Last in the series on Black Tiger Beef Jerky is this Vicious variety. See my reviews of their Legend Original, and Jungle Spice.
Black Tiger Beef Jerky is a brand of Black Tiger, LLC based out of La Mirada, CA. It's a relatively new brand, having just launched a website this summer, and just starting to get its products in stores.
This Vicious is their hot variety, flavored with habanero chiles and lime juice.
Beef, barbecue sauce (water, soy sauce, sugar, salt, garlic, monosodium glutamate, caramel color, black pepper, citric acid, disodium inosinate guanylate, sodium benzoate), brown sugar, spice, lime juice, liquid smoke, vinegar, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste on the surface of these pieces is a sweet, saucy flavor. A fair amount of heat builds up. I can also sense a bit of black pepper.
The chewing flavor seems to have the same flavors but in greater amounts, and in more definition. The heat continues to intensify.
For being dubbed "Vicious", with the subheading of "Sweet Lime Hot Habanero", it seems to hold up somewhat. It has a great deal of heat, which I would rate as "hot" (level 5 out of 5) on my personal hot scale. It actually starts out at a medium level of heat, but after eating several pieces it builds up intensity. I don't taste much of the unique flavor of habanero in this, though I can pick up light amount of chile pepper.
As far as the "Sweet Lime" part, this is definitely sweet. But the lime part is faint. There's perhaps a weak lime flavor back in there, with a light tanginess in the chewing. The tanginess is more noticeable than the lime flavor.
But overall, it's the barbecue sauce flavor that I taste more than any other ingredient. Just like with the Legend Original variety, it has an asian-style flavor, quite sweet, and very much a flavor I would associate with barbecue. When mixed with that tanginess, it's actually quite good.
The black pepper seems to produce a significant flavor as well, but it mostly sits in the back of my mouth, leaving the barbecue sauce more front and center.
The natural meat flavors are totally absent in this.
The level of saltiness feels to be at a low to medium level.
What you're going to taste in this is largely the sweet, asian-style barbecue sauce flavor, with a lot of heat mixed in, a noticeable black pepper in the back of your mouth, and a light amount of chile pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into thin slabs, and in medium to large sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a lightly sticky surface feel. These slabs are very flexible, being able to bend all the way back on itself with no cracking. Tearing pieces off with my fingers is easy to do, while chewing is somewhat easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling pliable, with a some initial chewing resistance, and require an average amount of chewing to get down to a soft mass. At that point, it has a soft texture, somewhat meat-like, more like soft steak.
I don't find any sizeable pieces of fat, only small streaks here and there. I didn't find any gristle like I did with the Legend Original variety. I don't find much stringiness in the meat either, and no unchewable wads of tissue.
As for clean eating, my fingers don't pick up any residue handling this, but I'm getting a lot of black pepper and chile pepper fragments falling off as I tear pieces off.
Black Tiger sells this Vicious variety from its website at a price of $7.00 for a 3oz package. I bought six packages in all, which include other flavors. Shipping came out to $9.97, for a total of $51.97. That works out to a price of $2.89 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.89 per ounce price, it's a decent value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for an overall great flavor, though an average meat consistency. That price is quite higher than what you'd pay for major brands of jerky at the grocery store, but yet it seems to provide a better flavor, though not a better meat consistency.
As a "Vicious" variety, specifically marketed as "Sweet Lime Hot Habanero", it's a decent value as well. I'm getting a lot of heat, and a lot of sweet. However, the lime and habanero flavor are very light.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Vicious variety from Black Tiger Beef Jerky seems to live up to its namesake with a lot of habanero heat, enough to reach a level 5 out of 5 on my heat scale. I'm able to pick up a faint bit of chile pepper as well. But this jerky also bills itself as "Sweet Lime", and while it's definitely sweet, the lime flavor is hardly noticeable. If anything, there's a light tanginess in the chewing.
I actually found this quite comparable to the company's "Jungle Spice" variety I reviewed earlier, except the flavor in this Vicious is more intense, giving you more heat, a touch of tanginess, and even more black pepper.
Overall, I think the asian-style barbecue sauce flavor that Black Tiger uses in all three of the varieties I reviewed is a wonderful flavor for beef jerky, but it seems to work even better with the spicy habanero, black pepper, and light tanginess found in this Vicious. But I'm still not finding the meat consistency all that impressive. It just doesn't really feel like eating real meat.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a porter. Try the Stone Smoked Porter, or the Anchor Porter.
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