Today I’m checking out Red’s Hot Salsa, one of two items I’m reviewing today from Red’s Salsa & Hot Sauce in Grapevine, Texas. Red’s doesn’t clue you in too much about what you’re getting in to without some reading. They keep it pretty simple, with the labeling indicating a slightly western flair, with their name, the product name and a red-bearded man in a cowboy hat that oddly resembles what I would imagine the love child of Scrovak and Patrick from Evil Seed Sauce Company might look like. A twist of the jar towards the ingredients list starts to clue you in. It indicates that this is a 100% Natural salsa, void of any additives or preservatives.
Beyond the 100% Natural markings, the only clue you get for this salsa, based on the product name, is that it’s likely spicy, and then you get to dig in to, what seems to me, a fairly well-rounded list of ingredients that now has me fairly curious. With 5 chile peppers to work with, each a step hotter than the next, and a variety of flavorful acids, and the standard aromatics of a salsa, it looks like even if this is fairly hot, there is a good chance it should at least taste decent. Here’s the full list: Whole tomatoes, bell peppers, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, spices, lime juice, and pineapple juice.
This moderately chunky sauce is a slurry of tomato bits, chile peppers and other elements, that while appearing fairly thick, has a thin base it’s binded in that allows it to be poured easily, but still maintain a thickness level that I would consider a salsa that you could scoop up instead of just dipping in. The aroma of this is of a hearty savory tomato sauce, almost akin to a fresh Italian pasta sauce in aroma. There is plenty of color to this salsa, with all of the fresh ingredients in it, so you get a myriad of colors from all the ingredients. Overall it is an attractive looking salsa.
There is a lot of savory up front on this, with garlic, onion and spices stepping up quickly, and then you get a quick punch of mild heat and then a gradual increase in heat that brings this up to a strong Medium. The salsa is so chunky beyond the tomato portion of it, that it sort of depends sometimes on what you happen to get with each bite; some bites have a quick bit of heat (likely from a habanero piece), and then some are milder and warm up on you over time, but it doesn’t go beyond the medium level. The flavor is similar in that respect where in some cases there is a bit more garlic in a bite, and then in some cases, it might have a more green chile flavor, where you may have gotten more of the poblano and bell pepper pieces. The heat level on this is good for a salsa, hot enough to light you up some, but mild enough to where you could go through an entire football game snacking on it. The flavor switches up from bite to bite, but overall I’d give this a Nominal rating. The only thing holding it back from a Nice rating is a slightly green flavor to the salsa that sometimes I see from overly boiled garlic. I know a lot of people don’t notice it, but it sticks out to me. Still a good salsa, worth checking out though.