Posted July 31, 2007 by Ethan in Reviews

Review: Reviewer Face-Off – Hillbillie Sweet Gormay Salsa (Hot)

Reviewer Face-Off

Opinions are like elbows, everyone has two. And sometimes reviews blur the line between opinions and facts. That was the inspiration for the “Face Off”. Here’s how it works: Two reviewers, one sauce, identical meals, and zero conversation. Ethan and Newman tried “Hillbillie Sweet Gormay Salsa: Hot” on Identical meals at the same time, and then without any discussion, separated and wrote two reviews.

Ingredients: Tomato Sauce, Ketchup (tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, salt, onion powder, spice, and natural flavors) diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions, green bell peppers, brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, tomato paste, habanero peppers, garlic.

Hillbillie Salsa

Newman’s Take
On first look the packaging of Hillbillies Salsa looks pretty common. There’s nothing particularly bad, just nothing particularly special. But just like books and their covers, packaging can be deceiving. Prior to Ethan’s arrival I cheated, and tried some of the salsa on a plain ol’ tortilla chip. I didn’t hate it but, I didn’t love it. I read up on Hillbille’s with the provided materials, and the manufacturer suggests it be used as a ketchup substitute. So we went and picked up some burgers.

Bouquet: You open the jar and the dominant smells are sweet pickle relish, and tomatoes. Overall it’s pretty pleasant as salsa aromas go.

Texture: This salsa is by no means thick and chunky but it does “hold together” nicely, and you don’t need to look too closely to find a pepper or onion chunk.

Taste: On a chip it’s nothing to write home about. But on a burger it’s dope. Ethan and I started eating and about two minutes later the burgers were gone. The sweet relish taste is subtle, the tomatoes are perfect, and the heat is deceptive and delayed. I ate most of the burger before the heat crept in and bit a little. I plan on buying again, and use this as my “first choice” ketchup replacement.

Medal Round:
Package: A Bronze
Heat: A Bronze
Taste: A Gold
Overall: A Silver (taste can carry you a long way, baby! )

Burgers and salsa

Ethan’s Take
I love salsa. It’s common for me to eat half a jar in one sitting without even realizing what I’ve done. Of course, the more salsa I eat the more demanding I become. I almost can’t eat mass-produced store bought salsa anymore. It all tastes the same: tomatoes and onions. When I opened Hillbillie salsa, that’s what I smelled. In fact, it smelled a lot like ketchup. So when Newman suggested we try the salsa on hamburgers (which the salsa’s promotional flyer suggests) I agreed.

But first things first. The packaging, including the overalls-wearing pepper-toting “hillbillie,” is cute, but certainly wouldn’t get me to pick up a jar off the store shelf. As I mentioned, when I opened the standard 16 ounce jar I smelled ketchup. The salsa’s consistency is a lot like most of the major brand salsas I can find at my local grocery chain. It’s well blended with a few chunks to improve the appearance. The liquid part of the salsa always seems mysteriously, unnaturally thick. Nothing out of the ordinary here; it looks a lot like any other salsa.

Now for the good part: it tastes much better than your ordinary salsa! My first bite was underwhelming. Hillbillie Sweet Gormay Salsa tastes quite a bit like ketchup, which I’ll admit disappointed me at first. It claims to be sweet, and it certainly is. In fact, the overall flavor was quite a bit like sweet relish mixed with ketchup. The heat was practically non-existent. But I kept eating, and the taste improved. The heat built up over time, never becoming anything unbearable but definitely making itself noticed. I’d still consider it a mild salsa, maybe a 4 on the HSB heat scale, but those less accustomed to the heat might call it a medium.

On a cheese burger, the flavor really took off. The relish/ketchup combo complemented the beef perfectly. As I warmed to the sweet flavor, I started dipping my fries in the salsa. I devoured the burger, trying to eat it quickly so the salsa didn’t drip out of the bun and onto the wrapper below. Try as I might, I couldn’t catch it all. Luckily I had enough fries to mop up the leftovers.

When all was said and done, I was left wanting more. A lot more. Hillbillie Sweet Gormay Salsa comes highly recommended from this reviewer.

The aftermath

A&I Sauces
624 West Church Street
Galion, OH 44833