That Red Sauce, by HEBOf all the reviews I’ve written for EAT MORE HEAT over the last two years, none has received nearly as many comments as my look at That Green Sauce from HEB. Despite being a product made solely for a regional chain of South Texas grocery stores, That Green Sauce has a fanbase that far transcends the region. It seems like the good folks at HEB are well aware of this, because they have now released a cousin product known simply as That Red Sauce. If there’s any commercial product that has a legacy to live up to, it may very well be this one.

Ingredients:

Diced Tomato, Water, Jalapeno Puree, Guajillo Chiles, Tomato Paste, Fresh Yellow Onions, Light Sour Cream (Grade A cultured cream, skim milk, Vitamin A palmitate), Vinegar, Cilantro, Fresh Garlic, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Xanthan and Guar Gum

Casual observers will note that this list very closely resembles the products normally found in a typical jarred salsa on store shelves. Astute observers, though, will note the addition of sour cream into the mix. I would be lying if I said I don’t wonder what difference that makes.

Appearance:

In terms of appearance, that sour cream doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. The salsas I encounter tend to fall into one of three consistencies: 1)thick and chunky, 2)thin and watery, or 3)something resembling spaghetti sauce. This one falls squarely in category 3. That description usually only applies to salsas I’ve tried from independent manufacturers, so it’s pretty neat to see it in a store-brand item. I suppose it’s possible that the sour cream actually accounts for the smoother consistency here.

Smell and Taste:

This smells almost like a typical salsa, but the fresh tomato scent seems to be downplayed a bit in favor of the peppers. Likewise, the flavor is indeed reminiscent of standard salsa, but the creamier texture leaves a very good impression. This isn’t the sort of salsa you have to chew.

Ratings:

FIRE
FLAVOR

The heat scale on the jar claims that this one is a Medium, and I’ll be generous enough to give it that rating as well. (On a side note, both this product and That Green Sauce come in Mild and Medium varieties out of a three-point scale, but I’ve never seen a Hot.) This is definitely a low-end Medium, though, and only gets that rating because there is a slight kick. The heat on this one doesn’t really build or stack, though, and I quickly became accustomed to it to the point that I didn’t even notice it after a few bites. But I didn’t stop at a few bites! Before I knew it, nearly a third of the jar was gone, and I had to put down my chips long enough to finish writing this review. It may not be the very best salsa product on the market, but the sheer addiction factor of That Red Sauce is enough for me to give it a Notable.

Suggested Uses:

This is practically begging to be poured on some tamales, and I really wish I had some. Really, though, this works pretty much like a typical salsa, just without the chunks. Like some other spaghetti sauce-style salsas, it could also work quite well as the base for a pizza.

Final Word:

I think I’m going to have to hoard jars of That Red Sauce and That Green Sauce for December and have my own delicious Christmas. Actually, I wonder what they taste like together. I’ll get another jar of That Green Sauce and let you know.

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