Next in the series on Lando's Jerky is this Sweet & Spicy variety. See my previous reviews of their Hickory, Garlic Pepper, and Inferno varieties.
Lando's Jerky is run by Alex Landers of Chicago, IL, who's been making jerky for years and started selling it to his co-workers. Since then he's set up an eBay store to sell his jerky to the public, and now has launched his own website.
All of his jerky is made fresh to order using USDA choice grade angus from his local meat market, marinates for 24 hours, and then finally slow-cooks and smokes it for 6 hours.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smokiness, followed quickly by a light sweet, and a light saltiness, and what tastes like soy sauce.
The chewing flavor generates a lot of natural meat flavor. After eating a few pieces, there's a very faint spiciness building.
For being billed as "Sweet & Spicy", this doesn't stand up very well. I can taste a light sweetness, but it's very light. And the spiciness is quite light. In fact, I can't even identify it all in the first couple pieces, and it's not until that third piece that I can finally detect a faint spiciness. And there on afterwards, it builds up to just a light spiciness.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to represent this jerky more than anything else is the natural meat flavor. It has that dehydrated flavor than a cooked flavor, but there's a light bit of a fatty flavor mixed in.
There's a light touch of smokiness to this, not much, but just barely noticeable. Then mixed into the chewing is a light soy sauce flavor. The sweet & spicy flavors are only there to add a bit of color to the overall flavor, though the sweetness tends to wear off quickly.
The level of saltiness in this feels to be at medium.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips ranging from two to eight inches in length, and sliced medium thickness.
This is a dry jerky, but having a semi-moist surface feel. The strips have a lot of flexibility, being able to bend all the way back on themselves without cracking. Biting chunks off these strips seems easy to do, while chewing is "chewy" but overall still fairly easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, with a fair amount chewing resistance. The first several chews are chewy, but the meat breaks down without any laborious effort. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it feels very much like a piece of steak, cooked well.
I see bits of fat on several of the strips, but they're small bits. Otherwise it appears very meaty. I don't see any gristle or tendon, encountered only a minimal stringiness, and no unchewable tissues.
In terms of clean eating, it seems pretty clean. Only faint traces of oil on my fingertips, but still clean enough to type on my keyboard, and very minimal fragments falling off to my lap.
Lando's Jerky sells this Sweet & Spicy variety at a price of $13.95 for an 8oz package, and comes with free shipping. That works out to a price of $1.74 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.74 price per ounce, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting an average snackability for an overall satisfying flavor, good meat consistency and great chewing texture. Considering that price is about the same as what you'd pay for the major brands of jerky at a grocery store, I think you're getting a little better snackability overall.
But for being labeled as "Sweet & Spicy", at the same $1.74 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I'm getting only a light amount of sweet, and a light amount of spiciness, and I would expect more considering those two flavors are this jerky's selling point.
This Sweet & Spicy variety from Lando's Jerky provides only light amounts of sweet and spicy flavors, too light for me to consider this as a "Sweet & Spicy" jerky, and more along the lines of what I would find in the plain varieties of many other jerky brands.
A tasty natural meat flavor, with a faint touch of smokiness, and a light soy sauce flavor, is largely what you're getting out of this, which itself I find satisfying, but still not quite what I would consider an above-average flavor when compared to the 240+ brands of jerky I've reviewed thus far.
This jerky's good meat consistency, fairly easy eating, and good chewing texture is it's strong points. If it could deliver better on the sweet & spicy, then I think would have the flavor needed to get this up to a four-star rating.
My recommended beer pairing for this, I would go with a double IPA, where the heavier malt compliments the natural meat flavors, and the strong hops will cleanse the palate enough to bring out the spiciness better. Try Russian River's Pliny the Elder, or Alesmith's IPA.
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