Pace Picante Sauce



by Todd Wilbur




             Texan David Pace had been selling 58 different varieties of jam, jellies and sauces from the

        back of his liquor store in the 1940's when he came up with a recipe for a thick and spicy

        tomato-based sauce he dubbed "Picante." When sales of David's new sauce took off, he

        concentrated all his efforts on marking his all-natural, preservative-free product, and designed

        the sauce's famous hourglass-shaped jar (to keep it from tipping over). Now America's number

        one Mexican hot sauce brand, Pace Foods makes it known that it still uses only fresh jalapeno

        peppers in the sauces, rather than the brined, less flavorful jalapenos -- like those canned nacho

        slices. Each year all the fresh jalapenos used by the company weigh in at around 30 million

        pounds, and the nation gobbles up around 120 million pounds of the zingy sauces. Here's a simple

        recipe to make a kitchen copy of the medium heat level Pace Picante Sauce which was the first

        variety David created. The mild and hot versions were added in 1981, and you find clones for

        those at the bottom of the recipe in "tidbits."


        1 10.75-ounce can tomato puree

        1 can full of water (1 1/3 cups)

        1/3 cup chopped Spanish onion

        1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno peppers, with seeds (3-4 peppers)

        2 tablespoons white vinegar

        rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt

        1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion

        1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic


        1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium/high heat.

        2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick.

        3. When cool, bottle in 16-ounce jar and refrigerate overnight. (

        Makes 2 cups (16 oz.).



        For the mild version of the salsa, reduce the amount of fresh jalapenos to 2 rounded tablespoons

                                          (2-3 jalapenos).

               For the hot variety, increase the amount of jalapenos to 1/3 cup (4-5 jalapenos