Back in the late 1980’s – early 90’s Bo Jackson was THE MAN! A powerful running back for the Raiders during the NFL season, while crushing bombs for the Royals during the pro baseball season. Top that with massive endorsements from Nike that included a marketing campaign of “Bo Knows” showing him excelling, or at least attempting various activities from pro sports to electric guitar. Was there anything Bo couldn’t do (besides hockey that is)? Everyone was a fan of Bo, I even named my dog after him – he was big, powerful and fast. The flame burned out too quickly on his career however, thanks to hip problems and unlike many former stars, you don’t see Bo too much on a national scale at least.
So imagine my surprise when I saw ‘ole number 34 emblazoned on packages of frozen seafood at a local supermarket. Bo is back! This time instead of crushing dingers into the fountains at Royals Park, he’s slinging sliders as part of his “Signature Series” of frozen foods. I instantly grabbed a box of his Signature Salmon Sliders because I just had to find out: Does Bo know seafood?
Before cooking these salmon sliders I attempted to contact Bo Jackson’s Signature Foods as well as Bonamar, the distributor. When no response came in I even sent Bo Jackson a message through his Instagram to see if I could get anyone to give me some information. The main thing I was interested in was the source of their salmon. I held off cooking these for two weeks to get a response, but I got nothing.
The box is small and has a graphic of Bo standing on a spectral gridiron, holding a tray of what look like full-sized salmon burgers thanks to the old camera trick of forced-perspective. The former world class athlete proudly displays his corporate sponsorships on his apron and cap. The back shows Bo dressed to the 9’s above a testimonial of his love of food.
In the list of ingredients one thing that stuck out was the salmon in these patties has been treated with STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate). This is the preservative used in “wet” scallops to increase their water weight. In and of itself, the use of STPP in small amounts is not a big deal in “value-added” seafood, it helps keep the product from drying out in the freezer. However, products saturated in high levels of STPP tend to shrink up or fall apart while cooking once all that excess water leeches out of the fish as a milky-white liquid. If your seafood product is steaming, rather than searing thanks to a puddle of water in the pan, it is probably from overuse of STPP.
The box contained six small, pink, puck-shaped patties, speckled with bits of bell pepper. All but one of the sliders were uniform in shape. I left the mutant slider in the box and chose 3 good looking patties to cook.
I followed the instructions to saute 3 frozen sliders. They took a little longer per side than the box said. There was a fishy aroma while cooking, but it wasn’t overpowering – trust me, my wife would let me know. I put two of the sliders on potato bread hamburger buns with a little lettuce and dijonaise sauce (equal parts dijon and mayonnaise, pepper and a dash of seasoning salt). The other I ate plain to taste on its own.
Better than I expected, but not good enough for me to buy again. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no fishy flavor and they were not overpowered with red bell pepper. What I tasted most was the stuffing but some bites had more salmon flavor than others. I would have questioned just how much salmon was in the sliders but I found a fish bone in one of them. They also did not shrink that much in size while cooking, which I took as a sign that the salmon is not totally saturated in STPP.
I will cook my other 3 sliders sometime soon, probably in the oven so I can try both cooking methods, but there are other frozen products I like better when making a fish sandwich at home. So did Bo crush this one out of the park? I would have to say no, I would consider his Signature Series Salmon Sliders more of a base hit than a home run.
But hey….a hit is a hit right? If you have tried these sliders, or his ahi tuna variety, let me know your thoughts in the comments.