy Delites Salsa Primo, made in Austin, TX
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, a bit pasty Rating: 7
Decent all-around salsa with one of the worst names I've seen! Tastes a little bit like a chunky version of 505, but it is not quite as good.
Clint's Texas Salsa (hot) made in San Antonio, Texas
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med/fine Rating: 8
Another solid contendah from Texas. I enjoyed the sticker on the side that said "not available in New York City" :o)
Clint's Chipotle Salsa, made in San Antonio, Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Tasty - just a bit pastey.
Clint's Texas (black bean & corn) Salsa, made in San Antonio, Texas
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 5
Too much corn, too many black beans, & too pastey. The first 2 problems might be that I just don't care for black bean and corn salsa all that much!
Colorado Salsa (xtra hot) made in Littleton CO
Heat: 7 Late heat: 7 Texture: Med/fine, a touch pasty Rating: 6.5 - 8
Yow! Next time I'll get the Medium or the Hot version of this salsa. Pound down a bottle of the xtra hot, and you'll see God, major endorphin producer. It was too hot for me, which prevented me from rating it more exactly. I'll find another bottle somewhere and review it.
Cookies Premium Salsa (Medium), made in Wall Lake, Iowa
Heat: Late heat: Texture: Sauce Rating: 6
Not bad - I have to admit, my initial expectations for a salsa from Iowa were not high!
Coyote Cocina, made in Sante Fe, NM
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium, chopped Rating: 8
Are there *any* bad salsas from Sante Fe? I'd imagine they would go out of business quickly! This is yummy salsa, with a nice chipotle taste. A little bit more black pepper could help.
Deliciouso Salsa (Medium), made in Baldwin Park, CA
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 5.5
Not bad - this salsa is available in the refrigerated case of a Sam's Club near me. The texture is close to perfect, but the taste (not the heat level, the taste) is bland.
Denver Broncos Salsa (Medium), made in Dallas, TX
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: runny Rating: 0
Blech. Lick me, I'm a sucker, I actually bought this. Terrible. I think some Cowboy fans made this as a joke, but several Colorado stores actually bought it. It's made by Hot Sauce Harrys in Dallas, and it is bad.
Desert Pepper Trading Co.'s 2-olive roasted garlic salsa (medium hot), made in El Paso, Texas [picture on index page]
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
Wow - that's medium hot? I don't think so, and I've tasted close to 50 different salsas. The garlic taste is subtle (and I wish it wasn't!), good texture, good tomato flavor.
DipStix, made in ?
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Whatever you add it to! Rating: 6
DipStix is a package of dried stuff that you add to a can of diced tomatos - I was short of this, but I found an old can of whole tomatos, and chopped them up with a handi-chopper. Not bad - interesting flavor, maybe onion. When you mix it up, do not worry about what looks like excess water from the tomatos - mix it up, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and it'll be gone.
Don Enrique Chile Chipotle Salsa, made in Los Angles, CA
Heat: 7 Late heat: 7 Texture: Sauce Rating: 5
Not bad - but it's a sauce, not a salsa. It's a great condiment - strong flavor, vinegar is the #1 ingredient and there is no tomato.
Durango Diner Southwest Salsa, made in Durango, CO
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
Tasty, decent - but a bit of a lightweight in heat, texture, and flavor. Great on breakfast burritos!
El Paso Chile Company / Chipotle Cha Cha Cha (Medium-Hot), made in El Paso, Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, a bit pasty Rating: 7
Nice salsa, with a bit of corn. Good chipotle flavor. The tomato flavor was right on the edge of being too acrid
El Paso Chile Company / Mango Tango, made in El Paso, Texas
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 8.5
Excellent! I wish this was more widely abailable near me, I'd get it again in a heartbeat. Wonderful flavor with just the right touch of sweetness.
El Pinto made in Albuquerque, NM
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: fine, almost a sauce Rating: 7
Not bad. The texture and heat level are almost perfect, but the salsa was not as flavorful as it could have been.
El Torito, made in Stockton, CA
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
A bit light on taste, perfect texture, and light heat.
Embasa (medium) made (or imported to) San Mateo, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Med Rating: 3
I initially - in a moment of weakness - rated this salsa higher. But, upon further review, it really doesn't have good depth of taste. It's a very simple salsa, here's the entire ingredient list: tomato, Onions, Chiles, Cilantro, salt.
Emerald Valley Kitchen Salsa, made in Eugene, OR
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: fine, almost a thick sauce Rating: 8 or 8.5
Fantastic salsa, great complex taste, a definite repeat purchase.
Enrico's (medium) made in Syracuse, NY
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med Rating: 7
Pretty good - no obvious weakness, but nothing fantastic either. Still, I'd buy it again.
