Hog's Beef Jerky is a brand of Hog's Beef Jerky, Inc. based out of Seville, OH. It's the creation of John Welton, a long time master jerky maker who got started back in the early 1990s.
Like many others, his friends and co-workers tried his jerky and found it to be so good that he felt encouraged to turn his hobby into a business. Today he runs a USDA inspected facility and a shop where locals can come in to buy his products. He can also be found at local hunting and outdoor tradeshows selling his jerky.
This "Habba-Q" is basically a combination of habanero pepper and barbeque. Hog's Beef Jerky offers 12 different flavors altogether, available in beef and turkey.
Beef, soy sauce, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, habenero peppers, molasses, meat tenderizer, garlic, season all, onion, paprika, black pepper, garlic and herb seasoning, crushed red pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong smoky flavor, a light tangy flavor, and a good deal of seasoning. There's a light sweet and salty flavor. After five seconds, a light amount of heat starts building.
The chewing flavor starts with a light natural meat flavor, followed by a stronger saltiness. The surface flavors continue on into the chewing.
For being advertised as a combination of habanero and barbeque, it seems to hold up to this claim somewhat. I think the habanero is more pronounced than the barbeque, in that I can feel the burn of the habanero more than the sweet/tangines of the barbeque.
But overall, this is not a hot jerky. The inclusion of habanero would suggest something quite hot, but for me this seems to hit on my personal hot scale at around medium. Moreover, I'm getting only a light touch of habanero flavor.
The barbeque half of this "Habba-Q" is harder to pick up. I typically identify barbeque flavors as a thick sweet and tanginess, and I only get light amounts of those. The liquid smoke ingredient is actually stronger than the barbeque flavor, and I think that actually is what gives this more of a barbeque character.
Otherwise, this jerky does have a strong flavor overall from its myriad of ingredients. It's a flavor that hits you right away from the very first piece.
But the natural meat flavors, however, are actually not that strong. I can taste just a light amount. At first I thought I was getting a strong meat flavor, but the more I eat this, the more it seems to be a combination of smokiness and saltiness.
The level of saltiness in this jerky seems moderate-to-high, with some pieces being definitely high.
Overall, what you're going to notice the most in this jerky a strong smokiness, with ligher amounts of habanero and barbeque flavors, and moderate saltiness. The habanero heat is only moderate at best. There's also a complex seasoning blend that shows through too.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, in small chunks.
It's a semi-moist jerky, with a semi-moist feel. They don't have much flexibility in that they break apart easily with some amount of bending. Chewing seems easy for the most part. I note that this jerky needs to be kept in the bag, else it dries out quickly.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and easily breaks down with some chewing, and quickly renders into a soft mass. At that point, it feels mostly crumbly, and never anything steak-like. The package says it's tenderized with papain, and I want to say this texture is quite consistent with other papain-tenderized jerky brands I've reviewed.
This jerky seems very lean; I don't find any chunks of fat, gristle, or tendon. Nor did I find anything unchewable or stringy.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a light amount of moisture along with light bits of seasoning, enough that I need to rub them together before touching my keyboard.
Hog's Beef Jerky sells this Habba-Q variety from its website at a price of $8.50 for a 7oz package. If you buy four packages, the shipping comes out to $13.65, for a total of $47.65. That works out to a price of $1.70 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.70 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I'm getting a low amount of snackability for it's "ok" flavor, and crumbly meat texture. That price is actually the same as what you'd pay for national brands of jerky at the grocery store, and I think the flavor is on par, and the overall meat consistency is a little bit better.
For a habanero-barbeque variety of beef jerky, at the $1.70 price per ounce, it's also a decent value. I do get a light habanero flavor, and a light habanero heat, though the barbeque is more of a smoky flavor, than a sweet and tangy flavor. But this price is the same as the national jerky brands, and I think I'm getting what I expect at this price.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Habba-Q variety from Hog's Beef Jerky is supposed to combine the flavors of habanero chiles with barbeque sauce, yet it seems to be lighter on those flavors than what I had hoped. I do actually taste some habanero chiles, but only lightly. Even the habanero heat is light. I'm not tasting a lot of barbeque sauce either, nothing really sweet or tangy. If anything, it's a strong smokiness that seems to represent the barbeque.
But it still packs a lot of flavor, mostly through the complex blend of seasonings and flavorings. There's even a moderate to high level of saltiness. As thick as these chunks of meat are, I had anticipated a strong natural meat flavor, but I don't really get a lot.
The meat consistency is moist, and easy to chew, but it seems to come at the cost of making it crumbly, and not really chewing like chunks of steak. If you look at the thickness of these pieces, you tend to expect this to chew like a chunk of steak. Overall, I think it's better than most national brands of jerky, but only slightly better.
My recommended beer pairing for this, the stronger saltiness and seasonings in this would go well with something light and refreshing, like an amber ale or cream ale.
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