People had been trying to talk him into it for years. Chris Ringo developed his salsa recipe after moving to Oregon from Texas to marry his wife, Ruby. He couldn't find a salsa he liked and missed the Tex-Mex flavors from home. His salsa always found its way onto the table when they had people over. After guests tried it, they often responded with, "This is the best salsa I've ever had," and, "Why aren't you marketing this?"
- Lisa Sipe
- The illustrated face on the Pirate Ringo's Salsa label is Chris Ringo, which he drew himself. Through genealogical research he discovered there were pirates in his family.
Ruby Ringo asked if she could try one post on Facebook to see what happens. After years of saying no, Chris Ringo said yes. In the evening post, she offered to ship jars of salsa to friends and family. They woke to 19 orders, and Pirate Ringo's Salsa was born.
The couple quickly decided they couldn't produce out of their kitchen and needed a bigger space. With Chris Ringo working for the U.S. Postal Service, they also needed a co-packer because he had limited time. Almost two years since the Facebook post, Pirate Ringo's Salsa was on store shelves.
The Ringos have a big family, with five kids. Ruby Ringo is a stay-at-home mom while running the salsa business. Chris often teases and says, "I made the salsa to eat, because I'm a big fat guy who likes eating salsa. My wife keeps taking away all my delicious salsa and selling it, so I go buy stuff to make more—but when I get that batch finished, she tells me she's already sold all that, too. It's pitiful, I tell ya."
Smoky chipotle is behind the great flavor and the rich, crimson color in the original Pirate Ringo's Salsa. Tomatoes are used as filler in many cooked salsa brands to keep costs down, but Chris Ringo doesn't take any shortcuts.
Mild is listed on the label, but it eats like a hot. The salsa is rich, flavorful and smoky. Heat starts to hit the back of your palate and continues to bloom. I have a high tolerance for heat, so it was perfect for me. My husband was my chip model when I took photographs for this article. When his shoot was finished, I put the salsa next to him so I could photograph the chili and rice. When I was done, so was the salsa. Luckily, it comes in a 17-ounce jar so there was some for me.
At $16.95, this is an expensive salsa, but it goes a long way. With one jar I served chips and salsa, cooked chili and Spanish rice and had a little left over. It goes great in sloppy joes and meatball sandwiches, and you can add it to cream cheese or sour cream for a quick dip.
More flavors—including Pieces of Eight and Pirate's Inferno—are coming in 2019. You won't find heat in Pieces of Eight, just lots of flavor. Chris Ringo developed it as a gift for his wife because she's sensitive to heat. Pirate's inferno is a different story. With habanero and jalapeno, it packs a lot of heat, but it's balanced out with sweet mango and peach. When I tried it, I didn't first notice the heat and then boom, fire in the hole!
Find Pirate Ringo's Salsa at Central Oregon Locavore, Food 4 Less and Farm 2 Friends.
- Lisa Sipe
- Yo Ho Ho Spanish Rice.
Yo Ho Ho Spanish Rice
1 cup rice
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup original Pirate Ringo's Salsa
Pinch of salt
Bring water, salsa and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add rice and stir. Cover the pot and simmer for 18 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for five minutes. Fluff rice with fork. For lazy pirates, ditch this recipe and grab a bag of precooked rice. Heat in microwave and stir in salsa.
- Lisa Sipe
- Hearty Pirate Chili.
Hearty Pirate Chili
1 lb. ground beef
15.5 oz can chili beans
½ cup or more original Pirate Ringo's Salsa
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. avocado oil
Salt to taste
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add chopped onion, cook for five minutes. Add ground beef and break apart; cook until beef is cooked through. Add tomato sauce, Pirate Ringo's salsa and chili beans. Simmer for 20 minutes.