Next in the series on Insane Jerky (and the last until they come out with more varieties), is this Spicy Beef Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Sweet & Spicy, Jamaican Style, and Original varieties.
Insane Jerky focuses on "halal certified" foods, which is the muslim equivalent of kosher. There's a special way the animal is slaughtered, with the blood being drained more thoroughly. I'm told that alters the flavor of the beef.
Note: I had previously reviewed this Spicy Beef Jerky last September, and gave it an "average" rating (read that review here). Since then, the company switched meat processors and revised their recipe, producing a more moist, more flavorful jerky.
Zabihah/Halal beef, soy sauce (water, protein extracts from soy beans, salt, corn syrup, caramel color, potassium sorbate), sugar, smoke flavor (liquid), spices, garlic powder.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smokiness, a soy sauce flavor, a light sweet and salty flavor. Within seconds, a light bit of heat makes itself known.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined soy sauce flavor with an increased saltiness. There's a bit of natural meat flavor, and then a continuation of the light sweet. The heat seems to remain at the same light amount.
As for being labeled a "Spicy" beef jerky, it's not really that spicy. There's actually little in terms of spices that I can taste, other than a faint bit of garlic. It does have some heat from the chile pepper seeds visible on these pieces, but it's not that hot. I'd rank it as a "medium" on my hot scale. But I don't taste any of the chile pepper flavor.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to be the most noticeable is the soy sauce flavor, which I can taste from the surface, and becoming more defined in the chewing. It's the flavor that seems to sit center on my tongue, and remains all throughout.
The saltiness associated with the soy sauce seems to be at a moderate level. It tends to feel more saltiness than it is, perhaps being exacerbated by the medium chile pepper heat.
There's a fair amount of sweetness on the surface that lingers through half-way into the chewing.
I reported a light bit of natural meat flavor earlier, and after eating several more pieces, that's still the same. It's just a tad. There's some smokiness on the surface, which lasts a little bit in the chewing.
Overall, what you'll notice the most in this jerky is the soy sauce flavor, with some sweetness, and a moderate amount of heat. It's not really spicy in terms of spices, just some heat.
These are slices of whole meat, cut to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This review sample is a dry jerky, with a sticky oily surface feel. The pieces are flexible, but not necessarily rubbery. They're easy to tear apart with my fingers, and ease of chewing seems moderate.
The chewing texture starts out with a rubber-like feel, with a bit of initial chewing resistance, but eventually breaks down to a soft mass easily enough. At that point, it has a steak-like texture, comparable to one cooked-medium.
For the most part, this jerky appears to be all meat, with just a few pieces having small flecks of fat. I did not see any tendon or gristle, and I did not encounter anything unchewable, or anything stringy.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a bit of sticky and oily residue, but not that bad.
Insane Jerky sells this Spicy variety from its website at a price of $4.49 per 2oz package. If you bought eight packages (1 pound), the shipping costs comes out to $3.94 if shipping to Southern California. That works out to a total of $39.86, or a price of $2.49 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.49 price per ounce, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for its overall pleasing flavor, and good meat consistency. That $2.49 price is significantly higher than the national brands found in the grocery store, but this jerky still seems to provide better flavor and consistency.
As a "Spicy" beef jerky, at the same $2.49 price per ounce, it's a weak value. It's not really that spicy, considering the price is higher than the national brands. I'm probably getting about the same level of heat, but a lower spice variety, than what I'd expect from an Oberto or Jack Link's jerky.
But considering this is halal-certified beef, and yet it still provides a good overall flavor and consistency, it's a good value at the $2.49 per ounce price. What few other brands out there that offer halal beef jerky, this is still competively priced.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Spicy beef jerky from Insane Jerky provides a good overall flavor, highlighted by a soy sauce flavor, with a fair amount of sweet, some smokiness, a moderate level of heat, and a bit of natural meat flavor. It's actually not that hot if you're a hot food lover.
But considering the fact that Insane Jerky is actually focusing on offering a halal-certified product, it's seems to be a winner in that it still has a lot of flavor, fairly easy to eat, with a steak-like chewing texture. To jerky lovers out there, you'd never know that this is halal-certified by taste alone.
Specifically as a "spicy" beef jerky it's disappointing because I expected more spiciness. I assume this variety was intended for people who like spicy foods, and in that case I think it should be more spicy than this. It's actually borderline mild and medium, but probably "medium" for most people. But just on its own merits, it's still a good jerky.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a brown ale.
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