Confession No. 150 — Let 2018 begin! (Recipe: Smoked Tomato Salsa)

At this time one year ago, four of us lived in a 32-foot RV near the Galveston Bay, and we were merely toying with the idea of moving to a (temporary) home so that I could have some peace and quiet for studying. By September, that RV and our new temporary home were mostly gone.

But we also gained more wonderful friendships and positive insight into the human condition than we ever thought possible. Indeed, things didn’t go as planned. And we’re blessed that they didn’t.

As 2018 begins, so too does a new chapter in my wacky life.

Contractors have at last stepped into our Houston-area home to begin repairing storm damage. (We hope to have walls within a month … then floors.) Catherine has set a goal to run another 5K this year, perhaps with me breathing her dust. And I’m going back to school for a masters degree while I continue plying my trade as a public relations guy. Boiler up!

Though our relationships are mostly virtual, they are real to me and I am sincerely grateful to have all of you in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts, words and prayers over these past few months. We count them among the many beacons that helped guide us from our darkest moments.

What will 2018 bring? Who knows? But I feel good knowing that so many wonderful people will be along for the ride.


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Smoked tomato salsa is hardly an original, but it is different. The brightness of the tomato and cilantro are rustically rounded off. Many people like this richness as a chip dipper, but it also adds delicious depth to meats.

Smoked Tomato Salsa

Bowl of salsa on smoker grill

Smoked Tomato Salsa — Rich. Rustic. Bright. Adds delicious depth to meats.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Smoked Tomato Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 1 pint
  • 2 pints – Cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 – Serrano peppers, stemmed*
  • 2 – Garlic cloves
  • 3 TB – Fresh cilantro
  • ½ – Medium onion
  • 2 tsp – Salt
  • 1 - Fresh lime (optional)
Make the salsa
  1. Combine all salsa ingredients in a blender; place in a heat-proof bowl.
Charcoal grill smoking
  1. Light 4-5 charcoal briquets on one side of the grill.
  2. When charcoal becomes grey, top with wood chips.
  3. Place bowl of salsa on the opposite side of the grill as the coals.
  4. Close grill and allow to smoke for 30 minutes.
Gas grill smoking
  1. Weber has the best instructions out there for converting your gas grill to a smoker. Just remember, this is only a 30 minute smoke. Click here for the directions.
Kamado grill smoking
  1. As with the charcoal grill, fire up only a handful of natural lump charcoal.
  2. When the temperature reaches 200º F, top the charcoal with wood chips.
  3. Smoke the salsa for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve this salsa warm or cold. It goes particularly well with (non-smoked) beef or chicken, and makes a wonderful bean & cheese nacho topper.
* - This recipe makes a medium-heat salsa. The smaller the Serrano, the hotter it is. Use Jalapeno, if desired.

** - I use pecan. But oak or any fruit wood will work fine. I would avoid smoking with mesquite, as it imparts a bitter flavor.

*** - Brighten up this salsa with a squeeze of fresh lime, if desired.



  1. Yay to great plans for 2018. Leftovers of this salsa would be awesome as a base for pulled turkey or pork in the crockpot for enchiladas and the like.

  2. You may be on to something here.. This looks yummy!!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Carrie. My recipe certainly isn’t the first of this kind. But it’s fun to make and smokier than most.

  3. Congratulations on your plans for 2018. So very cool. And this Salsa so very not. (I mean that in a hot spicy way). I’ll have to check out those instructions for converting to a smoker. Question: Where have you been living? I simply still cannot believe you’ve been through all of this Adam. Hugs.

  4. Kathryn Rocheleau says:

    Cheers to a fabulous 2018 Adam! You have wowed me with your tenacity and the gracious Texans equally with their humanity and generosity. Now gimme a taco to go with that salsa. Clink!

  5. Kelli Davidson says:

    Big plans for 2018 — me too! I hope both our years are better!! hugs and kisses to you and your lovely wife!

    • adamjholland says:

      Oh, Kelli. I wouldn’t trade my year for yours. Glad you are beginning 2018 on a healthier and more informed track. Godspeed, friend.

  6. Adam, reading your post and absorbing your positive vibe was a great way to start out 2018… sorta like your salsa ingredients soaking up the goodness of smoke. I can’t begin to imagine all you’ve been through during the past year, but a good attitude (and good food) WILL prevail! Best wishes to you ‘n’ yours on the restoration of your hearth and home. I hear ya on the “virtual connection” too. Sometimes it astounds me how many “best friends” I’ve never met. 🙂 2018…

    • adamjholland says:

      You always make me feel at ease. I really need to come up with a nickname for you — The Therapist. 😉 Hope you are well, Kim, and I hope you have a wonderful 2018.

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