Next in the series on Hog's Beef Jerky is this "Real Whiskey & Honey" variety. See my previous review of their Habba-Q beef jerky.
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.
This "Real Whiskey & Honey" beef jerky is made with Jack Daniel's Whiskey.
Beef, soy sauce, honey, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, brown sugar, liquid smoke, molasses, meat tenderizer (salt, sugar, food starch, papain), garlic, Season All (salt, spices, (chili pepper, black pepper, celery seed, nutmeg, coriander), onion, paprika, maltodextrin, garlic, annatto), black pepper, Garlic and Herb seasoning, crushed red pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a heavy smoky flavor. With some sucking, I can get a light saltiness, some of the seasoning, and a tad bit of sweet.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness with some soy sauce flavor, some more of the seasoning, and a light bit of natural meat flavor.
For being marketed as a "Real Whiskey & Honey" beef jerky, I don't taste any whiskey in this. Even though whiskey was listed in the ingredients, I don't notice any kind of alcoholic character, and nor do I taste any of Jack Daniel's signature flavor.
And as for the honey, I don't taste any of that either. I do taste a sweetness in this, in a lighter amount. But that could also be the brown sugar. I can't really identify that unique honey flavor.
Otherwise, there's still a lot of flavor in this jerky. It seems like the dominant flavor is a toss-up between the soy sauce and the seasonings. The soy sauce is noticeable as I continue to chew a piece. It actually starts as a saltiness, and then the unique soy sauce flavor slowly comes into view.
The seasonings seems to be largely represented as a garlic & onion flavor. Even though chili pepper and black pepper are mentioned in the ingredients, they don't really produce a well-noticed flavor.
The natural meat flavors are there in a lighter amount. I think the smokiness tends to be stronger than the meat flavor, and may cause me to think I'm getting a burst of steak flavor.
The level of saltiness in this seems moderate, but perhaps at the higher end of moderate.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is the soy sauce, with its associated saltiness, plus some garlic & onion seasoning, and a good deal of liquid smoke flavor. You'll get some natural meat flavors too. But you won't taste any whiskey or honey.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, in small chunks.
It's a semi-moist jerky, with a semi-moist feel. They're also a little bit brittle, in that they break apart easily with some 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 chewable. Just a light bit of chewing and it breaks down quickly into smaller bits and chunks. Most of these pieces have dry chew. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it feels largely crumbly, not really steak-like. Some of the more moist pieces end up feeling mushy, or pasty.
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 Real Whiskey & Honey variety from its website at a price of $12.50 for a 7oz package. If you buy four packages, the shipping comes out to $12.55, for a total of $62.55. That works out to a price of $2.23 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.23 per ounce price, this jerky seems to provide a fair value. I'm getting some snackability for a satisfactory flavor, easy eating, though a mushy-crumbly chewing texture. That price is a little higher than what you'd pay for major brands of jerky at the grocery store, and yet it has a comparable snackability.
As a "Real Whiskey & Honey" beef jerky, at the same $2.23 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I don't taste anything resembling Whiskey in this, and only a light sweetness. Even though this jerky does contain Jack Daniel's Whiskey, and perhaps justifies selling this at a higher price than Hog's other beef jerky, I just don't experience any whiskey flavor.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Real Whiskey & Honey variety from Hog's Beef Jerky doesn't seem to provide any whiskey flavor and no honey flavor either. There's a light bit of sweet, but that could be from the brown sugar ingredient.
But there's still a lot of flavor in this jerky, and it seems to be enough to create some snackability. It's just that without the flavor of whiskey and honey, this seems to have a plain taste. For the most part, it's a blend of soy sauce, garlic & onion seasoning, a good deal of liquid smoke. For that matter, you'd be better off buying one of Hog's other beef jerky flavors, since the Jack Daniel's ingredient in this jerky creates a higher price.
The chewing texture is crumbly in the drier pieces, and mushy & pasty in the more moist. Overall, it's easy to chew and eat, it's just doesn't give me the steak-like chewing that I come to love with jerky.
For my recommended beer pairing, I think a russian imperial stout would go well, try North Coast's Old Rasputin, or Alesmith's Speedway Stout.
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