Next in the series on Mountain Ranch Jerky is this Fiery Hot variety. See my previous reviews of their Original Beef Jerky and Mountain Peppered Jerky varieties.
Mountain Ranch Jerky is a brand of Mountain Ranch Smokehouse located in Fruitland, UT. The company is mostly known for its jerky products, but also smokes hams and turkeys, and makes meat sticks too. They also have a restaurant where you can get yourself a burger or steak.
Mountain Ranch claims that all their jerky is cut by hand, and smoked over real mesquite wood. They make jerky in their own USDA inspected facility.
Beef, salt, hydrolyzed corn, soy/wheat gluten protein, onion/garlic powder, spice, black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is an oily flavor, followed by saltiness, and then by a light chile pepper flavor. With some more sucking, I can start picking up the garlic/onion seasoning.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness, and then some natural meat flavors. A light bit of heat starts showing up.
For being labeled "Fiery Hot", it's not really so. Of course, I'm someone who loves fiery hot foods, so perhaps I have a greater tolerance than most. But on my personal hot scale, I'd rate this has mild-medium. Others might see it as just "medium".
But considering the ingredients shows cayenne pepper and red pepper, I do indeed get a taste of those flavors. I happen to love the flavor of chiles, not just the burn, and this jerky seems to give me some of that.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems represent this jerky the most is a relatively high amount of saltiness. After eating several bites, it's not quite "too salty", but definitely hitting the upper reaches of my tolerance.
The natural meat flavors show up pretty well but are still overshadowed by the high saltiness. They add a nice steak-like flavor, comparable to a well-done cooked steak with a noticeable smokiness to it.
I'm also tasting some of that garlic/onion seasoning, which is comparable what I found in the company's Original Beef Jerky.
Overall, there's a lot of flavor in this jerky, marked mostly by a strong saltiness, a decent taste of a smoky natural meat flavor, a bit of chile pepper flavor, a touch of garlic/onion seasoning, and an oily flavor. It's not really that hot, however.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky, but with a very oily surface feel. The pieces have a fair amount of flexibility but will easily crack apart. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers is easy to do, and chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out stiff with little chewing resistance, and can be easily bent and chewed down. It takes about 15 seconds before it's rendered into a soft mass. At that point, it feels just like chewing a steak, cooked well-done, but not quite as dry.
This jerky appears to be very lean in that I don't see any bits of fat. I didn't encounter any gristle or tender. However, I found a good deal of stringiness, and some bites of meat resulted in some unchewable wads of tissue.
As for clean eating, it's not. It's very oily, my fingers are doused in oil and pick up some of the orange chile pepper seasoning, requiring a licking and wiping.
Mountain Ranch Smokehouse sells this Fiery Hot beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.99 for a 3.5oz package. I bought six packages, each a different variety, with $2.99 shipping, which brings a total of $38.93. That works out to a price of $1.85 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.85 per ounce price, this provides an excellent value. I'm getting a lot of snackability from a good overall flavor, its good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. The $1.85 price per ounce is the same price you'd pay for the major brands at the grocery store, but you'll get far better taste and quality with this.
As a "Fiery Hot" beef jerky, at the same $1.85 price per ounce, it's a decent value. Considering it's priced the same as the major brands of jerky, I think it's actually hotter, and hence a better value. It's still not really that hot however, but still hotter than the major brands.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Fiery Hot variety from Mountain Ranch Jerky offers a mild-medium to medium level of heat, depending on your tolerance, but also throws in a bit of chile pepper flavor from a blend of cayenne and red pepper. Add to that a smoky natural meat flavor, and a shot of garlic/onion seasoning, and you get a very flavorful jerky that makes me want to reach for more and more.
It also has a good meat consistency being easy to eat with a fair amount of chewiness, and even feels like real meat when chewing.
My biggest "beef" with this jerky is the high level of saltiness. The nutrition facts label actually shows a medium-high sodium content, but it just tastes like it more salty, to the point where it tends to overshadow the other flavors.
I'm also disappointed in that it wasn't as "fiery" hot as the name suggests. I was hoping my mouth would be set on fire, but it just didn't. I realize that other people would indeed find this to be fiery, but then again I don't think other people would buy something labeled "fiery". If you're going to make something for hot food lovers, then make it hot.
My recommended beer pairing for this, I think a fruity lambic would work really well, considering this jerky lacks a sweetness. Try the Lindeman's Framboise Cherry or Raspberry Lambic.
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