Next up in the series on Jerky John's is this Cayenne Hot variety. See my previous reviews of their American Original, and Pacific Teriyaki varieties.
Jerky John's is a brand of Jerky John's, Inc. based out of Huntington Beach, CA. Launched in 2009 by John Keller, a former Army paratrooper, the brand markets itself as being the healthiest beef jerky. It boasts one of the lowest, if not the lowest sodium content, and about 40% lower cholesterol. It's also about 50% lower in calories than other brands.
Keller started making beef jerky in 1994 to supplement his paratrooping activities.
Beef top round, Kikkoman's Low Sodium Soy Sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, Yoshida's Teriyaki Sauce, brown sugar, granulated garlic, Tabasco Sauce, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, Prague Powder (sodium nitrite).
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a worcestershire sauce flavor, with a good deal of sweetness. There's a light bit of burn building, with a light chile pepper flavor. A little later some saltiness builds.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined worcestershire flavor. Combined with the sweetness, it adds a bit of tanginess. There are some natural meat flavors, and the garlic becomes a little more noticeable. Meanwhile the burn builds up a little more strength, and the cayenne pepper is lightly noticeable.
For being labeled as "Cayenne Hot", this jerky seems to hold up. I'm getting a light chile pepper flavor, and a moderate amount of heat. On my personal hot scale, this seems to register at medium (level 3 out of 5). It doesn't really score a homerun with the cayenne pepper flavor and heat, but it does offer enough to warrant the labeling I think.
Otherwise, the ingredient that seems to dominate this jerky is the worcestershire sauce. By comparing the ingredients list with the company's American Original, this seems to use the same marinade, of soy sauce, worcestershire, and teriyaki. Yet it seems this has a stronger worcestershire, whereas the American Original has a stronger soy sauce. There's even a stronger worcestershire aroma in this.
The natural meat flavors are light but noticeable. Some pieces are more marbleized which adds some fatty flavor.
Garlic is also a noticeable component, and I want to say it's a little bit more pronounced than with the American Original, perhaps because the worcestershire tastes stronger in this.
The level of saltiness in this feels somewhere between low to moderate. Even though the nutrition facts label shows a very low sodium content, it doesn't really taste low, which could be a good thing since you're getting the flavor without getting the higher blood pressure.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is an easily noticeable worcestershire sauce flavor, with a good deal of sweetness, a light natural meat flavor, some garlic, and a light bit of cayenne pepper. The heat seems to be at a medium level.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium thickness, and in small to medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky having a sticky, semi-moist surface feel. These pieces have a fair amount of flexibilty, but will still crack open when bent far enough. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems fairly easy, while chewing is quite chewy and a little labored.
The chewing texture starts out feeling semi-moist, but chewy. There's a fair amount of chewing resistance, and requires a some labored chewing to get down to a soft mass. At that point, it takes on a meaty feel, steak-like feel, but still rather chewy.
Some pieces have some visible streaks of fat, while others do not. I don't see any gristle or tendon, but when tearing these pieces apart I get a lot of stringiness which is also noticeable in the chewing. I'm also finding a good deal of unchewable wads of tissues.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers end up with a fine sticky film, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard. I don't see much fragments of meat falling off as I tear pieces apart.
Jerky John's sells this Cayenne Hot through Amazon.com at a price of $25.96 for four 4oz packages. Shipping costs of $4.99 brings the total to $30.95. That works out to a price of $1.93 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.93 per ounce price, this offers a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its great overall flavor, and decent meat consistency. Compared to the major brands of jerky found in grocery stores, this is priced about the same, though clearly better in flavor.
As a Cayenne Hot variety, at the same $1.93 per ounce price, it's a decent value. I'm getting a light chile pepper flavor and a moderate amount of heat. It's probably comparable to the amount of chile pepper flavor and heat I'd get from a Jack Link's Carne Seca, or an Oberto Habanero, at a comparable price, though it's a more tough chew.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Cayenne Hot variety from Jerky John's provides a lightly noticeable chile pepper flavor, with a medium level of heat. The cayenne pepper is by no means the spotlight flavor in this; it only adds some extra flare to what is largely a worcestershire flavored jerky with a good deal of sweetness. But that stronger worcestershire and sweet seems to create a little bit of tanginess in the chewing, which makes this more enjoyable.
Assuming fiery food freaks is who will likely buy this Cayenne Hot jerky, it'll provide enough heat to notice along with a lighter amount of cayenne pepper flavor. It won't however, provide enough of it to make chile pepper aficionados sing any praises. Like with the company's American Original, this jerky is still about the marinade, except with a stronger worcestershire.
The meat consistency is also not any different, still somewhat tough and laborious to get through. After consuming the entire contents of a package, my jaws muscles are starting to feel tired.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a smooth, creamy imperial stout. Try the Alesmith Speedway Stout, or the North Coast Old Rasputin.
Buy this online: