Pearl Snap Salsa and Peppers makes their debut at ‘The Jack’

By Vernee Green-Myers

Mark Lambert and Sweet Swine of Mine Distributing are known for hosting killer pre-event dinner parties.  This past October was no different.  As I was walking by the SSOM site to check out the “Little Red Box” smoker, I noticed jars of salsa with chips sitting on a table for the guests.  After standing for hours taking photos, I grabbed a chip and scooped up some salsa and popped it into my mouth.  It was really good!  So I asked the guy standing there, “What is this?”  He said, “It’s Pearl Snap Salsa. A buddy of mine makes it.  I have some hotter in the trailer if you want to take a jar and try it.  It’s too hot to put out for the general public.”  Of course, I enthusiastically agreed.  You hear that all the time and people have different opinions, but this time I was inclined to believe him based solely upon the list of the ingredients.  He also had some jars of pepper jelly that he said was good to pour over cream cheese and eat with crackers.  I saw a jar of jelly labeled “HabanApple” that I was dying to try, but not over cream cheese.  I wanted to use it in a rib glaze instead of regular apple jelly.  So I grabbed an empty box and took a few jars home.  Over the last two months, I think I have tried every Pearl Snap Salsa product.  

Pearl Snap Salsa and Peppers was founded by Brian Shieldnight on his family-owned farm in Coweta, Oklahoma, following a career in the military.  For three generations, Shieldnight’s family has grown, canned, dried, and frozen just about every type of food you’d grow on a farm.  Some of the products like the Green Tomato Relish come from “Grandma’s secret recipe.”  Other recipes are “newly created concoctions” which are bound to make them famous.  Their latest product, “Atomic 12,” is the world’s hottest salsa.  And yes, I’ve tried them all.  It took a couple of months to get up the nerve to try the hottest, but I did it!

First, let’s talk about the jellies.  Many competition BBQ pitmasters use jelly for their glazes.  Some use apple jelly, some use grape jelly, and some use pepper jelly.  Pearl Snap offers Jalapeno Pepper, Habanapple, Habanero Pepper, Ghost Pepper, and Scorpion Pepper Jellies.  Forget apple jelly when making your next batch of rib glaze.  Want that perfect, sticky, shiny glaze with a little heat?  After you try the HabanApple, an apple-based jelly with the kick of Habanero peppers, you’ll never go back to regular apple jelly again.  With what else can you eat it?  Pull out those biscuits, smear with butter and HabanApple jelly, and you’ll be singing hallelujah even before going to BBQ church!  Joyce Shieldnight, Brian’s mother and master canner, made a few other suggestions that we tried.  Got a sore throat or congestion?  Add a teaspoon of Habanapple jelly to your favorite hot tea instead of sugar or honey.  Another favorite was adding a tablespoon of Jalapeno Pepper Jelly to cornbread mix to give it a little kick.  The Scorpion Pepper Jelly and Ghost Pepper Jelly are both perfect over cream cheese.  The Scorpion is hot!  The Ghost Pepper definitely has some heat to it, but it’s absolutely awesome on a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich!

The Salsas range from “Sweet No Heat” to “Atomic.”  All are made with all-natural ingredients.  They cannot label it as organic because they use a municipal water source, but none of their salsas have any added ingredients, such as oils or extracts.  They are made with homegrown products and do not separate or settle as other store bought brands.  The three varieties most popular with the “general public” are the Sweet with No Heat, a mild salsa perfect for family taco night; Miss Debbie K’s, a medium heat salsa; and Red Rain, a hot salsa.  Notice, I didn’t say their “hottest” salsa.  Pearl Snap has two more varieties that are extremely hot.  

The Pepper X Salsa has 10 of the hottest peppers known to mankind, including the Ghost Pepper and Scorpion Pepper.  Ghost peppers range from 855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the pepper scale. Scorpion peppers range from 1,200,000 SHU to 2,000,000 SHU. The Atomic 12 Salsa has 12 peppers and includes the Ghost Pepper, all varieties of the Scorpion pepper, and also adds the Carolina Reaper.  As of 2014, the Carolina Reaper is currently the Guinness World Record holder for World’s Hottest Chile and ranges from 1,400,000 to 2,200,000 SHU.

When asked about the Atomic 12, Joyce Shieldnight said, “LaPinta restaurant in Albequerque, NM, posted that they had the world's hottest salsa in 2012. Their SHU was 12,000.  They threw out a challenge to beat that.  They use the Moruga Scorpion Pepper, I believe.  My son, Brian picked up the challenge and ATOMIC-12 was born!”  Pearl Snap Salsa and Peppers had their salsa tested by Southwest Bio Labs in Las Cruses, NM, for a chemical analysis and recently applied to Guinness World Book of World Records to have their salsa analyzed.  According to Joyce Shieldnight, “We have "THE WORLD'S HOTTEST NATURAL SALSA," the heat coming only from the natural ingredients: no additives such as pepper extracts, capsaicin, or other oils.  The Lab results of our Scoville Heat Unit  analysis was...are you ready for this?  79,100 SCOVILLE HEAT UNITS!  We will provide a copy of the lab results for anyone who is interested in them and asks for them.  Our ATOMIC-12 (or A-12 as we call it around here) is literally more than six times hotter than LaPinta's!”

So, if you need to spice things up in your life or if your BBQ sauce or glaze needs a little heat, you should try Pearl Snap Salsa.  Let me forewarn you: “A little dab will do you!”  The Atomic 12 is a slow build and continues to heat up for several minutes.  It has a really good, full pepper flavor that you get to enjoy about 35 seconds before the heat becomes too much.  My recommendation is that you add a pea size drop to your bowl of chili and stir well!    
Pearl Snap Salsa and Jellies can be purchased online at

Photo by Vernee Green-Myers/The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
Pearl Snap Salsas, Jelly, and Relish.

Photo by Vernee Green-Myers/The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
Pepper X and Atomic 12 ingredients.

Photo by Vernee Green-Myers/The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
Atomic 12...A little dab will do ya!

Photo by Vernee Green-Myers/The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
After 35 seconds, it brought tears to my eyes.

Photo by Vernee Green-Myers/The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow
Six minutes later, the heat is still rolling!


Website design by Wyoming Network, Inc.