Next in the series on Insane Jerky is this Spicy beef jerky. See my previous review of their Original beef jerky.
Insane Jerky is a newer brand of jerky claiming to use Halal Certified beef. Halal essentially means it's in accordance with Sharia law, and acceptable to eat for muslims.
I'm not exactly sure what process beef must go through in order to certified as Halal, however Insane Jerky has published a certificate on its website indicating Halal Certification, although I didn't see anything on that certificate identifying Insane Jerky by name. As far I as know, it could be anybody's certificate.
100% lean beef, spices, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, sodium nitrate (as preservative), liquid smoke flavoring.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light chile pepper flavor, a light tangy flavor, and with some sucking I can pick up some saltiness.
The chewing flavor seems to start with a slight bit more tanginess, but after that it's largely has the same surface flavor.
For being dubbed a "Spicy" variety of beef jerky, it does have a spiciness, but not really anything hot. The package label says, "Warning: Extremely Spicy!!! - Eat at your own risk". However, there's really no heat to this, it's mild based on my hot scale. It's just that there's some spices to taste in this, mostly some kind of chile pepper flavor.
I said above that's there's a tanginess to this, and I continue to taste this throughout the rest of the pieces. It's not strong or overpowering, but it's noticeable. I want to say it has a vinegar-like flavor, but I don't see vinegar in the ingredients list.
In the spices, I can identify a little bit of the onion powder.
The level of saltiness in this seems moderate.
I don't taste any natural meat flavors.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a moderate chile pepper flavor, but without any chile pepper burn, and no heat of any type at all. Then there's a light tanginess, and a moderate saltiness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. They have a little bit of flexibility, but cracks open easily. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers require some effort to do. Chewing seems rather chewing, and gives my jaws a bit of an exercise.
The chewing texture starts out feeling dry but still quite pliable. I get a little bit of rubbery chewing resistance, and these pieces require a good deal of chewing before they break down to a soft mass. At that point, they seem to have a steak-like chewing texture, but not totally. There's a still a bit of mushiness to it.
From what I can see, there's no chunks or streaks of fat on these pieces, and I don't see any tendon or gristle. However, just about every bite of this jerky resulted with unchewable wads of tissue left behind in my mouth.
As for clean eating, this jerky did not leave any residue on my fingertips, but the effort required to tear these pieces apart did spread bits of seasoning on my lap.
Insane Jerky sells this Spicy beef jerky from their website at a price of $3.99 for a 2oz package. I bought 4 packages. Add to that shipping costs of $3.55, and it came out to a total of $19.51. That works out to a price of $2.44 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.44 price per ounce, this seems to provide a weak value. I do get an average amount of snackability due to the satisfying flavor, though the meat consistency and chewing texture does not have much to be desired. But that price of $2.44 is quite a bit higher than what I'd pay for a mass-market brand at the grocery store, and this Spicy beef jerky from Insane Jerky is about the same quality, or lower.
As a Spicy beef jerky, I'd say it's a fair value. I do get a sense of this being spicy, insofar that I can taste the spices on it. However, I don't see this as having any heat, despite the picture of the chile pepper, and the "Warning: Extremely Spicy!!!" statement on the label. I think you can get the same level of heat and spiciness for much less money buying a Jack Link's or Oberto's.
But it's certainly a good value if you specifically want Halal certified beef jerky, since I don't think you can find any other brand selling Halal jerky.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Spicy beef jerky from Insane Jerky seems to honor its advertisement by providing some spiciness, though not any heat or burn. It offers a good deal of chile pepper flavor, with a light bit of tanginess, and some noticeable onion powder and saltiness. That's a lot better than their Original variety which had about no flavor at all.
The meat consistency is rather lackluster. For being a dry jerky, I found it rather chewy. Some pieces were tough, while others were ok. Either way, just about every piece resulted in some unchewable wads of tissue left behind in my mouth. The chewing texture is "ok", having a somewhat steak-like feel.
I assigned the average rating because I was able to get a decent amount of snackability through the chile pepper flavor and the light tanginess. But that was about all I could find to get me reaching for more.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a red ale.
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