Frank's Redhot Steak Strips is a product of Boulder, CO-based Thanasi Foods, LLC, under a license from French's Foods. They're marinated with the Chile 'n Lime version of Frank's Redhot sauce. Read my previous review of Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky.
The marriage between Frank's Redhot sauce and beef jerky originally came in March 2007, when Thanasi Foods launched the original variety of Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky. A year later, they introduced this Chile 'n Lime variety in a "steak strip" form. They also offer these two flavors in meat sticks.
In October 2008, Thanasi won an award from Convenience Store News, a print magazine representing the industry, for this Chile 'n Lime variety as the "Best New Salty Snack" for 2008. Thanasi won comparable awards in 2006 and 2007 from CSP Magazine, another convenience store publication, for its Jim Beam Beef Jerky.
Beef, Frank's Redhot Chile 'n Lime Hot Sauce, water, contains 2% or less of brown sugar, sugar, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, spices, garlic, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate.
The first flavor I taste when I take a bite of this is a clearly identifiable hot sauce flavor, but without the hot sauce burn. That's followed by a mild saltiness, and a faint sweetness. In the chewing, a slight tanginess comes out first, followed by a bit more hot sauce flavor.
For being billed as a Frank's Redhot Chile 'n Lime flavored meat snack, it definitely has the taste of hot sauce, mostly as cayenne pepper and vinegar, but it doesn't have much burn. On my hot scale, I'd classify this as mild-medium. The packaging doesn't make claims that this is hot, though it does state, "The perfect blend of flavor and heat", but I'm not sure if a "perfect blend" means to be hot.
However, the use of the "Frank's Redhot" brand name, the photos of chile peppers, and the red-orange & yellow fireburst graphics all seem to suggest that this is going to singe the lining off my tongue. In that sense, it's something of a disappointment.
There actually is a light tanginess in this that might be construed as lime. It's also possible that tanginess could be from the vinegar in the hot sauce. I don't actually sense the lime flavor, only that light tanginess. Since I've never had Frank's Redhot Chile 'n Lime sauce, I don't really know if this jerky reproduces that flavor exactly. Perhaps the sauce has more lime flavor to it.
I don't pick up any natural meat flavors in this. However, this jerky is considerably greasy, enough so that it adds a fatty flavor. And while the package says that it's "naturally smoked", I don't really detect a smokiness.
The level of salt intensity seems light to medium, and doesn't seem to get in the way of other flavors.
I can also detect a light amount of garlic.
Overall, the Frank's Redhot Chile 'n Lime sauce seems to be the dominant flavor of this jerky, starting from the surface flavor, all the way through the chewing. It's mostly represented as a cayenne pepper flavor and vinegar. You'll get a faint sweetness on the surface, and light amounts of saltiness throughout. In the chewing you'll detect a faint tanginess, and hints of garlic in the background.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium or thick thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a semi-moist jerky, having a lot of flexibility before they crack. It's fairly easy to tear with my fingers, but they're shaped in such a way that you only need to bite off pieces. Ease of chewing seems moderate.
The chewing texture feels very much like real meat, being fibrous, and similar to a steak cooked medium-well. I don't get anything mushy, crumbly, or gummy. The first initial chews do have some elastic resistance, but they seem to give way rather easily, and it hydrates rather quickly.
My fingers pick up a layer of oil handling these pieces, enough so that I have to wipe them off on my jeans before touching this keyboard. But since these pieces are shaped into strips, I can bite off chunks and not get any fragments falling off.
There seems to be several pieces with significant streaks of fat, and I also found a couple of pieces with some rubbery gristle.
Amazon.com is currently selling this product at a price of $25.74 for a quantity of six packages, at 3.5oz each. And at that price, they're waiving the shipping fee. So it all works out to a per ounce price of $1.23, putting this into the average price range. Otherwise, you can expect to pay $6.00 to $7.00 per package at various convenience stores.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.23 per ounce price, it seems to present a good value. I'm picking up a good deal of snackability from the hot sauce flavor, and ease of eating. The chewing texture is generally good, but the presence of gristle is a turn-off for me.
As a hot sauce flavored jerky, also at the $1.23 per ounce price, it presents a fair value. It's a got a clearly unmistakable hot sauce flavor, with its cayenne pepper and vinegar, but it has very little heat. If you're one of those rare, rare, people who love hot sauce flavor, but hates hot sauce heat, then you'll get lots of bang for your buck. Otherwise, you might want dab a few drops of Frank's Redhot sauce on this jerky.
I'm giving this an average rating.
I found it quite snackable for its hot sauce flavor, and perhaps for that reason it represents the Frank's Redhot Chile 'n Lime sauce flavor. It's ease in eating helps keep you snacking along. But then again, those are things I'd expect with any jerky. I couldn't find anything that made this above average.
My biggest "beef" thus far is that it's not hot at all. Some pieces were only mild, while a few had a tad more heat, perhaps mild-medium. Since I've never had the real Frank's Redhot sauce, for all I know the sauce itself might be totally mild as well. Or maybe my tongue has experienced so much hot foods that I've become desensitized. All I know is that I want more heat!
I didn't like the presence of gristle, even though it was only a couple of pieces. And while the overall chewing texture seems good, feeling chunks of rubbery gristle in my jerky just doesn't appeal with me. The streaks of fat in this meat was ok mostly because it didn't have a spoiled flavor.
For my beer recommendation, I'd pair this up with a wheat beer or hefeweizen.
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