Next in the series on Jerk Nation, is this Fajita Jerk Dust beef jerky. See my previous reviews of their Original Spicy, Chili Lime, and Moms Apple Pie varieties.
Jerk Nation is unique in that the jerky does not come seasoned. Rather, inside the package is a seasoning packet. You tear it open, pour in the seasoning, and shake the bag. The idea is that you can control how much seasoning to use. Jerk Nation calls it "Shake & Season".
The jerky itself is manufactured by Magnolia Provision, the makers of Smoky Mountain Beef Jerky.
Beef Jerky: Beef, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, teriyaki, onion powder, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, all natural smoke flavor.
Fajita Jerk Dust: Chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion, dried oregano.
For the record, I dumped the full seasoning packet into the bag.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong seasoning blend, mostly the chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic. There's even a bit of tanginess in there too. With some more sucking, the jerky flavors come through, mostly more saltiness and some garlic.
The chewing flavor starts with a taste of worcestershire, a bit more saltiness, and then a slight bit of soy sauce at the end.
For being dubbed a "Fajita Jerk" flavored beef jerky, it seems to hold up to that description. Fajita itself is not really a flavor anyways, but a style by which meat is cooked. It usually involves a blend of bold seasonings of just about any type, and I certainly do get a taste of bold seasonings.
As for actually tasting a plate of sizzling fajitas that I might get from a mexican restaurant, not really. But the seasonings in this jerky could definitely be something you could expect to get.
After having poured the full contents of the seasoning packet, and shaken vigorously, there's a good deal of seasoning flavor that bursts into my mouth. The chili powder, cumin, and garlic seem to be the most strongest flavors. There's even a light tanginess that comes on, I'm not sure where that comes from.
But the seasoning doesn't last long. By the time I start chewing, it wears off and I'm left the marinade inside the meat. That's not too bad, because the jerky itself is good tasting as well, though somewhat plain with the worcestershire and soy sauce being most dominant.
I'm getting some natural meat flavors in this, not a whole lot. But enough to add a bit of extra flavor. I can also detect a wee bit of that liquid smoke flavor.
The level of saltiness in this seems moderate.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is an initial burst of fajita seasoning, represented mostly by the chili powder, cumin, and garlic, and a light tangy flavor. When you start chewing, some worcestershire sauce comes into view, and then ending with a light soy sauce flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium, in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a semi-moist surface feel up until you pour in the seasoning at which it feels dry. The jerky has a soft, flexible feel, and bends easily without much cracking. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy enough, and chewing-ease seems moderate.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and pliable, and into chewing it feels chewy, but at the right amount for jerky. It seems to chew down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds. At that point, it feels just like a piece of steak, perhaps cooked medium or well-done, depending on the pieces.
I see some small bits of fat on some pieces. Several pieces also have significant streaks of gristle, but in chewing they're not very noticeable. I could feel a little bit of stringiness in this jerky. Overall, this sample yielded a pretty good chew.
In terms of clean eating, I get a good deal of seasoning stuck to my fingers, requiring a licking or wiping before touching my keyboard. I also get some seasoning flying off as I tear these pieces.
Jerk Nation sells this Fajita Jerk variety from its website at a price of $6.99 for a 4oz package. If you bought 8 packages, the total price comes to $65.42, including $9.50 shipping to Southern California. That works out to a price of $2.04 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.04 price per ounce, I think it offers a great value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability from this, for its good overall flavor, good meat consistency and chewing texture. That $2.04 price per ounce is close to what you'll pay at the grocery store for a major brand of jerky, but I'm getting better flavor and meat consistency.
As a Fajita Jerk variety of beef jerky, at the same $2.04 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of seasoning that could certainly represent something found in a plate of sizzling fajitas, and at that price, it seems to provide more flavor than the major brands of jerky.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Fajita Jerk beef jerky from Jerk Nation provides an initial burst of fajita seasoning upon putting a piece into my mouth, with a complex blend of flavors, mostly represented by chili powder, cumin, garlic, and something tangy. Once you get into the chewing, another set of flavors come through, mostly the worcestershire, with a bit of garlic, and then finishing up with a bit of soy sauce.
Add to that a good meat consistency that's moderately easy (or moderately tough) to chew, with a right amount of chewiness, and chewing like a real piece of meat, and it seems to create a pretty good combination of flavor and chewing.
Unless Jerk Nation introduces new flavors, this is the last flavor I have to review. Overall, Jerk Nation wins with me because I can control the amount of seasoning, and I like a lot of seasoning. But on the other hand, cutting open the seasoning packet, pouring it in, and shaking the bag, just adds an extra step to the snacking. I still prefer the instant gratification of just opening the bag and eating right away.
It might be more interesting if they experiment with sauce packets instead of seasoning, you'd get more of it to stick to the meat.
As for my recommended beer pairing with this, I'd do like with the Chili-Lime variety and go with a dark lager or German-style dunkel. Perhaps a Negra Modelo, or a Köstritzer Schwarzbier.
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