Next in the series on A&J South Florida Jerky is this "Spicy Habanero". Refer to last week's review of their Mild Habanero, or the earlier one of their Original.
A&J South Florida Jerky is a brand of A&J South Florida Jerky, Inc. based out of West Palm Beach, FL. The brand has been around since 2006. It's run by Andy Cohron and Jim Torhorst, a couple of buddies who had been making jerky for themselves and friends over the past 15 years. They make all their jerky in their own USDA approved facility.
This Spicy Habanero is described by the company as being based on the same jerky as their Original flavor, but with double the habanero chiles than their Mild Habanero.
Beef, soy sauce, sugar, habanero pepper, garlic, black pepper, ginger, soy lecithin.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light saltiness and a light sweet mixed together, with a light soy sauce flavor coming in soon after.
The chewing flavors start with a bit more definition of soy sauce and some more saltiness. A light habanero flavor comes in, as well as a light natural meat flavor, and finally a light bit of heat starts to build.
For being dubbed "Spicy Habanero", this jerky seems to hold up to that name. I'm getting a fair amount of heat from this, but all that hot. On my personal hot scale, I'd put this at medium (level 3 out of 5). But I can also get a light habanero chile flavor as well.
But oddly enough, considering this Spicy Habanero variety has double the chiles as the company's Mild Habanero variety, I'm not really getting double the flavor. It still seems to have the same amount of habanero flavor as the Mild, which again is at a light amount.
Otherwise the flavor that seems define this jerky is a mild soy sauce flavor. It's an unmistakable soy sauce flavor, but not overpowering and not that salty either. I'd say the saltiness is at a medium level of intensity.
The natural meat flavors are there, but in a light amount. There's also a slight fatty flavor that adds a more "beefy" character.
Unlike with the company's Original variety, the ginger is not well noticeable in this, but I can still detect trace amounts of its taste.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this Spicy Habanero variety is largely a mild soy sauce flavor, with a light bit of habanero chile flavor, and a moderate amount of habanero chile heat. You'll pick up a light sweet on the surface, a medium saltiness, and a light natural meat flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, some sliced thin, others sliced medium, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky but with a lightly sticky-oily surface feel. They have little flexibility in that they easily crack open and break apart with some bending. Biting off chunks seems easy, and chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and slightly brittle, without much initial chewing resistance, breaking apart in a few chews. At first it starts to feel crumbly, but as it continues to chew down to a soft mass, it seem to take on a steak-like feel, but still with a crumbly nature.
I can see small streaks of fat on some pieces, while others seems like pure meat. I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon. I do find a fair amount of stringiness in several pieces, and some pieces resulted with unchewable wads of tissue.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a light sticky and oily feel, in some cases enough that I needed to lick and wipe them off before touching my keyboard.
A&J South Florida Jerky sells this Spicy Habanero beef jerky from their website at a price of $4.50 for a 4oz package. If you bought four packages (sent to Southern California), they tack on sales tax of $1.17 plus $5.00 shipping, for a total of $24.17. That works out to $1.51 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.51 per ounce price, it seems to present a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for an overall good flavor, and being easy to eat, but with a somewhat crumbly texture. That price is considerably lower than what you'd pay for major brands of jerky at the grocery store, and yet it provides considerably more snackability.
As a Spicy Habanero beef jerky, at the same $1.51 price per ounce, it's also a good value. I'm getting a fair amount of heat, but certainly not "hot" by any means, and I do get a light habanero flavor. Considering the price is actually lower than Oberto's Habanero variety, you're getting more habanero bang for the buck.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Spicy Habanero variety from A&J South Florida Jerky seems to provide a moderate amount of heat with a light amount of habanero chile flavor.
It's seems pretty much the same as the company's Mild Habanero in terms of flavor, just a bit more heat. Despite the use of double the habanero chiles, the amount of habanero flavor is still about the same. I do enjoy the extra bit of heat in this, but just that alone is not enough for me to warrant a better rating.
But you still get an overall good jerky in both taste and meat consistency, better than what you'll get from the major brands, but about on par or maybe just slightly better than some of the gourmet brands. But the price point on this, at $1.51 per ounce with the shipping added in, means you're getting some good value.
My recommended beer pairing, go with a lighter bodied brown ale, like the Newcastle Brown Ale or the Moose Drool Brown Ale.
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