Epic Valley Salsa (mild) made in Salida, CO
Heat: 1.5 Late heat: 2.5 Texture: Finely chopped Rating: 8
Now this is the kind of salsa that maked you proud to be a Coloradoan! The heat level is just right for a mild salsa, the texture is perfect, and the ingredient looks the way it should. Like Evan's Salsa, Epic Valley uses a touch of carrots to provide sweetness, though you have to work to taste it. Overall, the flavor was great but just a bit light in flavor. Some sea salt and black pepper would round out the taste - I tried that, adding just a bit of sea salt, some black pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar, and I thought the result was better. But it was great to start with & I'll be buying this again.
Epic Valley Salsa (hot) made in Salida, CO
Heat: 7 Late heat: 6 Texture: Finely chopped Rating: 8
See the above comments for the mild version. The hot salsa is the mild with some habernero pepper powder added to boost the heat several notches. I think I'll end up mixing the hot and mild together to make a good medium!
Evan's Salsa (medium) made in Fort Collins, Colorado
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med Rating: 7.5
Good salsa, great texture and heat level. The ingredient list looks the way it should. This salsa uses carrots to provide a bit of sweetness - and there's an ever-so-slight carrot taste. It was different enough that I wasn't sure if I liked it or not - but I'll be buying another jar.
Fiesta Fresh Cilantro Salsa Fresco made in Kansas City, KS
Heat: 1 Late heat: 1 Texture: Med Rating: 7
No heat, but yummy flavor - if a bit watery.
Fischer Wieser Salsa a la Charra, made in Fredricksburg, Texas
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Fine Rating: 7.5
Very good! And I bought it at - of all places - a TJ Maxx in Wisconsin!
Frog Ranch Salsa (Medium), made in Glouster, Ohio
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
A good but not great salsa... I'm not quite sure what was missing, but for some reason it lacked the addictive qualities of, say, Arriba. A bit more salt, perhaps?
Frontera Guajillo Salsa (medium) "distributed from" Chicago IL
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 3 Texture: fine Rating: 7
Unique - the texture is almost (but not quite) a sauce. Lots of tomatillos, subtle garlic taste. A great complex pepper taste, the biggest drawback is the heat level is so low. I added a dash of Milagro habernero salsa to it, and the result was excellent.
Frontier Traders Smoked Jalapeno Salsa (wild & medium) made in Kansas City, KS
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: fine Rating: 7
Nice chipotle taste & good vinegar bite. A little too much artificial smoke flavor. This salsa is made by Original Juan (also on this page).
Garden of Eatin' Hot Habernero Fiery Salsa made in Uniondale NY
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 6 Texture: Coarse, chopped Rating: 7
It was a lot less fiery than I had thought, given the name! Tasty, a bit too sweet. IMHO Garden makes decent salsa - but *great* chips.
Garlic Festival Garlic Salsa (Spicy), made in Gilroy, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Finely chopped Rating: 8
Nice. The flavors come at me one-at-a-time: tomato, then a hint of sweet, then garlic, then heat.
Garlic Salsa / Garlic Survival Company, made in San Francisco, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: coarse, perfect Rating: 8.5
Fantastic, good garlic taste, perfect texture. A couple of nit-picks: a bit more black pepper and some more sweetness (cherry tomato) would have put this one over 9 on the Dave scale. I would have added some more garlic too, but then that could just be me.
Gil's Simply Zinful Garlic Salsa (xxxtra hot), made in Sand City, CA
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium, chunky Rating: 7.5
A yummy garlic concoction that packs a punch in heat, due to the habernero peppers. Still, I don't think it is "xxxtra hot"! Nice garlic taste, good texture, and this is the first time I've ever seen wine (white zinfidel) in a salsa.
Goldwater's Sedona Red Salsa (Medium), made in Scottsdale, Arizona
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium, soupy Rating: 4
First ingredient is tomato puree - bad sign. The salsa base was a thick tomato puree with a strong chile-powder taste, and the rest of the veggies were swimming in this. The taste was decent, but the texture was poor.
Granny Goose (Medium), made in San Mateo, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 4
I was in CA recently, and stopped in a grocery store, thinking that perhaps I could acquire some salsa that was unavailable in my home state of Colorado. The only variety I found that I hadn't tasted before was this. It was OK, unexceptional - too pasty.
Green Mountain Gringo (Medium), made in Chester, VT
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
Excellent! And it's made in (of all places) Vermont - hudathunkit? Nice pepper flavor, heat is a bit light, but I'm not complaining. Garlic (on the ingredient list) is almost nonexistent. Servings per container was 15 according to the side panel. Shaa! Try two.
Guiltless Gourmet Roasted Red Pepper Salsa, made in Austin, TX
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 4
One of my favorite baked-chip makers ventures into the salsa business. They shouldn't have!
Harry & David's Wild 'n Spicy chipotle Salsa, made in Medford, OR
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7.5
I had to give the USA's premier yuppie food vendor a shot - pretty good! More black pepper and a fresher tomato taste would have helped a bit.
