Last in the series on JV Jerky is this Hot Beef Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Hawaiian, Hot Cajun, Teriyaki, Habanero, and Mild 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 Style is described by JV Jerky as "Hickory flavor with a stronger pepper taste across the tongue. Leaves a delightful slight peppery bite on the sides and rear of the tongue. A taste sensation that will have you coming back for more."
Beef, black pepper, salt, monosodium glutamate, garlic powder, modified food starch, sodium nitrite, soy lecithin.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is an oily flavor, followed by a good deal of black pepper flavor. Some saltiness comes in soon after.
The chewing flavor starts with a lot of natural meat flavor, an increased saltiness, and an increased black pepper.
For being labeled as a "Hot" beef jerky, this doesn't seem to hold up that well. I don't really see this as hot at all. There certainly is a lot of black pepper flavor, and that flavor does present a good deal of "bite" on the tongue, but not really any burn. That's not to say that black pepper doesn't produce any heat; I have in fact had black peppered jerky from other brands that did produce some burn, but this one from JV Jerky doesn't produce much.
On my personal heat scale, I see this as "mild-medium" (level 2 out of 5). Others who don't tolerate a lot of black pepper might see it one level higher at "medium". In terms of spiciness, this is indeed quite spicy, but don't confuse that with heat.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is the natural meat flavor. There's also a good deal of saltiness that runs deep into the meat and presents itself well into the chewing. The saltiness feels to be at a moderate level.
JV Jerky says this Hot variety has a hickory flavor, but I don't really taste much of that, nor any kind of smokiness. The company says that all of their jerky is real wood smoked on premises, but this one doesn't produce much of a smoky flavor. When I analyze the flavors carefully, I can actually taste a slight bit of smokiness, but when snacking away on this, I don't really notice it.
Overall, this jerky comes off tasting like a black peppered jerky, where the natural meat flavors take center stage, with a fair amount of oily and fatty flavor, and a moderate saltiness.
These 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 only a little bit of flexibility, cracking open with just a small degree of 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.
Nearly all strips contain some amount of fat, some more than others. I didn't find any rubbery chewing like I found in the company's Mild variety. I don't find any streaks of gristle or tendon, but I did find a light bit of stringiness. Overall I'm not getting any 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 variety 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 an good deal of snackability for an overall good flavor, easy eating, though a very oily meat consistency, and good chewing texture. That price is considerably lower than what you'll spend at the grocery store for major brands of jerky, but still provides a better flavor.
As a Hot beef jerky, at the same $1.42 price per ounce, it's a fair value. It's not really hot, but better described as spicy. The only way you'll see this as "hot" is if you don't tolerate hot foods at all.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Hot beef jerky from JV Jerky offers up plenty of black pepper flavor, but with a dominant natural meat flavor, and a moderate saltiness plus a some oily and fatty flavor. It's not really "hot", it's just spicy. The only way you'd see this as hot is if you're someone who doesn't tolerate hot foods. But that presents an oxymoron, because people who don't tolerate hot foods don't buy hot foods.
It would have been better labeled as "Peppered", because that's really what this is. That's the flavor you'll get from this. As it is now, if I were to see the "Hot" label and buy this, I'd be disappointed.
But judging this on its own qualities, it's still a good jerky. It's easy to eat with its semi-moist consistency, and the natural meat flavors are quite tasty. Even with its simple flavor, I still felt it was worth a "good" rating just because of the natural meat flavors. However, I still didn't get any hickory or smoky flavor out of this as JV Jerky suggests, and you might find the heavy oily surface to be messy.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a nutty brown ale, which should compliment the meat flavors well. Try the Rogue Hazelnut Brown or the Abita Pecan Harvest Ale.
Where to buy: