For well over a year people have been suggesting that I try Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa. While I have had recommendations from about 5 different people both sui generis and lefty have provided most of the prodding with lefty even offering to bring a jar to the most recent lunch outing we had together (he forgot). While I had been told it was at various Eagan grocery stores I generally do not frequent, I kept checking the shelves of those that I do until I came across it at Apple Valley’s Cub on Saturday morning.
Apple Valley’s Cub has a fairly decent selection of salsas spanning entire heat and price ranges. Mrs. Renfro’s selections take up an entire shelf right at eye level. However, oddly, I found the jar of ghost pepper salsa on the left most side of the bottom shelf. Odd. I picked up a jar, without even looking at the price tag, and went about completing the rest of my trip.
I got the jar home and took a closer look. The warnings on the label are of the usual ridiculous variety and include “HOT!!!” and “Caution: Scary Hot”. They provide a little blurb about the ghost pepper being certified by Guinness in 2007 and how if you think their black bean salsa is hot then you probably shouldn’t be purchasing a jar of this. It goes on to list the ingredients which are: tomatoes, water, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic, green chile peppers, distilled vinegar, corn starch, salt, ghost peppers, garlic, spices, cilantro.
Nodding over the fact that there as nothing in the ingredients that was artificial, although wondering why they bothered with corn starch, I popped open the top. A quick whiff provided the familiar ghost pepper aroma and not a whole lot of anything else. The salsa appeared runny, something I don’t particularly appreciate, but had some chunks here and there.
I tasted the salsa on a few chips. It’s hot to be certain. While not “scary hot” or “hot!!!” it was probably somewhere between “hot!” and “hot!!” While I love the taste ghost peppers provide, this salsa did do much else. It was simply just hot and I can’t say that I really enjoyed it or the cramping it gave to my stomach a few hours later. Just to be sure that it wasn’t a fluke I tried another round later in the evening and came to the same conclusion: a one trick pony.
To me this was nothing more than a generic runny salsa with a bunch of ghost peppers thrown in. They did little to try and capture the heat of the pepper while showcasing the rest of the vegetables. While I’ll probably finish this jar over time it definitely won’t become my go to salsa and I really don’t see any reason to buy it ever again. I’m better off paying $1 for generic mild salsa and adding my own hot sauce. It’ll probably be thicker and have more flavor anyway.
Overall this one was a big pass for me. Hot? Yes. Enjoyable? Not so much.
Have you ever had Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa? If so what did you think about it? Have you had any of their other salsa? If so are they generally runny too? Can you taste the other ingredients? Have you had any other hot salsas you recommend I try? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.