Snacks | Convenience Store

Tijuana Mama – Pickled Sausage

When one makes frequent drives between Sacramento and Los Angeles, you often find yourself grabbing something to snack on in one of the many lone gas stations sprinkled along the 5.  Gas station snacks come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. From a great treat, to the shittiest of shitty foods.  On one such recent trip, I found the Tijuana Mama.

I had just got out of the rundown restroom after using the last functional of their 3 toilets and admiring the gallery of gang graffiti. I grabbed an energy drink to help me endure the rest of the trip, and there she was.

Tijuana Mama

She was sitting in a basket next to the register nestled between a display of lighters and male stamina pills. Her promise of 300% more heat seducing the buds on my spice junky tongue (seriously… I love heat!).

But pickled? Sausage?  I’ve had many a pickled things before, and other than the pickled cow’s tongue I ate at a basque restaurant in Bakersfield one time, few meats have faired well in the pickling process.

Opposite the bright orange label, flashing promises of bitter heat, was what looked to be a convenience store hot dog wrapped in a spent condom.

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Opening the package, the strong scent of concentrated vinegar filled the air.  I’m a fan of vinegar.  I use it frequently in sauces, dressings, and even at one point natural home cleaning products.  But this was quite a bit more pungent than the typical vinegar I use, or even the pickling vinegar my grandpa used to pickle his cucumbers in ceramic pickling jars he’d have stored throughout the house.

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The sausage looked and had the mouthfeel of a typical hot dog.  Nothing spectacular in regards to that.  But the flavor!  It tasted like concentrated vinegar and expired Taco Bell Fire Sauce.  I couldn’t taste any meat at all. It was 100% bitter heat, and not in a good way.  I’ve had ghost peppers in salsa and ice cream, and while the heat was brutal, it was not combined with the stomach churning bitterness of Tijuana Mama’s vinegary revenge.  I could feel a chernobyl reenactment forming in my stomach.

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I can only hope that Tijuana Mama is not as bitter and cruel when she makes a return visit tomorrow…


While the Tijuana Mama sounds great in theory, the combination of bitter and heat just turns my stomach. If the vinegar were toned down, you might have something here.

Where the Tijuana Mama scored best was in appearance. How can you really go wrong with a suasage? Most sausages look like sausages. This is no different. In fact, when sliced, this sausage looked like it could fit in on some high end restaurant’s charcuterie board.

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  1. I beg to differ… Love these and the heat I have been eating them for probably 20 years, they also have the yellow packaged Big Mama. You may need to look for Red Hots similar concept but not as hot and come in a jar with several. They are a smaller size. These are common in the south so you may have to order them. Also if you just want to have a Mukbang of pickled items, order fischers pickled rope bologna, fischers pickled sliced bologna (not prepared the same as rope), fischers pickled eggs (there are many different brands Hannahs is a close second) and i prefer the red to the clear pickled eggs, pickled okra, and the fischers red hots (again there are other brands). People here eat the pickled bologna on saltine crackers, Southern hors d’ oeuvres. 🙂

    1. Wow that all sounds good accept the eggs. I dont do eggs. I love Tijuana Mamas. I live in Missouri and they seem to be popular here. Thanks for the advice on the pickled foods.

  2. I love this blog I’ve either tried or been curious about most the foods on here. And I know people that like some of them. Yes the Big Mama in the yellow package is not hot like the TJ one.

    Canned bread and whole chicken in a can always have fascinated me. A guy I knew tried canned tamales he almost vomited. My dad likes them. I think I’ll buy some tonight.

    He was in Nam so he acquired a taste for the better canned options like the fruit cocktail. I think he even had someone send him canned tortillas.

    I can also speak from experience that being stationed overseas or on ships at sea means getting no or very substandard Mexican food unless you try to make some yourself which can be challenging due to lack of proper ingredients in other countries.

    Maybe besides hoarding these foods for survival is another reason they are still around? Also prisons. I’ve heard of them using the canned octopus to make a version of ceviche or something. Let alone the foil packs or cans of mackerel, yuk. Total cat food.

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