Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alien Fresh Jerky - Whiskey Jerky

Alien Fresh Jerky - Whiskey JerkyNext in the series on Alien Fresh Jerky is this Whiskey Jerky variety. You can see all the previous reviews I've done on Alien Fresh here.

Alien Fresh Jerky is mostly known for its unique store located in the tiny desert town of Baker, CA. The town is an oasis for Southern Californians travelling to Las Vegas, with restaurants, gas stations, and curio shops. The Alien Fresh store not only sells a wide variety of jerky, but all the cool alien gear, like shirts, mugs, toys, etc. Check out my Flickr photoset.

This Whiskey Jerky variety actually lists bourbon as an ingredient. Alien Fresh claims that it's marinated in bourbon, and is one of their best sellers.

Ingredients

Beef, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, seasoning (brown sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, spices, paprika, garlic, smoke flavoring, spice, vegetable oil), bourbon, vinegar, honey, corn syrup solids, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a heavy sweet flavor, followed by a light smokiness, and a faint spicy tingle in the back my of mouth. I can taste a fair amount of BBQ sauce, and I can taste the cayenne pepper too.

The chewing flavor doesn't seem to offer anything different. I get more of the same from the surface.

As for that bourbon, I don't really taste it. I can sense something that has a light caramel-like flavor, which is what you might expect to find in bourbon, but I believe that's just the BBQ sauce and heavy sweetness. Otherwise, there's no alcohol flavor, nothing that resembles whiskey.

The BBQ sauce seems to have the dominant flavor of this jerky. It's clearly a BBQ sauce flavor, as opposed to BBQ seasoning flavor. It's strong enough to be easily noticed, but not so strong that it completely takes over the palate. The sauce has a tangy, heavily sweet, and smoky flavor, very similar to a KC's Masterpiece original flavor.

I don't find any natural meat flavors.

The salt intensity seems light.

The cayenne pepper is noticeable, but I tend to find it in the latter half of chewing. It registers a low level of heat, still mild on my hot scale, maybe mild-medium to tongues of lesser tolerance. Perhaps this simulates the burn you get drinking a shot of whiskey.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is initially a heavy sweetness that morphs into a BBQ sauce flavor. You'll get a bit of saltiness, a little cayenne flavor and burn, and that's largely it. No whiskey or bourbon flavor at all.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in medium to large pieces. While they appear to be whole meat, they still have a rough appearance that suggests it may have been pounded, or had holes pressed into it.

It's a dry jerky, but has a soft flexible feel. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers requires some effort, and chewing is also labored, perhaps "tough" in many places.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, and a little gummy. It seems to chew down to a soft mass quickly enough, though again with some labored chewing. But once down to a soft mass, it has something of a steak-like texture, though a little bit gummy, perhaps due to a heavy layering of sweet.

I don't really find any chunks or streaks of fat on these pieces. However, I did find a fair amount of unchewable tissues, perhaps sinews that seem to remain in mouth. Otherwise, no gristle or tendon.

In terms of clean eating, it seems to be pretty much so. My fingers don't pick up any residue, no stickiness, and no meat fragments flying off.




Snack Value

I bought this Whiskey Jerky from the Alien Fresh Jerky store in Baker, CA. Each 4oz bag is priced at $8.00. However, they have a deal where you buy three bags for $20.00, and I bought six bags (each a different variety) total for $40.00. That works out to a price of $1.67 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.67 price per ounce, it seems to provide a fair value. I'm actually getting a low level of snackability, mostly due to a chewy, gummy, meat quality, and satisfactory flavor at best. But the $1.67 price per ounce is actually right on the mark with most mass-market jerky brands.

As a Whiskey Jerky, at the same $1.67 price per ounce, it seems to offer a poor value. I just don't get any sense of whiskey flavor. I see that it contains bourbon. But if you bought a package of this thinking you might experience some kind of whiskey or alcohol flavor, you won't.

Rating

I'm giving this a fair rating.

This Whiskey Jerky from Alien Fresh Jerky is largely a BBQ sauced flavored jerky. I believe it's meant to mimic the range of whiskey and bourbon flavored BBQ sauces that you often find at rib joints and steak houses. But, the packaging only says, "Whiskey Jerky".

For that matter, I just didn't get any sense of whiskey or bourbon flavor from this. It tastes largely like BBQ sauce.

The meat consitency is strange. It appears to be a whole muscle jerky, but had something done to it, like maybe pounded, or had holes pressed into it. Either way, it's somewhat chewy, and a little tough in places, and a fair amount of unchewable wads left behind in my mouth.

Overall, if I evaluate the flavor for what it is, it has a satisfying taste, but I wouldn't call it good. Had this offered a better meat consistency, I'm sure it would have provided enough snackability to get an average rating.

I think a good beer pairing for this is a red ale.

Rating: Fair

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