Hatch's (mild), made in Deming MN
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium, watery Rating: 4
If this is all it takes to be "award winning", I should go into the salsa business myself! Unexciting, not very flavorful.
Herdez (medium), distributed from Stockton, CA [made in Mexico, according to an email contact]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 5
If you have to get a nationally-available salsa, this or La Victoria is what to get. Acceptable.
Herdez Salsa Casera (medium), distributed from Stockton, CA [made in Mexico, according to an email contact]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Hey, suprisingly decent! A good nationally-available salsa... will wonders never cease. I'll get it again.
Hoellenfeuer (extra hot), made in Detmold, Germany
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Sauce Rating: 4
On a recent trip to Germany, I decided to pick up some German salsa. The Germans make some fantastic food, but salsa is not among them! Still, when I saw this variety in a store I thought I'd give it a shot. It's not all that hot, but there's a taste there I can't identify... horseradish, hot mustard, or something like that. If my German were better, I'd read the ingredient list.
Hombres Fiesta Fire Roasted Salsa (medium), made in Bastrop, Texas
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Med/fine, chopped Rating: 8
Delicious salsa, nice balance of flavors - take out the water (in the ingredient list!) and it would be fantastic.
Hooks U Salsa, made in Colleyville, Texas
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Finely chopped Rating: 7.5
A deceptively simple salsa. I was wondering if a little bit of lemon and/or black pepper would improve it a bit, but the salsa didn't last long enough for me to find out!
Hot Cha Cha (medium), made in Port Reading, New Jersey
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
Sugar and salt free... I guess I'm used to the taste of both sugar and salt that this salsa tasted interesting without them! Pretty good, nice taste, I could have used more heat and more pepper flavor.
Howling Wolf (medium), made in Minneapolis MN
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 5.5
Nice texture, nice heat - but that's about it. Little flavor outside of the heat.
Hunt's Salsa (Medium), made in ??
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pastey Rating: 3.5
This is a canned salsa - and although in theory that could be just fine, in practice the salsa is usually inferior. I could only taste three distinct flavors: Tomato, vinegar, and heat (yes, heat is a flavor :-) ). It was like hearing 2 or 3 notes played together on a piano, rather than a big-sounding chord.
Jacob's Yet Yet, made in Wichita, Kansas
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: fine Rating: 7.5
One of the more bizarre names I've seen - but the salsa is very good, perfect texture, and a full, complex taste. A couple of tiny nit-picks: The salsa was too sweet (and, reading the list, it was probably done with sugar), and it tasted too processed, not like fresh stuff. But still - if I see it again, I'll buy it again.
Jardine's Chipotle Salsa (medium), made in Buda, TX
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: fine Rating: 8
An excellent salsa, very similar to Arriba or Zapata (also on this page, and also favorites of mine). It could have been just a bit sweeter. Salsa works well with baked chips.
Jethro's Salsa (variable), made in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado
Heat: n/a Late heat: n/a Texture: Chunky Rating: 6.5
This salsa comes with a spice packet taped to the lid. The spice packet contains the heat, so you can adjust the heat of this salsa from nonexistent up to pretty durn hot - maybe a 7 on the Dave scale. This adjustability is nice, but it does leave the salsa a bit light in real pepper taste. My father got a kick out of the warning label on the pepper packet: "Avoid Contact With Skin" :-)
This salsa is made in Coal Creek Canyon, on Seaver Drive (according to the bottle). Interestingly enough, I used to live in Coal Creek Canyon, on Seaver Drive - there's only about 5 houses on that road.
Joe T. Garcia (medium), made in Ft. Worth, Texas
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
A solid contendah from Texas. Nice jalapeno heat level (jalapenos are the 2nd ingredient), no water, no tomato paste - but I could have used more black pepper and a stronger tomato taste. No complaints, though, it's a good all-around salsa.
Jose Madrid (Chipotle hot), made in Columbus, Ohio
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
Perfect texture - but I had 3 nit-picks with this salsa: It was a bit too sour in an acrid-tomato way, the "smoke flavoring" was too strong - and I couldn't taste the garlic!
Joy's Roasted Green Chile Salsa, made in Durango, Colorado
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
Hmmm - I had such high hopes for this salsa! Great looking... but pasty and too much sugar, not much flavor. I tried a 2nd bottle - and it was a lot different, and much better: It wasn't as pasty, it wasn't as sweet, and the flavor was much better.
Jump Up And Kiss Me (medium), made in San Bruno, CA
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
This salsa is so smoky and mild that it is more like a smoky barbecue sauce than a salsa. It's made with (lots of) chipotle chiles, and has a nice pepper/tomato flavor. Good texture, but I found it too sour (too much lemon juice or vinegar, both are in the ingredient list) and not quite hot enough.
