Next in the series on JV Jerky is this Habanero Beef Jerky. See last week's review of their Mild Beef Jerky.
JV Jerky is a brand of JV Jerky, Inc. based out of Lodi, OH. It's actually more well known by locals in the North East Ohio area as part of Mack's Food Center, a fixture in Medina County since 1947 as a combination grocery store, deer processor, and meat locker. Both Mack's Food Center and JV Jerky are owned by John Vanni, the son of the original owners. The company manufacturers its jerky in a smokehouse next to Mack's Food Center, using real hickory wood.
JV Jerky's website says this Habanero Beef Jerky is flavored with red savino habenero chiles, and warns that this jerky is for folks like a really hot fiery flavor.
Beef, seasoning (salt, sugar, habanero pepper, spices, hydrolyzed soy protein, garlic powder, onion powder, spice extractive, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is an oily flavor. It's soon followed by a good deal of spicy heat, along with a moderate level of saltiness, and a noticeable garlic.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness, and some light natural meat flavors. The garlic seems to pick up a tad along with the onion powder.
For being labeled as a Habanero beef jerky, this seem to hold up to that description. I'm getting a light bit of habanero chile flavor, but a lot of habanero chile heat. You'd expect a habanero jerky to be hot, and this jerky seems to generate a good deal of burn. On my personal hot scale, I'd rank this as "medium-hot" (level 4 out of 5).
Folks who don't tolerate hot foods should definitely stay away from this, but those of you consider yourselves as chile pepper freaks, you'll get a little bit of the habanero flavor, a decent amount of capsaicin rush, and a nice little burn.
Of what habanero chile flavor there is in this, it tends to peak about mid-way through the chewing, and then tails off just before I swallow it down.
But the ingredient that seems to dominate this jerky is the natural meat flavor. There's a good deal of oiliness on the surface of these pieces that mixes into that flavor, and there's also a fair amount of fat on these pieces that will kick in a more "beefy" taste.
Despite JV Jerky touting this jerky as being smoked over hickory chips, I don't really pick up much smokiness at all.
There's also a well-noticeable saltiness in the chewing. It feels somewhere between a medium to high level, but that could also be exacerbated by the chile pepper burn.
The garlic and onion powder seasoning is noticeable in this.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is mostly the natural meat flavors, with a good deal of oily and fatty flavors mixed in. The habanero chile flavor is light, while the habanero heat is somewhat strong. There's also a well-noticeable saltiness, and some garlic and onion.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of varying widths and lengths and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a semi-moist jerky with a very oily surface. These pieces have fair amount of flexibility, but will crack open with some bending. Biting chunks off of these strips seems easy to do, and chewing seems quite easy as well.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender, with barely any chewing resistance. It breaks down and chews to a soft mass quite easily and quickly, and at that point, feels just like eating a real piece of steak, perhaps cooked medium-well.
Most of these pieces have some noticeable chunks and streaks of fat on them, but they didn't generate any rubbery chewing like I found with the company's Mild variety. I don't find any streaks of gristle or tendon. I did find a light bit of stringiness, but overall I'm not getting much unchewable wads of tissue.
As for clean eating, these are not. Each handling presents a good deal of oiliness on my fingers, requiring a licking and wiping before touching anything else.
JV Jerky sells this Habanero beef jerky from its website at a price of $7.75 for an 8oz package. If you bought four packages, the shipping costs to Southern California works out to $14.16, for a total of $1.42 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.42 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for an overall good flavor, easy eating, good chewing texture, though a very oily meat consistency. That price is considerably lower than what you'll spend at the grocery store for major brands of jerky, but seems to be a better jerky overall.
As a Habanero beef jerky, at the same $1.42 price per ounce, it's also a good value. I'm getting a light bit of habanero chile flavor, though a good deal of chile pepper heat. Compared to other Habanero beef jerky brands I've evaluated, it seems just above average in flavor and heat, but priced considerably less.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Habanero beef jerky from JV Jerky provides a light bit of habanero chile flavor, but packs a good deal of burn. For those chile heads out there, you'll get a nice little rush of endorphins, plus a decent amount of heat, in a soft, semi-moist, and steak-like chewing texture. But despite JV Jerky marketing this as being smoked over real hickory wood, I don't taste any smokiness.
Compared to the company's Mild variety I reviewed last week, this seems to provide a better flavor with the addition of habanero seasoning, and this review sample seems to have less streaks of fat, giving me more meat, and a more meaty chewing texture. Those two reasons are why I rated this one level higher than their Mild variety.
But while I say this Habanero review sample had less streaks of fat compared to the Mild, it's likely just a variance in the batches. Another package of JV Jerky Habanero might have even more fat. Compared to the 230+ jerky brands I've evaluated thus far, JV Jerky seems to be fatty and oily in general.
But the good news is that it's priced quite low compared to other gourmet brands, and even priced lower than the major brands. If not for the shipping costs, this would be priced at just $0.97 per ounce, which technically makes it a bargain brand, but with a superior flavor and better meat consistency over the other low-budget jerky.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a malty pale ale to round out the jerky flavors with some sweet, and help quench the spiciness. Try the Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, or the Firestone Double Barrel Ale.
Where to buy: