Next in the series on Mike's Jerky is this Special Pineapple. See my previous reviews of their Lemon Pepper, Santa Fe, and Black Pepper varieties.
Mike's Jerky is a brand of Old World Beef Company based out of Albuquerque, NM. The company was started by Mike and Brenda Grier in 2008. The couple had been making jerky for many years and were always told that they ought to go into business selling it, except they were already busy running an RV dealership. But when the bad economy hit, their dealership went out of business, and that cleared the way for them to start Old World Beef Company.
This Special Pineapple variety is described by the company as "Crushed pineapples with sweet seasonings straight from the Hawaiian Islands."
Beef, pineapple, LiHing Powder (prune, salt, dextrose monohydrate, malic acid, yellow 5 & 6, Red 40)
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sweetness, and a light fruity flavor, along with a light roast beef flavor. There's just a hint of salt that I can pick up.
The chewing flavor starts with a slightly increased roast beef flavor. The sweet and fruity flavor becomes a bit more increased as well.
For being labeled as "Special Pineapple", there does seem to be a light pineapple flavor in this, but it's really more of a sweet and fruity flavor. That is, it has a well-pronounced fruitiness, but not necessarily a well-pronounced pineapple. But there does seem to be enough pineapple flavor in this to discern.
Otherwise, the dominant flavor of this jerky is that combination of sweet & fruity flavor. The actual pineapple flavor comes in behind that, with the natural meat flavor being even more light.
Unlike with the previous varieties I reviewed for Mike's Jerky, the natural meat flavor in this is much less noticeable, perhaps due to the stronger sweet and fruity flavor. But it still has that same flavor, tasting like fresh roast beef deli slices.
The level of saltiness in this feels very light, almost not noticeable at all.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is a light roast beef flavor with a dominant sweet & fruitiness, with a light bit of pineapple flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced very thin, and in small to medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. It has no flexibility, being quite brittle, and will snap apart with a little bit of bending. It's very easy to tear pieces apart, and very easy to chew.
The chewing texture starts out feeling dry and brittle with no chewing resistance. I get a good deal of crunch chewing a piece down, and its chews down to a soft mass very quickly with little effort. At that point it feels very much like a piece of roast beef deli cut, but a little more dry.
I can see several spots of fat on these slabs, but they offer no additional flavor and no additional chewing texture. This batch contained no gristle that I could see, however I did note in Mike's Santa Fe variety, I found a large streak, so it's seem to be hit and miss.
In terms of clean eating, these seem very clean. My fingers picked up no residue, though snapping off pieces dropped just minimal amounts of meat fragments and pepper.
Mike's Jerky sells this Special Pineapple variety from its website at a price of $5.00 for a 2oz package. If you bought 8 packages, the shipping works out to $5.38 if sent to Southern California. That comes to $2.84 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.84 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I'm not getting enough snackability from this largely due to its stronger sweetness and fruitiness, though it has a good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. That price is a lot higher than what you'll pay at the grocery store for one of the major brands, yet I see this as having a little less snackability.
As a "Special Pineapple" variety, at the same $2.84 per ounce price, it's a fair value. I do pick up a light pineapple flavor, but mostly it comes off as a stronger sweet and fruity flavor.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Special Pineapple variety from Mike's Jerky does offer a light pineapple flavor, against a much stronger sweetness and fruitiness, and then a light natural meat flavor resembling much like fresh roast beef deli slices.
The overall flavor, however, still tends to be dominated by just the sweetness and fruitiness, with the unique pineapple flavor and natural meat flavors being clouded behind. I'm not sure pineapple lovers will get much mileage out of this, and I'm not sure beef jerky lovers will get a lot out of this either; it seems like who will be attracted to this are Fruit Loops fanatics.
Otherwise, it still has a good meat consistency, being easy to eat, with a light bit of crunch, and a meaty chewing texture.
My recommended beer pairing for this, try something very light flavored, like a St. Peter's Cream Ale, or a Bard's Sorghum Ale.
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