Jilli Pepper chile marinara, made in Albuquerque, NM
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 7.5
The bottle says it's a marinara sauce, but I figured if it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck... it Tastes like a salsa, and I ought to know! Good texture, nice bite to the taste.
Kaukauna (medium), made in Kaukauna, WI
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 6
A decent refrigerated salsa. It's a bit too pasty for me, and lacks some subtle flavors that help out a salsa: black pepper, tomatillo.
La Estrellita (medium), made in Brighton, CO
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 7
Excellent, and the texture was almost perfect!
La Primera (medium), distributed from Denver, CO
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Coarse/chopped Rating: 7
A decent salsa. The heat was light for a medium salsa, and I didn't care for the tomato paste, but beyond that, good flavor and texture.
La Victoria (medium), made in
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 5
If you have to get a nationally-available salsa, this or Herdez is what to get. Acceptable.
Laredo & Lefty's (medium), made in Laredo, Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: pasty/chunky Rating: 7
My biggest beef with this salsa is the texture. But - the taste is quite good, and I like the chunks as well. Just the right touch of vinegar.
Lacewood Bush Tomato & Mild Chili Salsa, made in McLaren Flat, South Australia
Heat: 1 Late heat: 0 Texture: chunky Rating: 6
We span the globe to bring in good salsas to try... this one is from Australia. It's not bad, but it is super-sweet, almost like a candied salsa, and there's no discernable heat. Interesting combo with salty chips... I tried it as a condiment as well, with good results. Garlic is in the ingredient list, though I'm not sure I would have detected it without reading it first. And, this is the first time I've seen Apples in the list!
Lesta's Copper Top Salsa, made in Denver, Colorado
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: choppe Rating: 8
Delicious. A bit light in Tomato taste - onions are the first ingredient, although I'm not sure they're ordered by volume. Perfect balance of sour (vinegar), sweet (from the onions?), and heat.
Lou's Green Chile Salsa, made in Greeley, Colorado
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: sauce Rating: 8
Lou is the friend of a friend in Greeley, who makes some killer salsa. We're trying to get her to go pro, and maybe a listing on the best salsa review site on the web will do it! Delicious.
Mad Butcher Salsa, made in Ruthven, Iowa
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Good, tasty - big black-pepper kick and a bit heavy-handed with the vinegar (ingredient #3 on the list!). The vinegar makes it seem like the heat level is a notch higher initially.
Milagro Habernero Fiesta (hot), made in Albuquerque, NM [picture on index page]
Heat: 8 Late heat: 7 Texture: Medium Rating: 7.5
Yow! The "habernero" on the label intimidated me a bit. An excellent salsa, but it was really too hot for me. If I ever see medium, I'll get some. Even so, you can tell the heat comes from haberneros and not jalapenos... it hits you quicker, and fades quicker, and lacks the special pepper taste that jalapenos have.
Monroe's medium, made in Santa Fe, NM or Osuna NE [picture on index page]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, watery Rating: 6.5
Good taste, passable texture, but the salsa is watery. Water is, in fact, the 2nd leading ingredient! Why? It could have used a bit of salt also.
Mrs. Renfro's Black Bean Salsa (medium), made in Fort Worth, Texas
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 2.5 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 6.5
Strange... it grew on me over the course of several days. Initially I was going to give it a 4 or so, but by the time I finished the jar, my rating was much higher. The bean content of this salsa is not high (I don't really care for beans and it was fine for me), the texture is quite pasty, and the beans impart a unique flavor.
Mrs. Renfro's Gourmet Habernero Salsa, made in Fort Worth, Texas
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6.5 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 3.5
The heat level was excellent - a combo of haberneros (for a quick punch) and jalapenos (for a delayed reaction). But that's about the only good thing about this salsa... runny, lifeless, little taste outside of the heat.
Muir Glen organic roasted garlic salsa (hot), made in Sacramento, CA
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, pasty/chunky Rating: 7
The Hot label is misleading... most medium salsas are hotter than this. The garlic is medium-strength, the overall taste is very good. I debated quite a while whether I should give this a 6.5 or a 7, and I ended up deciding that I would purchase it again, hence the 7 rating.
Native South Peach Salsa, made in Marietta, GA
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
Interesting... I'm tempted to draw comparisons to Quinn's salsa (also on this list) - but this variety is much more like diced peaches mixed in with ordinary salsa, wheras Quinn's is salsa made from fruit. Native South is quite hot - and it almost tastes like haberneros, but the ingredient list says jalapenos.
Newman's Own (medium): 5.5
Oak Hill Farms Chipotle Fiesta Bean Dip, made in Atlanta, GA
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Smooth. It's a pureed bean dip. Rating: 6
Not bad... I'm liking bean dips more and more in my old age. Nice bean flavor, nice jalapeno kick. I could have used more pepper, both heat and taste, and more tomato flavor.
