Habanero is the newest variety of beef jerky from Oh Boy! Oberto. I saw a package at my local Albertson's, and decided to try it out.
It's pretty much your standard Oh Boy! Oberto beef jerky that we're all too familiar with, but with some added spiciness.
The habanero pepper has a reputation of being among the hottest pepper varieties on the planet, and is something I've come to respect after an unfortunate experience at a Tijuana taco shop a couple of years ago. As a result, I get this "knee-jerk" reaction to anything associated with the Habanero.
So when I saw this Habanero variety of beef jerky, I had this thought that it might actually be hot. But then again, there always seems to be a disappointment with commercial food products that make outrageous claims of how "hot" they are. And I had the same reservations when I saw that Oh Boy! Oberto, the world's largest beef jerky manufacturer, was crossing paths with the habanero. Yet, thoughts of the Tijuana experience still left me cautious.
It certainly is spicy, but instead of displaying fiery flames on the packaging, it might have been more appropriate to display warm fuzzy bunny slippers. It does warm things up slightly, but it hardly has me reaching for a drink.
Keep in mind that my tongue has developed a tolerance for hot foods. If you're not accustomed to spicy food, then you might certainly consider this to be hot. But then again, that sets up an oxymoron. If you don't much eat much spicy food, then why would you buy something with a flaming habanero pepper on the package? So, why won't OBO just do us spicy-food freaks a favor, and give this beef jerky the Habanero hotness it's supposed to have?
But if you can put the spicy-shortcomings aside, it's still tasty jerky. Considering that I put more weight into snackability and general satisfaction, it does well for "garden variety" beef jerky. If you want something to fuel your movie-watching or you just want something to suck on while you finish your department budget, this is great stuff.
The flavoring in this Habanero variety doesn't really taste anything like a Habanero pepper, or any other kind of pepper. It simply has a spicy kick to it. There is indeed a saltiness to it, but not overly salty. There's a smokiness to it, and there's the slight sweetness that's evident in all OBO jerky varieties.
As with all OBO beef jerkies, the pieces are real cuts of beef. It's also sliced thick, and is not too dry, which is how I like it.
As a beef jerky, I've never been a big fan of OBO. I don't taste much beef at all, and I don't taste much here either. On the other hand, it's not too hard or too soft, and has the right amount of chewiness that I like. The laboratory scientists at OBO do a pretty good job engineering an enjoyable snack. But as far as producing a product that wins high marks with jerky connoiseurs, well...
But then again, that's what the Oh Boy! Oberto brand is about, making cheap snacks that satisfy, and if you evaluate it for that, it's pretty good.
The Habanero variety comes in a 4oz bag, which I paid $5.99. That works out to $1.50 per ounce. That's pretty much in the ballpark with most medium-priced jerkies.
For general snacking, it's a great product. If you like spicy beef jerky, but you don't want your tongue scalded, this is perfect. If your attention is focused on watching a movie, or working, this jerky won't break that attention, but keep you wanting more.
But as far as eating jerky for the love of beef jerky, this product falls short. Even for the Habanero flavoring, it falls short.
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