Arriba! Bacon Salsa QuesoToday I’m bringing you one of my favorite products in a no-nonsense review. It’s no small secret that the internet is obsessed with bacon, and food manufacturers have responded by incorporating the delicious backmeat in as many items as they possibly can. One of the latest baconated items to hit the shelves is a new queso by Arriba!, maker of various salsa-style items. Yes, this is a jar of queso with actual bacon chunks in it. Yes, I violated my standard rule of photographing virginal containers, because this stuff does not remained unopened around me for long. And yes, this stuff is fantastic.

Ingredients:

Cheddar Cheese Blend (water, dehydrated cheese [cheddar, blue {milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes}, whey, reduced lactose whey, soybean oil, maltodextrin, salt, sodium phosphate], whey, modified food starch, maltodextrin, dextrose, salt, xanthan gum, hydrolyzed soy protein, annato extract), Tomato, Sugar, Tomato Juice, Vegetable Oil, Textured Vegetable Protein (soy flour, caramel color, Red 3), Chipotle Peppers, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Onion, Precooked Real Bacon Bits (cured with: water, salt, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate, may contain sugar, brown sugar, and/or smoke flavoring), Sweet Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Carrot, Salt, Cilantro, Vinegar, Natural Flavor, Artificial Flavoring (hydrolyzed corn-soy-wheat protein, autolyzed yeast extract, partially hydrogenated soybean/cottonseed oils, thiamine hydrochloride, dextrose, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, artificial flavor), Lactic Acid, Paprika, Spices, Garlic,* Onion,* Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Maple Syrup, and Corn Syrup (*Dried)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve often been critical of long ingredients lists in the past. I’m quite the literate fellow, and I could potentially pass an exam to become certified to teach high school science in Texas without too much effort, but I honestly have no idea what some of those things are up there. That is seriously the longest list I have ever typed (it took me longer to type that than it will take to write the rest of this review), and it is also the first time I’ve had to get down to the {…} level of nesting. That said, I harbor no grand delusions about the healthiness of this product. This is purely a guilty pleasure, and it is my birthday, so sue me.

Appearance:

It seriously looks like a standard queso, except that it has chunks of pig floating around in it. That’s amazing, and if you don’t like the sound of that, then there is no hope for you.

Smell and Taste:

For the most part, it smells like a standard salsa con queso. The bacon, however, throws it slightly off, making it smell more like a country breakfast than any other cheese product out there. But the flavor! The flavor! Where you would normally get cheese, peppers, and tomatoes, you also get juicy bacon. I can’t think of any other queso product for which I could aptly use the word “juicy” as a description, but it fits so well here.

Ratings:

FIRE
FLAVOR

There’s hardly any heat to speak of here, but it registers just enough after a while that I’ll give it a Medium. That’s what the jar says, anyway. Still, it’s pretty much as weak as a Medium can get, but I’ll rate it there because it does show the tiniest bit of kick. It really doesn’t matter, though, because this isn’t something you eat for the heat (no matter how blasphemous that sounds here). Let’s be honest: you’re going to eat this for the bacon. The combination of cheese, peppers, and bacon is incredible, especially because the bacon is kept nice and moist, as opposed to those dry fake-bacon things you can put on your salad. It may not be very hot, but this is definitely one of the easiest Notable ratings I’ve given.

Suggested Uses:

I’ve gone through about four jars of this ever since I discovered it, and I’ve yet to find something on which it does not work. Obviously, it is fantastic with a bag of chips, but it also goes amazingly well on tacos, chicken, and even pizza. I like to mix it in with my eggs when I scramble them. Practically any food you can think of can benefit from some cheesy bacon goodness. Make it so.

Final Word:

I don’t really buy into the whole bacon craze, at least not to the point where I’m buying bacon bandages, air fresheners, or stuffed toys. This is about as far as I’ll go, but that’s just fine.

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