Ol' Snort (rip-snortin' super hot), made in Lodi, Wisconsin
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: very coarse Rating: 7
Decent, and I'd buy it again, but take out the celery and chop the veggies a bit finer! I'd also update the heat level: It was fine, but it most definitely was not "rip-snortin' super hot". The Ingredient List looked fine... until I got to Sorghum. What the!
Old El Paso (medium): 3.5
On The Border (medium), manufactured for a co. in Richardson, Texas
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 6
Very good, no obvious weakness. Nice heat level, good texture, decent tomato flavor. A bit heavy-handed with the sugar.
Organic Garden Valley Salsa (medium), made in Morgan Hill, CA
Heat: 4 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium/fine, pasty Rating: 6
Good taste. The biggest problem with this salsa is the texture, it feels like a salsa-flavored pasta sauce. I looked on the ingredient list for the telltale tomato paste - not there, but tomato puree is too close. You don't puree a salsa! The flavor is decent, not a lot of depth. Possible improvements: A bit more heat, perhaps add a couple different types of peppers to add depth to the taste. Take out the tomato puree. Add a touch of black pepper.
Orale Salsa Sabrosa - medium, made in Indianola, Iowa
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
Another contendah from Iowa! There's a nice street-cred story on the back of the jar about the Sanchez family bringing their old salsa recipie with them from Mexico to California (and then, presumably, to Iowa) - it certainly tastes like a real Mexican recipie. Highly addictive - great flavor and texture. Sadly, I only bought 1 jar!
Orale Salsa Sabrosa - Hot, made in Indianola, Iowa
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
This tastes just like the medium, with the heat turned up a notch.
Orale Salsa Sabrosa - Extra Hot, made in Indianola, Iowa
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
This tastes just like the medium, with the heat turned up two notches. Orale is made in small, fresh batches, so it is possible there is some variation to the heat level.
Original Juan Salsa, smoked jalapeno made in Parkville, MO [picture on index page]
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 5
Too tomato-pasty... I looked at the ingredient list, and water and tomato paste are #2 and #3. The salsa would probably be much better without either of these! I enjoyed the motto on the label: "The number juan salsa". It could have used some more smoked jalapenos as well for flavor (not heat, the heat was fine).
Pablo J's Salsa (medium), made in Johnstown, CO
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 9
Now *that's* a salsa!!! Almost perfect taste and texture. Pablo J's is made by a family in Johnstown Colorado (about 20 miles from me as I type this) who claims to have their recipe for "sarsa" passed down thru the family from the 1700s. I'd say it's just about perfect. Nice pepper, nice tomato taste. Extremely addictive, but I can quit any time I want. I just don't choose to! The Medium is the one to get - but I mixed a hot (pictured) and a mild together once when the store was out of Medium, with good results.
Pace (any kind): 3
Parrot Brand Roasted Garlic Organic Salsa, made in Morgan Hill, CA
Heat: 4 Late Heat: 4.5 Texture: Medium, slightly pasty Rating: 8
The garlic adds a great taste. Nice complex pepper taste, a bit pasty in texture. Excellent taste overall - possible improvements: A bit more heat, more black pepper would be nice. The garlic in here is strong (and delicious) - this is *not* first-date salsa. If you're going to eat it and be in public later, do something about your breath.
Paula's Salsa Nova, made in Hawthorne, CA
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
Sort of like Canon's Red-hots, it seems (both by taste and ingredient list) to be tomato-free. Heavy sugar, almost a syrup. Poppy seeds are in the salsa, a first for me!
Peppers Blue Crab Salsa, made in Rehoboth Beach, DE
Heat: 1 Late heat: 1 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Not surprisingly, I had never seen crab in a salsa prior to this. The salsa had almost no detectable heat, but the flavors were yummy, and the crab gave it a unique aftertaste.
Powerhouse salsa , made in Crested Butte, CO
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7.5
Not bad at all! Fairly fresh-tasting for a salsa in a jar, good combination of flavors
Pueblo Chile salsa (hot) , made in Pueblo, CO
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium/Chunky Rating: 8.5
Just a touch of sweetness (and I don't mean sugar!) and this salsa would have gone over 9.0 on the Dave Scale. Fantastic pepper taste, good texture, nice heat level, just the right amount of salt. A definite repeat purchase.
Quinn's Peach Salsa , made in Ellensburg, WA
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
Unique. Let's take a brief walk down the ingredient list: #1: Peaches. #2: Cantelope. #4: Pineapple. Sounds weird, but it tastes great. The heat is supplied by a touch of habernero peppers. This salsa is very good with chips, but might be even better as a condiment to use with... just about anything.
