Burning-O Jerky is a relatively new brand that appears to have launched within the last couple of years. The package I received offered very little information about the company other aside from the owner claiming to "feel out the market" to see if it's feasible to make a business out of it.
The company, which is based out of Ankeny, IA, currently offers only one flavor, this Spicy Lemongrass.
A couple of other websites have produced video reviews, but no one yet has published anything comprehensive, so here's my shot at it.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a saucy flavor, comparable to fish sauce found in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. There's a fair amount of salt and chile pepper flavor. There's also a lot of burn building up quickly.
The chewing flavor brings on the same flavors, though perhaps an increased saltiness, and the addition of a light natural meat flavor.
For being marketed as a Spicy Lemongrass variety, I'm definitely getting a lot of spiciness in terms of heat and chile pepper flavor, but it's hard to discern the lemongrass.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to represent this jerky the most is that fish sauce flavor, along with a strong saltiness.
As for the level of heat, I'd rank this as "hot" (level 5 out of 5). It definitely lights up the taste buds and is one of the most hotter jerky brands I've had, and I consider myself as being quite tolerable of hot foods.
The natural meat flavors are lightly noticeable, providing just enough flavor to make this jerky more than just a tongue-scorcher. There's also a noticeable oily flavor that combines with the meat flavor giving this jerky a flavor reminiscent of beef dishes found in Vietnamese lunch shops.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is mostly the fish sauce flavor with a heavy saltiness, along with an light oily, meaty flavor, and a ton of heat and chile pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of medium thickness, and lengths of three to four inches.
This is a semi-moist jerky with a very oily surface. The strips are very flexible, being able to bend all the way back on themselves without cracking. Biting off chunks requires a bit of gnawing and pulling, while chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture seems good overall, starting off with a bit of initial chewing resistance, and then requiring a fair amount of chewing to get down to a soft mass. At that point, it feels much like chewing a real steak, though with some chewy, stringy tissues mixed in.
I can see some bits of fat on most strips, and the chewy, stringy tissues I mentioned above tends to remain in mouth as unchewable wads.
In terms of clean eating, my finger tips pick up copious amount of oil, along with some chile pepper flakes, requiring finger licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
Burning-O Jerky sells this Spicy Lemongrass variety from its website at a price of $30.00 for 16 ounces. Shipping is free in the United States. That works out to a price of $1.88 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.88 per ounce price, it's an excellent value. That price is the same as what you'll pay for major brands of jerky found in grocery stores, and yet this will offer you much better flavor and texture, though similar meat consistency.
As a Spicy Lemongrass variety, at the same $1.88 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of spiciness in terms of heat and chile pepper flavor, but I can't seem to identify the lemongrass component.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Spicy Lemongrass variety from Burning-O Jerky is actually quite good with it's fish sauce marinade and oily, meat flavor that gives is a character comparable to beef dishes you find in small Vietnamese lunch shops throughout the Little Saigons of Southern California.
I'm only keeping from assigning a five-star rating because I'm having trouble finding any lemongrass flavor. While I'm sure Burning-O added lemongrass spice to this, perhaps the stronger fish sauce, saltiness, and chile flavors make it tough to discern.
Even though I found the heavy oily residue on my fingertips to be an annoyance, particularly when it falls on my clothing or on my desk, I still can't deny how original and unique it is to find a jerky that tastes like I'm eating strips of beef from a plate of spicy Pad Thai.
The chewing texture is quite good, even with the stringiness, and the bits of chewy tissues. That just seems to make it more like what you'd get from Vietnamese and Thai eateries.
My recommended beer pairing, go for something creamy and smooth, like a can of Boddingtons or Tetley's to sooth over the tongue burning.
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