You should make your own salsa. We all know this. You should roast the chiles and tomatillos yourself, and you should blend it all fresh -- hell, you should be grinding everything by hand with the molcajete you bought in Michoacán. Yeah, and you should be growing all of the ingredients in your own damn garden for ultimate flavor, maybe even move to Mexico for optimal conditions. But to be honest? You’re doing none of that. No, you’re going to buy the best jarred salsa you can find and call that good enough.
Hey, I’m with you. I may have grown up on my Guadalajara-born father’s salsa fresca, I may have a jar of my own homemade salsa macha in the fridge, but I appreciate -- no, I depend on bottled salsa for my everyday needs. But like, good salsa.
So we assembled a panel of Mexican food experts: cookbook authors Pati Jinich and Bricia Lopez, cheese maestro Carlos Yescas, and Masienda founder Jorge Gaviria. We asked for their recommendations--there were some surprises. Then we conducted our own taste test with 25 Thrillist staffers, including executive editor of food Nicole Taylor and yours truly. For the most part we skipped a lot of the usual mainstream brands, and just for fun we included a couple of smaller, craft brands you've just got to try.
Herewith, we give you our new salsa list, created for people like us, eaters who know the majesty of a well-crafted salsa. This is for those of us who have tasted revelatory host sauces on the beaches of Todos Santos, or at the food stands of Mexico City, or that cool taqueria around the corner. Go on and try something new. And if there's a brand you absolutely love that we overlooked, please tell us about it.