“ Type: Other Ready Meals „
COST (per 415g can): Between 85p and £1.20, depending on where bought
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving, recommended as half a can):
- of which sugars: 8.5g
- of which saturates: 1.9g
Salt equivalent: 1.5g
Beans, tomatoes, water, pork & beef meatballs, onion, red pepper, wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, chilli, sugar, diphosphates (stabiliser), herbs, spice, garlic powder, glucose/fructose syrup, modified cornflour, salt, spirit vinegar, spice extracts, herb extracts
No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
Heinz Red Hot Balls come in the standard Heinz Beans tin, with the turquoise-blue coloured label we are all familiar with, and a ring-pull opening device. On the front of the tin is an image on a white background of two meatballs with a tiny serving of baked beans, and underneath the words "A hot pair yesterday". Above that image, in bold black letters are the words "Red Hot Balls", and in fainter black letters which are underlined in red, the words "Spicy Meatballs, Get Hot & Saucy with Beans Exclusive!". At the top of the label on a red panel and in white lettering is the standard "Heinz" logo, with the words underneath (in smaller white letters) "Full Edition", "Making headlines since 1869" and "Every Day". Just to the right of that shape are two panels - the first is headed "Hot Action" and gives a little anecdote about starlet Trish Steel (whoever she may be!), with another little anecdote underneath about men's club owner Gareth Beeson, which is headed "Ball Room". On the other side of the shape, to the left, are another two small panels, inside of which Heinz introduce this product.
The back of the can contains the nutritional and dietary information, cooking instructions, and advice on how to store the product once the tin has been opened. There is a red panel containing the words "The Sauce" in white lettering, and a strange little short statement about Heinz making the catwalk with spicy meatballs; this is headed in black lettering with the words "Heinz Beanz Are Hot To Trot". Just to the right of this is a smaller version of the same meatballs and beans image which appears on the front of the can - this time in silhouette format.
On opening the can of Heinz Red Hot Balls (I decided to have them with some bread for a late night snack), there was no distinctive smell. I couldn't actually see any meatballs at first, so assumed they had sunk to the bottom of the tin - so I tipped the contents into a saucepan. I had to shake the tin a few times, as some of the beans adhered to the sides and bottom, but I didn't have to gouge them out with a sharp instrument. As the mixture bit by bit plopped into the pan, I noticed that the beans and sauce were a slightly brownish colour, and the meatballs were bite-sized. It didn't take long to heat up, and I gave the mixture a few stirs as the sauce was nicely thick, which pleased me. Whilst heating up, the mixture took on a sort of a mild bacon-ish smell that reminded me of Heinz Beans & Bacon Burgers which were on sale during the 1970s.....I don't think they are still being produced.
Once heated right through, I poured the cooked article into a soup bowl, sat down, put my feet up and sampled the goods. First, I dipped a piece of bread into the sauce, sampled, and was pleased with the taste.....but a little surprised too, because I was expecting it to be fiery hot, when it merely tasted as if I'd just added a small sprinkle of pepper....initially, the hotness of the sauce didn't live up to the claims on the can. The meatballs had given the sauce a slightly meaty flavour, but to me it wasn't overly spicy.
As I continued to eat a few of the beans, I deduced that there had been some kind of delayed reaction, as mouthful by mouthful, the hotness increased - probably to that of a moderately hot Indian restaurant curry. Time to sample one of the meatballs....I speared one with my fork, popped it into my mouth, and chewed. I noticed that the meatballs had little flecks of red embedded into the meat, and I assumed them to be finely chopped red chillies. I found the consistency of the meatball I was chewing on to be rather unpleasant...it was very firm (although easy to chew), but I didn't like the overall flavour of the meat. Suddenly I felt as if my mouth was on fire - and I was thus pleased with that sensation, because it meant that Heinz hadn't completely exaggerated the spicy hotness of this product.
I did manage to eat all the meatballs, but decided I didn't like them at all. It wasn't the fiery hotness which put me off - far from it - it was the general consistency of the meat which for some reason made me feel as if I was eating the very worst innards of animals which we don't normally consider edible; a very strange sensation. The beans were delicious though, and so was the sauce, and I happily mopped up all the sauce clinging to the soup bowl with my bread, swallowing it with relish. Even 45 minutes later, my mouth was still tingling from the hotness of the meatballs, but I didn't mind that.
Overall, I was rather disappointed in half of this product, but was very pleased with the other half. I think it would be a great idea if Heinz were to make up Heinz Red Hot Balls to the recipe as it stands, do whatever the canning process involves, then remove the meatballs and just sell the beans on their own, yet retaining the meatball spiciness which has infused into the sauce.
To summarise - great beans, great sauce.......shame about the meatballs! I don't think I will be buying these again, unless the meatballs are taken out first.....or alternatively, improve the consistency of the meat, then I may think again.
Thanks for reading!