Next up in the series on Liberty Jerky is this Spicy beef jerky. See my previous reviews of their Garlic Beef Jerky and Original Beef Jerky.
Based in Lincoln, CA, Liberty Jerky is owned by the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Ann Browne, who have been making beef jerky for over 20 years. Friends and family members liked their jerky so much, that they finally launched Liberty Jerky in November 2009.
This Spicy Beef Jerky is described as the company's original flavor but with the heat turned up. The packaging doesn't say anything about it being "hot", though their website does.
Beef, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, red pepper, pepper sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a worcestershire sauce flavor. A little bit of the steak seasoning makes itself known. With some more sucking I get a light saltiness, and finally a little bit of spicy heat begins.
The chewing flavor starts with a stronger and more defined worcestershire flavor, an increase from the steak seasoning, and just a tad more spicy heat.
For being advertised as "Spicy", it stands up well to that claim. This jerky gets a lot of spiciness from the Montreal Steak Seasoning alone. There's a definite black pepper flavor in there, the flavor of coriander seed is easily noticed, and there are sporadic bursts of dill. The worcestershire sauce also adds more spicy complexity with its tamarind.
But it also gets some heat from the red pepper and pepper sauce, but I wouldn't call it "hot". On my hot scale, I'd rank this a medium. It doesn't provide enough heat to generate any sweat, or even make my scalp itchy, and not enough to make my eyes misty. But it still creates some burn in the back of my mouth.
And considering the red pepper and pepper sauce, I don't really taste those flavors very well. But if I analyze carefully what I'm tasting, I can actually taste some of chile pepper flavor. But if I'm just snacking away, I don't really notice it.
The natural meat flavors are very light, and can be noticed if you suck and savor a bite for awhile. But for the most part, it's the seasonings and flavorings that take all the attention.
Overall, this jerky tastes very much like Liberty's Original Beef Jerky, but with a medium amount of heat thrown in. I don't really get much difference in taste, except for just a faint bit of chile pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of ranging from three to six inches long.
This is a dry jerky with a dry, woody feel. They have a slight bit of flexibility, but any amount of bending will make these pieces tear apart. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy to do, and ease of chewing is moderate to labored.
The chewing texture starts out feeling coarse and woody. With a fair amount of chewing, it softens up. It seems to reduce down to a soft mass in about 20 seconds, and at that point it feels just like a piece of steak, comparable to one cooked well-done.
I don't see any bits of fat in this review sample, and nor do I see any tendon or gristle. While chewing, I'll get a small amount of stringiness, and sometimes I'll end up with a small wad of unchewable tissue. For the most part, it's pretty meaty.
In terms of clean eating, there's no residue left on my fingertips while handling this jerky, but biting off chunks does cause a fair amount of meat fragments and seasoning to fly off on my lap.
Liberty Jerky sells this Original variety from its website at a price of $5.99 for a 3.5oz bag. Shipping costs from Lincoln, CA to Menifee, CA for five of these bags is $5.70, for a total cost of $35.65. That works out to a price of $2.04 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.04 per ounce price, it seems to offer a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability from its good overall flavor, good meat consistency and chewing texture. The $2.04 price per ounce is comparable to what you'd pay for major brands at the grocery store, but yet it offers far more snackability.
As a Spicy Beef Jerky, at the same $2.04 price per ounce, it's also a good value. I get a lot of spiciness from the Montreal Steak Seasoning, with a medium level of heat from the red pepper and pepper sauce. For this price, I'm getting a bolder spiciness and slightly more heat than spicy offerings from the major brands.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Spicy Beef Jerky from Liberty Jerky has a good deal of spiciness from its Montreal Steak Seasoning ingredient, which I largely taste as black pepper, coriander seed, and dill, along with the worcestershire. But it adds a medium level of heat from the red pepper and pepper sauce.
The flavor is nearly identical to Liberty's Original Beef Jerky, but with the addition of red pepper and pepper sauce. Those extra ingredients add the heat to this jerky, though only a smidgeon of extra flavor. The meat consistency and chewing texture is largely the same as well.
Even though this Spicy Beef Jerky has a moderate level of heat, I still get the sense that it's missing one extra dimension of flavor, just as I reported with Liberty's Original Beef Jerky. The combination of worcestershire and steak seasoning is a common jerky recipe, though still a good one. I would liked to have tasted more chile pepper flavor, not just the heat. Perhaps some tangy vinegar from the pepper sauce would be a nice touch as well.
For my recommended beer pairing, I think the smokiness of a porter will contrast well against this jerky's flavorings.
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