Rancho de Santa Fe, red chile salsa , made in Velarde, NM
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6.5 Texture: Medium, watery Rating: 8
An excellent salsa that really packs a punch on the heat scale
Rattlesnake Ranch (garlic/medium), made in Ft. Collins, Colorado
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: pasty, Coarse Rating: 7.5
Good, meaty (if pasty) texture. Good tomato taste. Garlic and heat are both subtle. I'd prefer a bit more heat, a bit more black pepper, and more sour taste - and lose the tomato paste. My wife, who has sampled most of the salsas on this page, says that this one is her favorite to date. I liked it also, and I'll buy it again.
Rapunzel Fiesta Dip, made in Legau, Germany
Heat: 1 Late heat: 1 Texture: Thick sauce Rating: 3
I travel to Germany occasionally, and I keep trying to find a decent German salsa (sounds like a lead-in for SNL's Bad Idea Jeans, doesn't it? :-) ). This one wasn't bad, but it was a sauce, not a salsa.
Reiser's Salsa (medium), made in Beaverton, Oregon
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Coarse Rating: 8
This salsa isn't quite the traditional taste or flavor, but it is so good it doesn't matter. Perfect balance of tomato, black pepper, heat, and sour tastes. Highly addictive, you have been warned.
Reiser's Baja Cafe Pico de Gallo Salsa (medium), made in Beaverton, Oregon
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Coarse Rating: 8
Very similar to normal Reisers, with a touch of Cilantro, and the same addictive bite.
Religious Experience (medium), made in Grand Junction, Colorado
Heat: 6 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
Pretty good, nice heat and texture. Decent taste. My biggest knock is that they add a lot of chili powder.
Roberto's Green Chile Salsa (medium), made in Fort Collins, Colorado
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 7.5
A local refrigerated salsa. Yum - I can't believe I haven't been eating this regularly.
Rock 'n Roll Chef's Totally chipotle Party Sauce (medium), made in Chicago, IL
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: fine Rating: 5
This rating could have been higher, but for the OD of vinegar. Vinegar is the #2 ingredient, and gives the sauce a pucker-power that overwhelms the rest of the taste. This also marks the first time I've ever seen Coffee listed in the ingredient list!
Rotel Pico de Gallo Salsa, made in Fort Worth, TX
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 2 Texture: Medium Rating: 7.5
Excellent salsa. A bit light in heat, and I didn't like seeing "sugar" so high on the ingredient list, but this is a definite repeat purchase.
Route 66 Salsa (mild), made in Carefree, AZ
Heat: 3 Late heat: 2 Texture: Medium/sauce Rating: 5
Lightweight in heat - but then I got the "mild" kind. I had such high hopes for this salsa, given its cool name and American Southwest heritage. But, it was light in taste and saucy in texture (yes, tomato puree is on the ingredient list).
Sadie's Salsa (not very hot), made in Albuquerque, NM
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: fine Rating: 8.5
Yum! If you see this in a store, buy it. Nice 'bite' to the flavor, texture is saucy enough that it could easily double as a condiment.
Safeway (medium): 4.
Salpica Medium Tomato Jalapeno Salsa, made in Chicago IL
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium Rating: 5
A potentially excellent salsa, but there was an acrid-tomato taste that kind of swamped the taste. Otherwise, it was very good, nice heat level, nice texture.
Salsa Fresca, made in Wilson, Wyoming
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 6.5
Almost a 7... a bit more salt and a little less paste, and it would have been.
Sam's Club (medium): 1. Blech.
One of these salsas had to be the worst, and this one is it. I ate 2 or 3 chipfuls, and ended up dumping the rest down the drain. This is close to sacrilege for me, but it had to be done.
Santa Barbara Roasted Garlic Salsa (med.), made in Oceanside, CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, pastey Rating: 5
Not bad, but nothing great either. Ingredients # 2 and 3 are tomato puree and water. Need we say more?
Santa Fe Ole' chipotle Salsa, made in Santa Fe, NM [picture on index page]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Good flavor, substantial texture. The chipotle chiles (smoked jalapeno) add a great flavor [although my assistant salsa tester (my better half) doesn't care for them at all]. Good all-around salsa, no weakness.
Santa Fe Select Cactus chipotle Salsa made in Albuquerque, MN
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 3.5 Texture: Med/fine Rating: 7.5
The word "select" on the label looks just like the Safeway "select" - which is interesting. But the salsa is very unlike Safeway salsa, which is good. It is similar to Chile Addict, just a bit less strong in taste (both heat and sweetness). A good choice for mass-quantity consumption.
Santa Fe Salsa, made in Santa Fe, NM [picture on index page]
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 8
Very good, so far, it's the best salsa I brought back from Santa Fe on our most recent trip. Nice pepper flavor, decent heat. A bit more salt and a bit more pepper would have helped it out a bit.
San Antonio famous piquant sauce (medium), made in San Antonio, Texas
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Runny Rating: 4
Not bad, unexceptional. Too pasty for me, and not very complex in taste.
