Recently the Matador brand of beef jerky launched two more new flavors, "Sizzling Sweet" and "Smokin' BBQ". Previously they only offered two flavors, "Original", which I reviewed last October, and a Teriyaki.
You can read my review of the Original here.
Matador is owned by Jack Link's. It was created specifically to target teenagers with an interest in skateboarding, BMX racing, and sports that cater to the "X Games" audience. It's different from Jack Link's other jerky in that it's in bite-sized pieces, chopped & formed, more moist, and more sweet.
Beef, water, sugar, less than 2% of salt, soy sauce powder, flavoring, fructose, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, sodium erythorbate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, paprika extract, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is something similar to a bell pepper flavor, like a stir-fried bell pepper. I'm guessing that's the paprika. There's a light bit of sweet.
The chewing flavor starts with more sweetness, and a "beefy" flavor.
For being labeled as "Sizzling Sweet", I'm not really sure that this stands up to that description. It's certainly sweet, but I'm not sure if I'd describe the flavor of this jerky as "sizzling".
There's nothing hot about this, it's quite mild. And there's nothing spicy about it either. There's that bell pepper-like flavor I mentioned above, but doesn't resemble real bell pepper exactly, it just has a comparable character.
The "beefy" flavor is not anything like the natural meat flavors you often find in whole muscle jerky. This stuff tastes more like the outer layer of meat loaf where you get some of the tomato sauce coating.
In fact that's probably a good way to describe the overall flavor of this jerky. It's basically a "beefy" flavor with a sweet, almost tomato-sauce like flavoring.
The level of saltiness in this seems low to moderate.
Aside from that, there isn't much else to taste in this.
This is a chopped & formed jerky, pressed into shapes and sizes comparable to a Chicken McNugget, but sliced to a medium thickness.
It's semi-moist jerky with a faint oily surface feel. Being bite-sized, it's not necessary to tear apart, however they're still very easy to tear apart, and likewise very easy to chew.
The chewing texture starts out with some initial chewing resistance, but still somewhat soft and rubber-like. Just a few chews and they start breaking down, and then render into a soft mass in about 15 seconds. At that point, it takes on a meaty consistency, but mushy, more like a partially-cooked meat loaf.
Being chopped & formed, I can see some color variation in these pieces. I can spot several pieces with white or translucent chunks. Several pieces also have short pieces of fiber protruding out, which I'm not sure what that could be. But I didn't encounter any hard or unchewable bits of material.
I also found these rather clean eating. My fingers picked up trace amounts of oil, otherwise nothing else messy.
I paid $5.99 for this 3oz package at a Love's Truck Stop in Barstow, CA. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.00 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I'm not getting much snackability out of this due to sub-par flavor, and lackluster meat consistency. That price is comparable to what you'd pay for other major brands of jerky at most stores, but I think provides worse flavor and consistency.
As a "Sizzling Sweet" beef jerky, at the same $2.00 price per ounce, it's a weak value again. It's got the sweet, but I don't get any sense of this being "sizzling". There's nothing fiery, hot, or spicy about this.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Sizzling Sweet variety from Matador Beef Jerky is definitely a sweet beef jerky, but doesn't really provide much of a "sizzling" flavor or experience. It's very mild jerky, containing nothing hot, spicy, or fiery. I'm not sure what about this is supposed to be sizzling.
The overall flavor doesn't really provide a snackable flavor in my opinion. It's more like a meat loaf flavor, with a sweet, slightly tangy tomato sauce flavor, maybe one that had sat uncovered in the kitchen for the better part of a day.
It's certainly not anything a beef jerky aficionado would want to eat, but it's probably good for its intended audience of teenage kids sliding their skateboards down handrails at the park. For that matter, Matador ought to just do a co-branded variety, like a Monster Energy Drink flavored beef jerky.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a root beer.
Where to buy:
- Grocery and convenience stores in the USA