Thursday, September 23, 2010

Uncle Mike's Beef Jerky - Spicy Hot

uncle mike's beef jerkyNext in the series on Uncle Mike's Beef Jerky is this Spicy Hot variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.

Uncle Mike's Beef Jerky is a brand of Walnut Creek Cheese of Walnut Creek, OH, having been in business since 1977. Walnut Creek Cheese is a popular destination for tourists visiting the Amish Country of Ohio.

In 1998, they acquired Uncle Mike's Beef Jerky, and today it's manufactured in Walnut Creek Cheese's own USDA inspected facility.

Ingredients

Beef, salt, sugar, paprika, monosodium glutamate, spices, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, sodium nitrite.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light meaty flavor, followed by a light saltiness. I can pick up a garlic flavor, while a light spicy heat starts to build.

The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness, increased garlic, a light chile pepper flavor, and a light bit of natural meat flavor. There's also a touch of black pepper noticeable.

For being advertised as "Spicy Hot", it seems to fit that bill, particularly with the spicy part. I'm tasting a blend of several spices, particularly garlic, black pepper, and cayenne chile pepper. As for the hot part, it gives off a decent level of heat, sitting at a medium level on my personal hot scale (level 3 out of 5).

But the primary flavor of this jerky is much like with Uncle's Mike's Original variety, which is a barbecue-like flavor. I think it comes from the combination of sugar, paprika, and garlic. It's more like the barbecue seasoning you find in a package of barbecue-flavored potato chips than a barbecue sauce.

The natural meat flavors seem light, similar to the Original variety, but perhaps even more light due to the stronger spices.

There seems to be a dominant saltiness to this. It could rather just "feel" salty due to the spicy burn of the spices, but either way, after eating a few pieces the saltiness becomes rather strong.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this is a barbecue seasoning flavor, much like with the Original flavor, but to a more concentrated degree. You'll also pick up a medium level of burn with some cayenne pepper flavor, a high level of saltiness, and lighter touch of natural meat flavors.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, into strips of varying lengths and widths.

This is a semi-moist jerky having a semi-moist surface feel, and a slight oiliness too. These pieces have a good deal of flexibility, with some being able to bend 180 degrees back on itself with little cracking. Biting off chunks can be tough in some pieces, but less so in others. Chewing also varies between tough in some pieces and easier in others.

The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender, with some initial chewing resistance. But when chewing, they reveal a more chewier, tougher nature. The softer pieces are less so, but still require a fair amount of chewing. Once chewed down to a soft mass, they feel like a real piece of steak.

I see some small bits of fat on these pieces, and in one piece a small bit of gristle. There's also a lot of stringiness in this, and that seems to produce a good deal of unchewable wads of tissue.

As for clean eating, I can feel a faint bit of oiliness and stickiness on my fingertips, but still quite dry enough to type on my keyboard. There's also a fair amount of meat and seasoning fragments falling on my lap.

spicy hot beef jerky

spicy beef jerky
Snack Value

Walnut Creek Cheese sells this Spicy Hot beef jerky from its website at a price of $3.99 for a 3.6oz package. I bought six packages in all in different flavors. The shipping costs come out to $13.86, for a grand total of $37.80. That works out to $1.75 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.75 per ounce price, this seems to offer a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability due to a good overall flavor, a decent meat consistency and decent chewing texture. That price is about the same as what you'll pay for one of the major brands of jerky at the grocery store, and yet offers better flavor.

As a Spicy Hot beef jerky, at the same $1.75 per ounce price, it's also a good value. I'm getting a lot of spiciness in a decent variety of spices, and a medium level of heat.

Rating

uncle mike's beef jerky nutritionI'm giving this a good rating.

This Spicy Hot variety from Uncle Mike's Beef Jerky seems to hold up well to that description with a tasty mixture of spices, notably garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper, and a medium of heat.

The barbecue seasoning flavor in this seems to create a lot of snackability for me, especially combined with the semi-moist meat consistency and steak-like chewing texture. The addition of cayenne pepper flavor and chile pepper flakes only adds to my enjoyment.

I just didn't like the heavier saltiness in this. I don't if this actually is more salty than the company's Original variety, the nutrition facts label indicates it's the same. But it just feels more salty, perhaps being exacerbated by the heat from the peppers.

My recommended beer pairing for this, try something with a sweeter or fruitier note, like the Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, or Dogfish Head's Midas Touch.

Rating: Good

Buy this online:

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, my wife spotted the Uncle Mike's jerky for me at a gas stop on our recent family vacation road trip. I'd been eating some awful stuff (Pemmican, and Uncle Buck's) and she said, "Try it, how bad can it be?"

    Well, I am glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. We tried the original and the spicy hot flavors, and both were quite good. My wife preferred the original--I preferred the spicy hot.

    The Uncle Mike's isn't greasy, the consistency was good, and the flavor was solid. Overall, it felt like a good, quality jerky and it's definitely ten-times better than the traditional convenience store brands we get here in the midwest (read: Jack Link).

    I probably wouldn't go out of my way to order it online or anything, but if I'm on a road trip and someplace has it, I'd stock up for the haul, because I've yet to find anything better at a gas station. In fact, I would call this "premium" and not "convenience store" jerky.

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