Hey there, folks, and welcome to the maiden voyage of Salsa Sunday! As you can probably imagine from the name, this column is dedicated to reviewing salsa-style products, including salsa, salsalito, and queso. You see, I keep a pretty steady supply of salsa in my refrigerator and in my cabinet, many of which come from companies sending us their products. That’s just the tip of the delicious tomato-flavored iceberg, though, because I see a ton of interesting salsas when I’m out and about, but it’s hard to cover those products when I’m only working on a one-review-per-week schedule. So, there you have it. I’m actually kicking off the inaugural column by giving my own take on the Backyard Salsa line, a brand with which David has spent some quality time lately. I have their Hot salsa here, so check it out.
Tomato, Tomato Puree, Onion, Peppers, Cilantro, Garlic, and Spices
See that? That’s about as simple and pure as a salsa ingredients list can get. There are no real surprises here, though we do get the rather vague “peppers” and “spices.” Keep in mind that this one is supposed to be the Hot variety. I wonder what specifically this jar is packing.
I believe David made this comparison already, but it bears repeating here: in terms of appearance, Backyard Salsa’s hot variety looks a lot like a Mexican-style pasta sauce. Though it is not the chunkiest salsa I’ve had, the tomato puree in this jar is very thick and spreadable, not at all soupy like you might get out of lesser brands.
Smell and Taste:
A salsa really needs to sell itself on the smell. After all, the best salsas are prepared with the freshest ingredients possible, and I’m happy to say that this product fits that description. There’s nothing artificial or preserved about this salsa, a claim the taste also backs up. The flavor definitely relies on the tomatoes, but I still can’t tell exactly what peppers are in there, because they don’t stick out too terribly much. What is present, though, is a spice blend that reminds me a lot of taco seasoning, minus the high sodium content that typically comes with that sort of thing.
I’m not sure what sort of heat scale Backyard Salsa uses, but this salsa isn’t really hot. Sure, if you drank the entire jar, you would feel a burn, but even that would only register as a Medium. I’m not going to complain, however, because I’m absolutely in love with the flavor. The simple list of ingredients equates into a salsa that tastes incredibly bold and fresh. If there’s one downside here, it’s that the peppers aren’t terribly distinct in the overall taste. I’m not going to knock this product for that, though, because the end result is just to good to give anything but my highest recommendation. This one is a Notable, and you’ll love it.
This is the kind of salsa you want for a Super Bowl party. It’s not terribly hot, meaning it won’t offend the non-chileheads in your circle, and the flavor will unite even the bitterest of rivals. I had some on my breakfast taco this morning (along with some diced up habanero), and the result was euphoric. Basically, find an excuse to put this near that hole in your face and enjoy it.
I’ve had a lot of salsas from Texas companies, but this is the first time I’ve ever had one from a South Dakota-based brand. Heck, this may very well be the first time I’ve had anything from South Dakota. I’ve never even been there, which basically makes this salsa my first real impression of the state. Great job, Mount Rushmore State!