Sassy Tropics Hawaii Hot Pineapple Salsa, made in Honolulu, Hawaii
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5.5 Texture: Finely chopped Rating: 7
Bizzare.... take the tomatos out of a regular salsa & add pineapple and you have this
Scorned Woman , made in Atlanta, GA
Heat: 7 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium, a bit pasty Rating: 6.5
"Beware the scorned woman" - Indeed! Lotsa heat, supplied by habernero peppers. The rest is pretty much drowned out by the neat of the haberneros, but the texture is decent. Sin: Water is in the ingredient list.
Second Sun (hot), made in ???[picture on index page]
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium, thick, chunky Rating: 8.5
The following review is from my salsa buddy Bob, who has sampled some of the better salsas on this list. I didn't actually try this salsa myself, so I'm depending on the secondhand report (now I wish I'd have sent him Monroe's or Desert Pepper, or something decent but not quite so good :-) ):
I noticed that you gave me the "hot" version this time -- and it has just the right level of heat. It's definitely hot, but I can stop eating it when I want to, not when it forces me to, and when I do, I get a nice late pop from it. That's what makes hot sauces and salsas fun IMMHO (in my masochistic humble opinion)!
There is something "citrusy" in Second Sun - perhaps they put more lemon juice in than most, but It seems like there is more to it than that -- there definitely is a nice, unique tang. It's also thick and chunky which is a must - no watery salsa for me. All in all, I'd definitely rank it up there with Arriba & Pablo J's. In fact, it might just nose them out a bit.
Senor Felix made in ???
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med/watery Rating: 7
A good refrigerated salsa, nice taste, a bit watery in texture, but that's not a big complaint. My biggest problem with this salsa was its visual appearance: virtually all of the tomato in the salsa were various shades of yellow/orange rather than red. A little red dye #4 should clear that right up! Even so, I'd get this again.
Silver Palette Gazpacho Salsa made in Kresskill, NJ
Heat: 2 Late heat: 1 Texture: Med Rating: 7
Very tasty, but no heat. BTW, here's how to make a "sophisticated" salsa: Use a small jar, bump the price up a buck, and put a small circle of cloth on the top of the jar :o)
Singing Pig Roasted Garlic Salsa, made in Elk Grove, CA
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium sauce Rating: 5
This was good, but it was sort of like "lite salsa": Not a lot of heat, not a lot of garlic flavor, too watery.
Snakebite Salsa Picosa, made in El Paso, Texas (El Paso Chile Company)
Heat: 5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, pasty Rating: 6
Not bad, but I've had better from the El Paso Chile Co. First ingredient is tomato puree - blech!
Spike's Bite-Your-Butt Salsa made in Freeport, Illinois
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med Rating: 7
An old family recipe from Kansas here, it is pretty tasty. Brown Sugar is in the ingredient list, you can definitely taste it in the salsa - it was bizarre enough that I wasn't sure if I liked it or not!
Sting -n- Linger Salsa made in Arizona
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Med Rating: 6.5
Nice heat, good texture, but not enough taste to round out the salsa.
Spontaneous Combustion made in Glendale, AZ
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6.5 Texture: Med Rating: 4
It's hot - and that's about it. The garlic was not detectable.
Talk Of The Town (hot), made in Springtown, Texas
Heat: 5.5 Late heat: 5 Texture: finely chopped Rating: 8
Tasty, nice chunks of garlic, texture works well with baked chips. The leading ingredient is Jalapenos - hmmm, don't think so! Nice taste of cilantro as well. I would have liked a dash of vinegar or lime juice, and a stronger black pepper taste would have helped also.
Taos Mesa Gourmet (medium), made in Taos, NM
Heat: 2.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: Medium, slightly pasty Rating: 7.5
A subtle, smoky, complex salsa. Nice pepper taste. The heat level is almost nonexistent at first, but a bit of late heat kicks in after a while. Possible improvements: A bit more tomato taste would be nice, maybe some sweet cherry tomato. Not much - this is not an in-your-face salsa. I'm not a fan of the pasty texture. If I get this kind again, I'll get the hot version, this was a bit tame in heat for a medium salsa.
Tejano Salsa (mild "Texan Wannabe"), made in Houston, TX
Heat: 2 Late heat: 1 Texture: fine, sauce Rating: 7
Just what a mild salsa ought to be - good flavor, almost no heat. Our kids can't handle heat yet, and they loved it.
Tejano Salsa (medium), made in Houston, TX
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: fine, sauce Rating: 6
Nice flavor, but lightweight on the heat scale. I added a bit of hot stuff to it, and the result was very good.
Tejano Salsa (hot "Texan Native"), made in Houston, TX
Heat: 7 Late heat: 6 Texture: fine, sauce Rating: 7
Yow! OK, Tejano knows how to make hot stuff. This was a bit hotter than I like - but it's "hot", so it ought to be. Tejano needs to take their medium up a notch or two in heat
Texas Firehouse Salsa (med), made in Corpus Christi, TX
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4.5 Texture: Chunky Rating: 6
Decent salsa, but for me, it lacked the addictive qualities that make a 7.
