Having reviewed varieties from the House of Jerky brand already, I came to this package of "Hot Beef Jerky", wondering if this would actually be "hot" as the label claims. It seems whenever you see a product claiming to be hot, it's usually never hot, more like mild.
A quick look at the ingredients list confirms that this could definitely be hot, combining a mixture of Tabasco Sauce, habanero pepper, and red chili pepper.
If you've read my other reviews of House of Jerky, you'll know that I've given them all "best" ratings, for the taste-complexities, outstanding natural meat flavors, and ease of eating. With such a record of excellence, I wondered if the "best" streak would continue into this Hot Beef variety.
Beef (top round), soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, pineapple juice, water, Tabasco Sauce, habanero pepper, red crushed chili pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, liquid smoke, black pepper, white pepper, ginger powder.
The first taste I sense upon placing a piece into my mouth is a thick sweetness. These pieces are almost like eating a teriyaki variety, with its combination of soy sauce and sugar. The sweetness is so evident that my fingers require some licking before I can press the keys on my keyboard.
But within seconds I feel a tingling on my tongue that strengthens soon after into a mild burn. Continuing on with more bites, the burn builds up more intensity, and I feel a little tingling on my scalp, and the skin on my forehead moistens up a bit, indicating that things are going to get hotter.
I'd rate the "hot" factor as probably being somewhere between "medium hot" and "hot". It's not terribly hot, but just enough to give my mouth a good burn, and make me take a swig of water here and there. It's still just gentle enough to keep me eating straight through, and not have to hesitate between bites.
I can also taste the red chili pepper slightly, and sometimes more strongly when my teeth bite into a seed.
It's not too terribly salty, though the salt taste is also evident here. While the ingredients list includes black pepper, I don't taste much of it. I do see some of it on the pieces, but it appears to be there either for visual effect, or as a very slight taste enhancer.
The natural meat flavors are there, but are more overshadowed by the spiciness and sweetness than with other varieties from House of Jerky. But it's the same great meat taste that I found in the other varieties. And speaking of the meat flavors, it manages to taste fresh considering its absent of any artificial preservatives.
Overall, this is another great tasting jerky variety from House of Jerky. It's probably more accurate to market this as a "sweet and spicy" variety, since you're getting a lot of sweetness as well. Interestingly, the company does offer a Sweet & Spicy variety, which I reviewed earlier, and found to be less hot than this.
These are real slices of meat, sliced into medium to thin slices, and in small, medium, and large pieces.
Despite the glossy wet appearance in the photos below, this jerky is largely dry. The sticky sweetness is what makes it appear moist. But it's still easy to tear apart and chew. Some of the pieces did require a tad more effort, but still nothing that would detract from the overall enjoyment.
I found a good amount of fat streaks in these pieces as portrayed in the photos below. But I did not find any tendon or gristle.
Overall, the meat consistency provides a great beef jerky experience.
House of Jerky sells this Hot variety on its website at a price of $10.50 for 4oz package. That works out to $2.63 per ounce. The company says that price includes the shipping. You can also get this at a lower price from one of their many outlet stores across the country.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.63 per ounce price, I'd say that this has a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability from its overall good flavor and meat consistency. That $2.63 price per ounce is higher than the national brands found at grocery stores, but you'll find better flavor and consistency.
As a hot beef jerky, at the same $2.63 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I do get a good deal of heat, at a medium-hot level, along with some chile pepper flavor. Compared to other brands of hot jerky, I've had hotter at similar or lower prices, though not necessarily with as much snackability as House of Jerky.
I'm giving this a "best" rating.
House of Jerky seems to have found a winning combination of infusing together intense flavorings with great tasting meat, all while providing an ease of chewing, in a product that's free of preservatives.
I was wondering if this variety of Hot Beef Jerky would live up to its billing as being hot, and I believe it does. But it's actually a "sweet and hot" variety, or perhaps a hot teriyaki variety if you want to think of it that way, as well as offering some extra chili/pepper flavor sensations to boot.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a barley wine, where its caramel notes will blend into the strong sweetness of this jerky, and leave you with the heavy malt to balance out the meat flavors. Try an Alesmith Old Numbskull, or a Stone Old Guardian.
Originally reviewed June 18, 2008.
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