Next in the series on Fatman's Beef Jerky is this Sweet & Spicy variety. See my previous reviews of their other flavors.
Fatman's Beef Jerky is a brand of Red Meat Foods, LLC, based out of Roswell, NM, and run by a guy named Rick Robey. Prior to launching Fatman's, Rick owned and operated a holstein calf raising business for 30 years as well as a USDA inspected packing plant.
All of Fatman's jerky is made from inside rounds of American-raised beef, marinated for 24 hours in Robey's own homemade recipes. He makes all his jerky in his own USDA inspected facility.
Beef, sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, salt, flavorings.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweet flavor, followed by a faint meaty flavor. Several seconds later, a light saltiness comes in, and traces of black pepper is noticeable.
The chewing flavor starts with a stronger sweet, followed by some natural meat flavors, a bit more saltiness, and a touch more black pepper.
For being labeled a "Sweet & Spicy" beef jerky, I think it holds up to the sweet part fairly well. It's not heavily sweet, but enough to notice on the surface and in the chewing. But for being spicy, I don't know. I do pick up a light black pepper flavor, and I can also identify some other seasoning, but it's all rather light and tame. It's not all that spicy.
I think the flavor that seems to rise above all others is the natural meat flavors. That seems to be what sits in the center of my mouth as I eat this jerky. The flavor seems to vary from piece to piece. There are some very thinly sliced translucent pieces that give off a nice roasted meat flavor, and then there are slightly thicker pieces, a little more crunchy, that give off a different meat flavor which I'm having trouble describing.
The sweetness is noticeable enough that it tends to compete for my attention over the meat flavors. But ultimately, the meat flavor still seems to be the stronger.
The level of saltiness in this seems moderate.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this Sweet & Spicy variety is a well noticeable sweetness off the surface, and then a natural meat flavor that takes over in the chewing. After that, you'll detect a light black pepper flavor and a moderate saltiness. It's not really that spicy at all.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. Some pieces are sliced very thin and translucent when held up to the light. These are very flexible, feeling thin slices of rubber, and will bend all the way around without cracking. Then there are slightly thicker pieces, much less translucent, and have little flexibility. The pieces are generally easy to tear apart with my fingers, while chewing is a little labored and chewy.
In the very thinly sliced, translucent pieces, the chewing texture starts out feeling soft and pliable. They chew down quickly into a soft mass, and at that point feel rather mushy and gummy. Meanwhile, the more thicker pieces feel hard and woody, and somewhat brittle, providing some crunchy chewing. They tend to be more chewy and slightly tough, but once chewed down to a soft mass they feel more meaty, more steak-like.
A couple of the pieces had some small streaks of fat, which gave off a fatty flavor. Otherwise the rest of the pieces are very lean, seeing no signs of fat, gristle, or tendon. Overall I encountered nothing unchewable, and no stringiness.
In terms of clean eating, it's clean. My fingers pick up no residue, and no small fragments flying off as I tore pieces apart. I think the sweet glaze helps keep this pretty clean.
Fatman's sells this Sweet & Spicy Beef Jerky from its website at a price of $28.00 for a 1 pound package. Add to that shipping fees of $5.15 (if shipping to Southern California), for a total of $33.15. That works out to a price of $2.07 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.07 price per ounce, this jerky provides a decent value. I'm getting a decent amount of snackability from a satisfactory flavor, good meat consistency and satisfactory chewing texture. It's priced just a little bit higher than the major brands found in grocery stores, but it's provides a better flavor and consistency.
As a Sweet & Spicy beef jerky, at the same $2.07 price per ounce, it's a fair value. It has enough sweetness to pass as a Sweet & Spicy jerky, though not a lot, but it has even less spiciness. For that price, I want more spiciness.
I'm giving this is an average rating.
This Sweet & Spicy beef jerky from Fatman's offers a moderate amount of sweetness and a little less spiciness to match, mostly in the form of black pepper. Overall it should please the 80% of jerky snackers including those who don't like spicy foods. But I don't see this jerky as satisfying the other 20% who consider themselves big fans of sweet & spicy jerky, and who seek out the ultimate experience.
The overall meat consistency seems average, the more thinly sliced, translucent pieces tend to feel mushy and gummy, while the more thicker pieces provided a better chewing texture.
On its own merits it's still a snackable jerky that centers itself around a good tasting natural meat flavor, moderately salted. You'll get a decent amount of sweetness, and it'll kick in a little black pepper.
For my recommended beer pairing, go with a simple brown ale, try the Newcastle Brown Ale, or a Moose Drool Brown Ale.
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