You can see my previous review of their Dixie variety.
The Jerky Connection is a new business that launched last June, based out of Wrightsville, PA, boasting several flavors ranging from mild to insanely hot, including a line of jerky dubbed, "7 Gates of Hell".
The company is run by Tom Greineder, who like many other jerky entrepreneurs, began by making jerky for himself and friends, and due to the overwhelming positive feedback, decided to turn it into a business.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness, followed by a light saltiness. The burn from the habanero picks up quickly. I'm also getting a light smokiness, and a chile pepper flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, and something of a teriyaki flavor.
For being marketed as, "Teriyaki Habanero", it seems to hold up. I'm not getting a well-defined teriyaki flavor, though I'm getting a good deal of the habanero chiles. The teriyaki is noticeable, mostly as a light sweetness and subtle soy sauce flavor. The flavor of the chiles are noticeable enough to enjoy and seems to offer a good deal of heat. On my personal heat scale, I'd rank this as hot (level 5 out of 5).
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky is primarily the habanero chiles with its unique flavor and high degree of heat. But there is the teriyaki sauce with its lightly sweetned soy flavor that provides the backdrop, and then the natural meat flavors with a light smokiness.
It's hard to find the wine/vinegar component of teriyaki in this, as well as the ginger, against the more dominant habanero. But considering the habanero is meant to share the spotlight of this jerky, I didn't think it's a big deal.
Putting everything together, this jerky does really well in the taste category, offering up largely the habanero chile flavor and heat over a lightly sweet teriyaki backdrop, but still giving you a lightly smoky, natural meat flavor. It seems heavier on the habanero side than the teriyaki, despite the company claiming to have just a pinch of habanero.
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 Teriyaki Habanero 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.
As a Teriyaki Habanero variety, it's also a great value, giving me a good deal of habanero chile flavor and heat, along with a noticeable teriyaki flavor, at a good level of quality against a lower-than-average cost.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Teriyaki Habanero beef jerky variety from The Jerky Connection gives you plenty of habanero chile flavor and heat, against a lightly sweet, teriyaki backdrop, and a lightly smoky natural meat flavor.
Combined with an good meat consistency, a very meaty chewing texture, though somewhat laborious chewing, it makes for a very enjoyable snack, particularly for those who love the fiery goodness of habanero chiles.
And it does provide a high level of heat, though still not too high, allowing you to snack away like potato chips, and letting the rush of capsaicin build ever higher in your blood system.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a smooth oatmeal stout, like a Samuel Smith's, or the Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin.
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