The company, run by Tom Greineder, already carries 28 different flavors of beef jerky ranging from mild to burning hot. It's signature line of jerky is the "7 Gates of Hell", a series of seven different degrees of heat made from the hottest peppers in the world. And then the company has two more flavors on top of that even hotter.
This Dixie variety is actually among their mild varieties, described as a "Southern inspired mixture of spices and Texas smoke". I chose to start with this flavor so as to establish a base line of the company's meat and marinades. But I will be venturing into the company's most insanely hot flavors later.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, then followed by a light salty seasoning blend.
The chewing flavor starts with the natural meat flavors in a slightly more intense smokiness. There's also a noticeable garlic flavor in the background after several chews.
For being described as, "Southern inspired mixture of spices of Texas smoke", the flavor certainly does have a noticeable smoky character, and a seasoning blend that does conjure up images of a barbecue on a hot, dusty Texas plain. The seasonings seem to have a garlic and pepper quality, mostly, and I want to say a light bit of cayenne.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky clearly starts with the smokiness, then graced with the seasoning blend, and then followed by the natural meat flavors. There's also touch of sweet swimming inside of all that, poking its head above the flavors enough to suggest a faint barbecue sauce flavor.
The natural meat flavors have a taste that reminds me of eating beef ribs, with a just a touch of sweet.
Despite the company putting this Dixie variety in with the "Mild" category, this actually generates a wee bit of heat, not enough to register above "mild medium" on my personal heat scale (level 2 out of 5), but perhaps those with softer tongues might find a cold beverage quite soothing.
After eating several pieces, the saltiness feels somewhere between medium and high.
Overall, it's a primarily a smoky jerky, with a seasoning blend, slight spiciness and a touch of sweet, that it actually resembles barbecue sauce to a light degree. But it's mostly the natural meat flavors and smokiness that makes this jerky stand out.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium thickness, and sliced into small strips large enough to accommodate one or two bites.
This is a dry jerky with a slightly oily surface feel. The strips are flexible but still somewhat stiff. Chewing is a little labored, but overall tolerable.
The chewing texture starts out dry but chewy, and offers some initial chewing resistance that can exercise the jaw muscles somewhat. It takes on a meaty, steak-like feel as the chewing goes on, and by the time it's rendered into a soft mass, it feels just like eating a piece of steak.
I don't see any bits or streaks of fat on these pieces, it all looks to be quite lean. I don't really encounter any stringiness nor any unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, my finger tips pick up a light oily film, sometimes requiring a licking or wiping before touching the keyboard.
The Jerky Connection sells this Dixie variety from its website at a price of $22.00 for a one pound bag. Add to that $5.00 flat rate shipping, and it works out to a price of $1.69 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.69 per ounce price, it's a great value. I'm getting a good overall flavor, a great meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, this is priced considerably less, but offers far better snackability.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Dixie variety from The Jerky Connection offers a well-noticed smokiness against a tasty natural meat flavor with garlic and pepper seasonings, and perhaps a touch of sweet. Put it all together and it seems to resemble something like barbecue.
Overall, the big winner in this jerky is combination of smokiness and natural meat flavors, having a taste that almost reminds me of barbecued beef ribs. Also, the meat consistency is excellent, being all lean, giving you a meaty chew with no stringiness and no unchewable bits.
It does tend to wear out my jaw muscles after awhile, but if you nibble here and there over a movie or while driving a car, I think it's just fine.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a nutty brown ale, like a Rogue Hazelnut Brown, or the Abita Pecan Brown.
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