SlantShack Jerky here.
SlantShack Jerky is the only brand that offers a "Build Your Own" jerky, where you select grades of beef, marinades, and seasonings. It also offers customers the option of 100% grass-fed beef or grain-fed beef. The company is leading a movement to redefine jerky in terms of customization, artisan craftsmanship, and cutting edge flavors.
This particular flavor I'm reviewing here was created through the company's "Build Your Own" jerky feature on its website.
Beef, soy sauce, garlic powder, white vinegar, 100% pure maple syrup, ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, water, onion powder, honey, cumin, molasses, liquid smoke.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light soy sauce flavor, garlic, and a moderate sweetness. I can pick up touches of cumin and onion, and faint amounts of spiciness.
The chewing flavor starts with a bit more sweetness, and a noticeable degree of the ketchup and tabasco sauce. The spiciness increases.
For being dubbed, "Hot & Smoky with Vermont Maple Glaze & Garlic Powder", it seems to hold up for the most part. It seems spicy enough to warrant the word "hot", though I'm not picking up much of the smoky flavor. I do identify light touches of maple syrup, though it's more noticeable as a moderate sweetness. The garlic flavors are easily identifiable.
The flavors that seems to define this jerky most of all is the sweetness combined with the ketchup, tabasco, and garlic. The soy sauce is something lightly noticeable at first, but is quickly overtaken. There are noticeable, but light, graces of cumin and onion in the background. There's even a touch of tanginess in the chewing, likely from the vinegar.
The natural meat flavors are difficult to identify in this, unlike other varieties from SlantShack, but I can make out traces of the flavor.
On my personal heat scale, I'd rate this as "medium", a level 3 out of 5.
The level of saltiness in this feels medium in intensity.
Overall, this is a very flavorful jerky, mostly mixing the maple syrup sweetness, a noticeable garlic, and a tomatoey spiciness of tabasco.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into slabs and strips, and sliced medium thickness.
This is a dry jerky with a sticky surface feel. These pieces have a fair amount of flexibility, some more than others. Biting off chunks seems fairly easy to do, while chewing seems comparably as easy.
The chewing texture starts out stiff, but breaking down easily with light chewing. Some pieces seemed more chewy than others. The sweetness tends to create some sticky, gummy feel, but once chewed down to a soft mass, it tends to feel rather steak-like, comparable to one cooked well-done.
I see some tiny bits of fat on some pieces, but for the most parts looks rather lean. I don't see any gristle, but I did encounter some stringiness, but overall not too bad.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a light sticky residue that often requires some licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
Slantshack Jerky sells this Hot & Smoky with Vermont Maple Glaze & Garlic variety through its Build A Jerky website at a price of $52.00 for a one pound package. Shipping is approximately $6.00. That works out to a price of $3.63 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.63 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm getting a lot of snackability from its great overall flavor, good meat consistency and good chewing texture. That price is substantially higher than major brands of jerky sold in grocery stores, but is clearly more enjoyable overall.
As a Hot & Smoky with Vermont Maple Glaze & Garlic variety, it's a decent value. I'm getting a good sweetness from the maple syrup, not much of the smokiness, but clearly an enjoyable spiciness and strong garlic flavor.
This Hot & Smoky with Vermont Maple Glaze & Garlic variety from SlantShack Jerky packs in a lot of great taste with a complex flavor profile enough to keep a jerky aficionado pleased through several pieces. I love the noticeable combination of ketchup and tabasco sauce, and the heavier garlic flavor. It has nice level of sweetness along with a noticeable tangy chewing. I can even pick up the trace amounts of cumin and onion in the background.
Even though its claimed to "Hot", it's not really that hot, but still packs in enough heat to keep things respectable. I couldn't pick up as much of the natural meat flavors I usually find with SlantShack's other varieties, but the marinade and seasonings were good enough to keep me reaching for more.
Even the meat consistency and chewing texture was above average, overall easy to eat, and providing a good meaty chew while keeping the stringiness and unchewables to a minimum.
My recommended beer pairing for this, try a lighter brown ale such as the Newcastle Brown, or a maltier lager such as the Sam Adams Boston Lager.
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