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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Editor's Choice: Pepper Dog Specialty Foods

Ah, fall. The leaves are falling, football fever is filling every family room and sports bar, and Midwesterners, myself included, are preparing for what might be the coldest winter yet (the weather man says that every year, though). Fall is truly a season of transition (winterizing cars for the months ahead, layering cardigans to makes summer’s tops last a few weeks longer), and I happily stumbled upon an impressive transitional salsa in Pepper Dog Specialty Food’s Pepper Dog Hot Salsa.

When I brought home my jar of hot salsa, I was too eager to try it in a recipe so I gingerly dipped a corn chip in the smooth salsa. First thought, “That wasn’t so bad. Wait. OMG, my mouth is on fire.” The transitional beauty that is Pepper Dog Salsa was yet to be discovered. On a surprisingly warm Labor Day, I drizzled mine on a grilled vegetarian hot dog (the key to veggie dogs is adding lots of toppings). The kick was intense but I devoured that dog and went back for seconds.

Now convinced I could handle the Pepper Dog Salsa’s heat in greater volume, I added 3/4 of the jar to a batch of chili. The company has found that its salsa’s super-smooth texture lends it to become a perfect cooking sauce to add kick to tried-and-true recipes. On the back of the jar, Pepper Dog offers a chili recipe for an easy-to-make five-minute chili using kidney beans and ground beef. I made mine with a mixture of black, red and kidney beans, a cup of 312’s finest brew, tomatoes, corn, onion and green pepper. The heat from the salsa was noticeable, but didn’t dominate the rest of the flavors. A new kick to spice up the fall fave.

My falls typically start with chili and the meal takes me through winter up until the tulips begin to bloom in the spring. I’m excited to spice up this fall staple with more spice from Pepper Dog, but I think the salsa is something that’ll stick around and find its place on a picnic table next summer.

More info on Pepper Dog Salsas can be found at