Perky Jerky is a brand of PEMS, LLC based out of Englewood, CO. It launched officially just last month.
It's claimed to be a "performance enhancing meat snack", being infused with guarana and caffeine, two popular energy supplements used in a variety of other products designed to invigorate one's body. The company says one package of Perky Jerky contains about the same caffeine as a can of energy drink.
As the story goes, the creators of this jerky were at a ski lodge, preparing for a day of skiing, when by accident some energy drink spilled into their bag of peppered beef jerky. They ate it anyways, and found it still tasted just as good as before, but a little more tender, and seemingly kept them sliding the down the slopes all day long.
Whole slices of beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper, guarana, worcestershire sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a good deal of sweet, followed quickly by a soy sauce flavor and worcestershire flavor. Overall, a lot of surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined soy sauce and worcestershire sauce flavor, a good deal of tanginess, and some well-noticed garlic. A little bit of black pepper is noticeable too after some more chewing.
If you just evaluate this jerky for its flavor, it's very flavorful. It could almost pass for a teriyaki beef jerky, with a lot of sweet, a well noticed soy sauce, some tanginess, and a bit of pungent contrast from something in the worcestershire.
But if I had to identify the flavor that best represents this jerky, it's the combination of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. I think the soy sauce is a little more stronger than the worcestershire, but the worcestershire is still easily noticed.
The sweetnes is very significant in this jerky, and is tasted immediately on the surface, and lasts about half-way through the chewing.
The saltiness seems to be on the high-side, even though the nutrition facts label shows a medium sodium content.
There's also a fair amount of black pepper flavor that builds up over several pieces. After eating one package, I'm getting a good black pepper aftertaste.
But I think what gives this jerky a nice little "pop" is the tanginess, which I presume comes from the lemon juice, as well as an easily noticed garlic. These two flavor components seem to add the "perky" into this jerky.
As for natural meat flavors, I don't really taste any.
Overall, this jerky has a lot of flavor intensity, and a good flavor complexity. I think this is best described as a peppered jerky, with a good deal of soy sauce and worcestershire, plus a strong sweetness. But that tanginess and garlic flavor makes this more interesting.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, but with a lot of stickiness on the surface, perhaps making the whole jerky feel moist. The pieces are about bite-sized and don't really require tearing apart. Chewing seems varied, some being very easy, and others more stiff and a little chewy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender, easily folding up into a more manageable chew, and breaking down with just a little bit of sucking and biting. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it has mostly a steak-like chewing texture. But it's a mixed bag, with the softer pieces being a bit more mushy, and hard pieces feeling a bit more crumbly.
This jerky appears to be quite lean, not really noticing any chunks or streaks of fat, no tendon, no gristle, but some light amounts of stringy sinews.
As for clean eating, handling these pieces leaves some stickiness on my fingertips requiring a licking and wiping on my jeans.
Perky Jerky sells this Original variety from its website at a price of $4.99 per 2oz package. If you bought 12 packages, the shipping cost comes to $8.66. That's a total of $68.54. That works out to a price of $2.86 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.86 price per ounce, this seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its great flavor, ease in eating, and decent chewing texture. Even though that $2.86 price per ounce is much higher than what you'd pay for mass-market brands at the grocery store, I think it's a pretty good flavor.
As a "performance enhancing meat snack", at the same $2.86 price per ounce, it seems to work well also. I normally jog three times a day, once in the morning, again in the afternoon, and in the evening. I noticed myself feeling more energetic for both the afternoon and evening runs.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Original variety of beef jerky from Perky Jerky is very flavorful, with a good deal of flavor complexity. I can taste a lot of different flavors going on in here. I think this this is best described as a peppered beef jerky, but with a well-noticed soy sauce and worcestershire sauce base, and a strong sweetness.
But I really like the tanginess in this, which may come from the lemon juice ingredient. I also like the stronger garlic flavor. Those two ingredients made this jerky quite tasty for me. In fact, I think this jerky could pass as teriyaki variety, with this strong sweet, the soy sauce, the tanginess, and a pungent quality inside the worcestershire.
For the most part, it's easy to eat, but with a few pieces being more stiff and chewy, and the chewing texture seems good overall. The only negatives that stick out in my mind is the higher salt intensity, and the lack of natural meat flavors. But if you're a fan of peppered beef jerky, of which I am, I think you'll like this stuff. It tastes just like how the founders of Perky Jerky conceived it, with some sticky sweet energy drink spilling into a bag of peppered jerky.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a smoked porter.
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