Next up in the series on Mahogany Smoked Meats is this Habanero variety. See my previous review of their Western Strips.
Mahogany Smoked Meats is a brand name of Meadow Farms Country Smokehouse, based in Bishop, CA. The brand goes back to 1922 when the original founder of Meadow Farms, a guy named "Wally", introduced the locals of Bishop to the goodness of smoking meats with Mountain Mahogany wood. Today, the same store is still there, and they're still selling smoked meats of all kinds.
It appears to me that Mahogany doesn't actually make their own jerky; rather it seems to be made by Glenoaks Foods, Inc. of Sun Valley, CA, the same company that makes the J.C. Rivers brand.
In fact, you can read my review of J.C. Rivers' Habanero Jerky, which actually has a very similar list of ingredients.
Beef (top round), soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, water, Tabasco Sauce, red chili peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, habanero pepper, liquid smoke, black pepper, white pepper, ginger.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sweetness, followed by some spicy heat, some saltiness, and a tad bit of the Tabasco Sauce.
The chewing flavor is largely more of the same surface flavors, but with a tad bit more definition of the Tasbasco Sauce, and a stronger chile pepper burn.
For being dubbed a Habanero variety of beef jerky, this definitely has the habanero heat. I'd rate this on my hot scale as "medium hot" on an individual piece, and "hot" after eating several pieces. It's hot enough that I'd take a pause in between bites.
However, I don't really taste a whole lot of the habanero flavors. But I do taste some, largely where where my teeth bite into a chile pepper seed or flake.
I do taste the Tabasco Sauce in a noticeable amount. It has that vinegar flavor you find in Tabasco Sauce.
I also pick up a garlic aftertaste through several pieces.
The saltiness seems to be at a moderate level. The burn from the habanero chiles tends to make the saltiness seem higher than it really is.
I don't seem to pick up much of any natural meat flavors, maybe just a faint amount. And I don't really taste the black pepper, white pepper, or ginger mentioned in the ingredients list.
The soy sauce is detectable towards the end of chewing, perhaps as the sweetness starts wearing off. But it's not strong, and you'll likely not notice it at all with all the other flavors in this jerky.
Overall, what you're going to notice the most in this jerky is the sweetness, which lasts from the surface flavor through most of the chewing. The Tabasco Sauce is noticeable in the chewing, along with a saltiness, and then just touches of habanero chile flavor as your teeth bite into a seed. But you'll get lots of heat!
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This seems to be a dry jerky, but having a semi-moist feel, perhaps due to the layer of sticky sweetness on the surface. The pieces are very flexible. I found them easy to tear apart with my fingers, and easy to chew.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and rubbery, with just a light amount of rubbery chewing resistance. They break down quite easily with some light biting and sucking. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it doesn't quite have a steak-like texture, maybe half-way between steak-like, and gummy. This meat has a softened, tenderized feel. I think the sticky sweet layer on the surface gives it that gumminess, like eating a sheet of Fruit Roll-ups.
This jerky seems mostly lean, though I found one piece with a fair amount of marbilization. Otherwise nothing unchewable in the way of tendon, gristle, or stringy sinews.
In terms of clean eating, the sticky sweet surface does leave the fingers feeling sticky, but not to the point of having to lick them clean.
Meadow Farms Country Smokehouse sells this jerky from its website at a price of $8.95 for a 4oz package. I bought three packages, each a different flavor. Add to that shipping fees of $7.95, and it came to a total of $34.80. That works out to a price of $2.90 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.90 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I actually get a lot of snackability for its great overall flavor, good meat consistency, and ok chewing texture. But that $2.90 price per ounce is quite high compared to what I'd pay for mass-market jerky at the grocery store. If you could get that price down to $1.99 per ounce or less, it'd be a good value.
As a Habanero beef jerky, at the same $2.90 price per ounce, it's a fair value again. I do get a lot of habanero pepper heat, but very little habanero pepper flavor. Most of the chile pepper flavor in this seems to be coming from the Tabasco Sauce.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Habanero beef jerky from Mahogany Smoked Meats is actually quite tasty with its heavy sweetness, and heavy amount of chile pepper heat. The addition of Tabasco Sauce, with it associated vinegar flavor, rounds out a nice tag-team trio of flavors.
Here and there, I can pick up a light amount of chile pepper flavor as my teeth bite into a seed, but otherwise there's little habanero flavor. If anything, there may be more chile pepper flavor from the Tabasco Sauce. I can also pick up faint amounts of garlic, natural meat flavors, just a tad bit of smokiness.
In fact, for being named "Mahogany Smoked Meats", there really isn't much smokiness to this, nor anything on this package suggesting it was smoked over real mahogany wood. It only mentions "natural smoke flavoring added".
The meat consistency is good, being easy to eat, and not providing anything unchewable. The chewing texture is ok, but not good. Still somewhat gummy.
Otherwise, I still find myself believing this is the same jerky as the J.C. Rivers' Habanero variety I reviewed last year, but with a different label. And since I gave that jerky a best rating, I'm sticking to the best rating for this as well.
A good beer pairing for this, would be a smooth creamy stout.
Buy this online: