Thursday, April 2, 2009

Damn Good Jerky - Death by Jerky

Damn Good Jerky The last in this series on Damn Good Jerky (unless I get my hands on more), is this variety dubbed, "Death by Jerky". Read my previous reviews of their Original Hickory and Hawaiian Style Teriyaki.

This particular variety is supposed to be their hottest. The package label comes with a warning to "eat at your own risk!!". Looking at this stuff, it seems pretty tolerable.

I notice the ingredients list shows "capsicum oleoresin", which is just another word for "pepper spray". So it seems instead of relying on Mother Nature to burst your capillaries, DGJ douses their meat with the same stuff mailmen use to put down angry dogs.

However, the ingredients also mentions peppers too.


Top round beef, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire, hot peppers, cayenne peppers, capsicum oleoresin, salt, sugar, potassium, sodium bisulfate & xantham gum.


The first thing I taste off the surface of these pieces is a strong saltiness, followed by some chile pepper flavor, and quickly by a good deal of chile pepper burn (probably medium-hot). There's a worcestershire flavor off the surface, and with it a noticeable sweetness.

In the chewing flavors, the first thing I notice is the soy sauce, as well as the worcestershire. The saltiness continues on strong, while the chile pepper continues to wage its wrath in my mouth.

After just one piece, it's definitely is hot. I'd rate this on my hot scale as "hot", and I like to consider myself as someone who tolerates hot foods fairly well. My scalp is itching, forehead is perspiring, eyes are getting misty, nose is running, bloodstream warming up, and the rest of the stuff that goes with a good dose chiles.

But while it's hot, I don't necessarily taste a lot of the natural chile pepper flavors. I do get some off the surface, but it's not strong. Once into the chewing, the soy sauce, worcestershire, and saltiness gets strong enough to drown it out.

The primary flavor of this jerky seems to be the combination of soy sauce and worcestershire. Both seem to tied for first with an equal amount of noticeable flavor. The worcestershire is noticeable on the surface, while the soy sauce doesn't kick in until I start chewing. The worcestershire tends to wear off in the latter part of chewing, while the soy sauce continues.

The saltiness is also quite dominating. I'd rate this as "too salty" in my book, but then again I'm not totally sure that the saltiness is exacerbated by the spicy heat. That could be it. The nutrition facts label, however, shows that sodium content is medium.

I don't taste any natural meat flavors.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

It seems to be a dry jerky, but having a decent amount of flexibility. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy enough, while the chewing seems easy also.

The chewing texture starts a little stiff, but easily bendable with my tongue and teeth. It seems to chew down easily into a soft mass in about 15 seconds, and at that point feels very similar to a chewing a steak, perhaps cooked medium-well. I don't get any mushy, gummy, or crumbly texture.

The pieces all seem to be pretty lean, I don't see any bits of fat, tendon, or gristle. A few pieces did contain some chewy sinews, but overall this wasn't all that bad.

These pieces also tend to drop some tiny fragments of meat on to my lap and desk as I tear them apart. But otherwise, they seem to be fairly clean eating, with no residue on my fingers.

Snack Value

Damn Good Jerky sells all of their jerky varieties from its website at a price of $5.75 for a 3.65oz package. I bought three packages, each of a different variety. Add to that the shipping of $7.74, which brought it to a total of $24.99 for 10.95oz of jerky in all. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.28

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $2.28 price per ounce, this seems to provide a fair value. I get a good snackability for its good flavor and intense flavor, but it's perhaps above the heat tolerance for enjoyable snacking. I mean, I like hot foods, and can definitely appreciate this. But in order to fulfill my snacking urges, I need something around "medium" or "medium hot" so that I can eat, and eat, and eat.

As a hot jerky, at the same $2.28 price per ounce, it's a great value. If HOT jerky is what you're wanting to spend money on, you'll definitely get your money's worth. That price actually is not that bad considering how much burn you'll get back.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This "Death by Jerky" variety from Damn Good Jerky is basically the same flavor as the Original Hickory I reviewed, but with a ton of heat, and a dab of chile pepper flavor. It has a good flavor, just like the Original Hickory, but I had to decide if the addition of that light bit of chile pepper flavor was enough to push it up to a best rating, and I just didn't think it was enough.

Had it added more chile pepper flavor, then perhaps yes. Had it added some natural meat flavors, probably would. As it stands without meat flavors, this jerky has to win with its flavorings, and while they're good, it's just not enough to hit that top mark in my opinion. It's largely a soy sauce and worcestershire, and a lot of saltiness.

While this jerky is certainly "hot", I'm not certain that it's the hottest I've ever had, though it could be. I'm still debating between this, or Papa Dan's Ring of Fire, as being the hottest I've tried to date. I like Papa Dan's for its stronger chile pepper flavor, and light natural meat flavors, but there wasn't much else to that jerky. This Death by Jerky has a lot more flavor with its soy sauce and worcestershire, but offers only a little chile pepper flavor, and no meat flavors. Hard to say which of the two I like better.

My recommnended beer pairing for this? A smooth creamy stout.

Rating: Good

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1 comment:

  1. If you like very hot peppers such as habenero, this will take you there. And you don't die. You actually get used to it making all other hot brands seem like teriaki with a bit of pepper. I actually like the saltiness.