Timpone's Salsa Muy Rica, made in Austin TX
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 3 Texture: Med/fine Rating: 7.5
Interesting... I could have used more heat, but the texture and garlic flavor were excellent. There's a slight taste in here that I can't identify (and the ingredient list is no help), it tastes like a hint of... Catalina salad dressing!
Tostitos Roasted Garlic Salsa (medium), made in Dallas TX
Heat: 3.5 Late heat: 3 Texture: Coarse, pasty Rating: 3.5
Where's the flavor? Texture was thick, pasty. Flavor was almost nonexistent - little tomato, little heat, and I really had to work to taste the garlic.
Tostitos Party Bowl Southwestern Salsa, made in Dallas TX
Heat: 4.5 Late heat: 4 Texture: med/fine, too runny Rating: 6
You can almost taste the schism between Accounting and Product Development over at Tostitos... Accounting says "We must make it cheap!" -so we get diced tomatos in tomato juice (ingred. 1 and 2), water (ingred #3), and tomato puree (ingred #6). When you first open it, it is almost like a soup!
But some serious folks over in product development say "It's gotta tasta good anyway!" - and play with the heat, the sweetness, the black pepper, and the salt until they get a good tasty balance.
Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Chili Salsa (medium), made in S. Pasadena CA
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
Light in heat, but pretty good for flavor. I thought it needed just a bit of salt.
Tradiciones Chimayo Red Chile Salsa, made in Santa Fe, NM
Heat: 6.5 Late heat: 6.5 Texture: Finely chopped Rating:8.5
Hot & very tasty, the heat level is really a bit high for me, but everything else is so good I'm not complaining.
Tree House Berry Farm Ma's Mild Salsa, made in Linwood, KS
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 7
A yummy salsa from Kansas. Probably the spiciest Mild salsa I've ever had.
Tuxedo Chili's gourmet salsa, made in Prescott, AZ
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium/fine Rating: 8.5
Nice job! I wish I could get this salsa more regularly.
Two Hot Chili Peppers Chipotle Garlic Salsa, made in Aurora, CO
Heat: 4 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 9.5
The only reason this isn't a 10 is that it didn't have a sticker saying "Made Exclusively For God Almighty". Amazing. Awesome. Wonderful flavor, perfect balance. Now I just have to find a regular source! After paying my dues munching my way through over 140 salsas, my quest has ended. I currently have about a 10 salsa backlog, and after that, I may retire!
Vengance with a Venom salsa / garden of the gods, made in Phoenix, AZ
Heat: 7.5 Late heat: 7.5 Texture: Medium/Pasty Rating: 4
Good texture, killer heat - but let us enumerate the sins of this salsa:
1) The label says "garden of the gods" - and the pic looks like it, leading you, the unsuspecting consumer, into thinking it is made in Colorado Springs, CO. It's not.
2) I like heat as much as the next guy, but this'll put hair on yer teeth!
3) First 3 ingredients: Tomato puree, water, tomato paste. For shame, for shame.
Viper Venom, made in Phoenix, AZ
Heat: 6 Late heat: 6 Texture: Medium Rating: 5.5
A hot habernero salsa, but there isn't all that much taste behind the heat. Ingredient #1 is tomato puree - bad bad bad! Good texture.
Walnut Acres Fiesta Cilantro Salsa (medium), made in Arlington, VA
Heat: 4 Late heat: 4 Texture: med/fine Rating: 6
Good flavor, but a bit pasty. Ingredients #2 and 3 are tomato puree and water... it's almost like they haven't seen my webpage!
Wild Oats Organic Salsa (Toe Curling), made in Boulder, Colorado
Heat: 6 Late heat: 5 Texture: Medium Rating: 7
It didn't quite curl my toes, but it had nice heat, good texture. I could have used a little more black pepper. and I'd trade the tomato puree for real tomato.
Wild Oats Thick and Chunky Salsa (Medium), made in Boulder, Colorado
Heat: 3 Late heat: 3 Texture: Medium/pasty Rating: 4
First 2 ingredients are water and tomato paste. Why did I buy this?
Zapata fire roasted red salsa (medium), made in Dallas, TX
Heat: 5 Late heat: 5 Texture: Fine Rating: 8.5
My current favorite - at least it was until Pablo J's came along. Perfect balance of pepper, salt, and sour (vinegar). Just a bit light in tomato taste, and some tomatillos would help a bit as well - but these are tiny nit-picks, the salsa is fantastic! Fine texture adapts well to baked chips. I had wondered if Zapata had gone out of business, but I recently (2/11/02) received email from someone at Zapata, assuring me that they were alive and well and still making the fire-roasted salsa.