Today I’m doing a two-fer on Texas Brew Salsa. I came across them at one of the more interesting hot sauce festivals out there, the Austin Hot Sauce Festival, which squeezes the typical two or three day hot sauce show in to about a 6 hour window, and is known for three things, great music acts, massive lines at the tents, and possibly the hottest weather I’ve ever seen at a hot sauce show. One of the things it’s know a bit less for, but does well at, is showcasing a lot of new and unknown manufacturers in Texas, some a bit odd, and some that get it right.
As worlds collide sometimes, it happens that as we were discovering them, they were right in the midst of being judged at the Scovie awards, and they did fairly well, so I’m pretty confident at this point that we’ll be seeing several winning items from them today. The first of these to catch my eye was their Fire Roasted Poblano Salsa series. Poblano chile peppers get sort of a back seat to jalapenos in Tex-Mex cooking, for the exception of the loved dish, chile rellenos. I was quite interested to see what someone could do with a salsa based on poblanos, since they are easily overlooked in the salsa category in favor of the more well known jalapeno. They offer this blend in a Hot, Medium and a Mild level, so I figured I’d shoot for the middle to get a feel for how hot they think Medium equates to.
Surprisingly, this salsa actually has 3 varieties of chiles in them, where I was just expecting the flavors from the roasted poblanos, I’ve got a nice treat of some chipotles thrown in as well. Here’s the blend: Roasted and Fresh Tomato, Tomato Juice, Roasted Poblano Pepper, Green Chile, Roasted Onion, Cilantro, Honey, Roasted Garlic, Salt, Chipotle Peppers, Sugar, Paprika Extract, Capsicum, Calcium Chloride, and Citric Acid.
The overall texture of this product can be related to the idea of salsa quicksand, in the respect that it looks fairly thick at first view, but then ends up pouring quite evenly. There’s a good chance a stray chip will fall victim to it. It’s a thoroughly blended, and mildly chunky version of just about all the ingredients you read above, with a smokey brown-ish red color with bits of green and white. The occasional black speck shows up from the roasting process. The aroma smells pretty much like roasted tomato, chiles and onion that have all had the time to sweat a bit in a bowl, ready for the chopping. There is also a bit of a sweet aroma, but it’s hardly noticeable.
First, I really enjoy this heft of this salsa. It’s thin enough to pour, but feels quite filling as you eat it. The honey portion of it is noticeable, and I would say this has more of a sweet element than expected, and while there are several chiles in this, the heat level stays fairly Mild, but definitely full of good chile pepper flavor. Another item of interest is that the flavor of some fresh cilantro makes it’s way forward from time to time along with the green chile to give it a lighter and fresher flavor that offsets the deeper flavors of the chipotle and roasted vegetables, which gives this a pretty nice balance. I was hoping this would come in around our Medium heat level and not a mild, but even as a Mild, it has layers of heat and lots of variety in texture and flavor as you chew the chunkier parts of the salsa. I can easily rate this as a Notable for flavor, and honestly, now I’m wondering if maybe I should have snagged the Hot version of this to try, because if it keeps the same flavors as this salsa and amps the heat up just a bit, then this just might be my new favorite salsa. Want to know how I know this? I just gulped down a 16oz. Jar of it without realizing it.
Texas Brew, please tell me you package in 32oz. as well. I think these jars are too small for my salsa cravings.