We taste-tested six Ohio-made salsas. Because: football.

We taste-tested six Ohio-made salsas. Because: football.

Salsa is the unofficial mascot of the football tailgate and there happen to be a dizzying array of Ohio-made salsas these days–who knew? So the Columbus Monthly staff readied our bottled waters (alas, there were no margaritas) and tasted, scored and ranked a half-dozen brands of Ohio salsa with the goal of finding a favorite.

Someone had to do it.

Out of the six medium-heat salsas we tasted, Ridiculously Good Salsa's Happy Medium won over our staff. The secret: garden freshness with a heat that builds at the end.

Based in Westerville, Ridiculously Good Salsa (RGS) is the 3-year-old creation of the Nortz family, headed by parents Greg and Vickie. Greg, an engineer, is the primary salsa chef in the family, while Vickie, a nurse, focuses on the business side. Their kids, Andrew and Gracie, have contributed feedback, help in the kitchen and valuable motivation ("Mom, you've gotta sell this," Andrew reportedly urged).

The preservative- and sugar-free salsa has a short shelf-life (about three weeks) and is produced at Just Pies' kitchen in Westerville. It's delivered the next day to specialty grocers like Little Eater Produce & Provisions in the North Market and Weiland's Market in Clintonville.

"We would like to be the No. 1 fresh salsa maker in Ohio," says Vickie, adding that they are already working to expand into the Cleveland and Cincinnati markets.

#1 Staff Pick

Ridiculously Good Salsa, Westerville

This refrigerator salsa packs lots of texture and freshness. "Really good burst of cilantro up-front," wrote one staffer.

Up next for RGS? Its first hot salsa will be unveiled at Andrew's wedding in a few weeks. rgoodsalsa.com

Runner-up

Kick Salsa, Columbus

This small-batch brand scored high on flavor; reminds us of a fresh restaurant salsa.

Second Runner-up

Frog Ranch, Athens

The chunkiest salsa of the bunch, Frog Ranch reminds us of the big brands.

Best of the Rest

Montezuma, Columbus

A thinner salsa that's heavy on sweetness and tomato. "Put it on pasta," one staffer suggested.

CaJohn's, Westerville

The medium salsa from this North Market vendor packs a surprising amount of jalapeno heat.

Sugar & Spice, Cincinnati

A polarizing salsa because of its barbecue-y, smoky and sweet profile.