See my reviews of their Dixie and Teriyaki Habanero varieties.
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 chile pepper flavor, followed by a light saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with some kind of seasoning, perhaps celery seed and/or dill, among others, and resembling something like a cross between Old Bay and Mrs Dash. The chile pepper flavor is just lightly increased. Meanwhile, a moderate level burn heats up the mouth, over a light natural meat flavor.
For being marketed as "Red Pepper", it seems to stand up well. This does offer a light chile pepper flavor along with a medium level of heat and a moderate sprinkling of red pepper flakes. On my personal heat scale, I'd rate is as level 3 out of 5.
Otherwise, the flavor that seems to define this most of all is the seasoning coming in with the chewing, followed by the light chile pepper flavor, and then an even lighter natural meat flavor.
As for the "tang" described on the label, I can faintly pick up something that could be described as such, but it seems to be something in the seasoning. Perhaps it's lemon zest, it's hard to say. Otherwise, it's not very noticeable, just enough to generate a little "Hmmm" while chewing.
The natural meat flavors are quite light in this, and hard to pick up against the seasoning and red pepper.
The level of saltiness in this seems light overall.
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 mostly dry, though slightly moist, 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 don't pick up any residue, though some of the red pepper flakes tend to fall off while pulling pieces apart.
The Jerky Connection sells this Red Pepper 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 for a Red Pepper beef jerky, at the same $1.69 per ounce price, it's a great value. I'm getting a fair amount of red pepper flavor, a moderate burn, and a medium sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
I'm giving this a good rating. This Red Pepper variety from The Jerky Connection offers a a fair mount of chile pepper flavor with a medium level of heat. You get a tasty seasoning mix in the chewing and a light natural meat flavor.
If I were to just evaluate this jerky on the red pepper flavor and the natural meat flavor, I'd find it as average. But the seasoning mix really adds a lot of interest to the flavor, and is why I bumped it up to good. It has a flavor reminiscent of celery seed, even reminds me of Old Bay or Mrs. Dash.
The seasoning mix is probably the most interesting flavor component. It's not quite the seasoning you'd expect to find in beef, it's more like something you'd expect to find on fish or chicken. But it creates enough interest to push this jerky above the average.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with an oatmeal stout, particularly the Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin or the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.
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