Next in the series on JV Jerky is this Hot Cajun Style. See my previous reviews of their Mild, Habanero, and Teriyaki varieties.
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.
This Hot Cajun Style is described by JV Jerky as "Our Cajun style beef strips are seasoned with our secret "Louisiana Cajun" flavorings and red, white and black pepper. The strips are smoked in our stone smokehouse to give you that spicy deep south Louisiana taste. Great flavor and good heat, but it's not going to hurt you. A favorite of all spicy food lovers."
Beef, seasoning (salt, sugar, spices (red, white and black pepper), hydrolyzed soy protein, garlic powder, sodium, onion powder, sodium erythorbate, spice extractives), sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is an oily flavor, followed by a light saltiness, and a noticeable burn building up.
The chewing flavor starts with a strong natural meat flavor, and then a stronger saltiness, with some noticeable black pepper flavor, and a lighter chile pepper flavor.
For being labeled as "Hot Cajun Style", there certainly is enough heat in this to warrant the word "Hot", though on my personal heat scale, I'd probably rank this as medium (level 3 out of 5). But I think there's enough burn in this that fiery food lovers will get a decent amount of satisfaction from it.
As for the "Cajun" part, it's always hard to nail down exactly what cajun is supposed to taste like, other than just being hot and including a lot of spices. But I'd say it holds up considering this does have a pronounced spiciness through a noticeable black pepper flavor and a chile pepper flavor, and both combine to generate a fair amount of heat.
Otherwise, the dominant flavor of this jerky is actually a natural meat flavor with a considerable saltiness mixed into it. Even though JV Jerky says this jerky was smoked in their smokehouse, this doesn't really have a noticeable smokiness to it. Some of these pieces have significant streaks of fat on them, which does seem to add some extra beefy flavor. And these pieces are very oily which also adds to the flavor.
The black pepper and chile pepper flavors tend to add highlights to the natural meat flavor. There's also a lighter garlic and onion flavor that helps up the overall flavor profile. The level of saltiness in this feels to be at a high level.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is the natural meat flavor mixed with a high saltiness. It's further supported by black pepper and chile pepper flavors, and a light garlic & onion seasoning.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of varying widths and lengths and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry 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 woody but very oily. There's barely any chewing resistance. It breaks down and chews to a soft mass quite easily and quickly, and at that point, it actually feels comparable to eating a real piece of steak. However, there are several pieces sliced more thin that have a crumbly chew, where the meat fibers break off from each other, but don't mesh like a real steak.
Some 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. There's no stringiness either, and I found no 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 Hot Cajun Style 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 Hot Cajun Style beef jerky, at the same $1.42 price per ounce, it's also a good value. I'm getting a medium level of heat, and it seems to give me the sense of eating something cajun, having some heat and having a lot of spicy flavors.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Hot Cajun Style beef jerky from JV Jerky dishes out a medium level of heat and mixes in a blend of peppery seasonings that seem to do a decent job of representing the "cajun" description. Like the company's Mild variety, it's still the natural meat flavor with a well-noticeable saltiness that makes up the dominant flavor.
Despite JV Jerky claiming this was smoked in their smokehouse, I didn't pick up any smokiness from it. I also found the heavy oiliness to burden the snackability by having to lick and wipe my fingers each time I touched a piece, particularly because I like to snack on jerky while I work on my websites.
It seems to be better than the average lot of jerky brands I've reviewed mainly because it offers a lot of natural meat flavors, delivers on its advertised flavor, is easy to eat, and for the most part chews like real pieces of meat. But it's also because this particular review sample didn't have too much fat like I found in the company's Mild variety. I say that with some reservation because I know that's just a variance in the batches and packaging. You could order this Hot Cajun and very well find way too much fat.
But just going on what this particular review sample provided, it's seems good. What I think would make it better, is to get more of that real wood smoke, and add a little tanginess in the chewing.
A good beer pairing for this I think is something sweeter and more refreshing. Go with a maltier pale ale, like the Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, or the Firestone Double Barrel Ale.
Where to buy: