Next in the series on The Jerky Connection is this Lizard Wizard. See our reviews of their other flavors.
Run by Tom Greineder, 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".
Described as "the right amount of sweetness with a little zip", this Lizard Wizard flavor is made with a sweet and tangy marinade with a "secret blend" of crushed peppers.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness, followed by what tastes like black pepper.
The chewing flavor starts with a tangy chewing, almost citrus-like, with a light natural meat flavor coming in towards the end of chewing. There's also a saucy flavor, quite possibly worcestershire as it seems to have that tamarind character. There's a light bit of heat in the back of my mouth.
For being marketed as a sweet jerky with a tangy marinade and a blend of crushed peppers, it seems to hold up. I do indeed taste a light to moderate sweetness throughout, as well as a tangy chewing that mimics something citrus-like, perhaps orange or grapefruit, and then finally a light bit of heat in the background.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky most of all is the combination of sweetness and the citrus-like tanginess. There's a noticeable saucy flavor, perhaps worcestershire, and then finally a light bit of natural meat flavor in the latter part of chewing.
Despite the light bit of burn, I don't really taste any of the chile pepper seasonings. On my personal heat scale, I'd rate this as mild-medium (level 2 out of 5), but perhaps it could register a little more hot for others.
The level of saltiness in this feels moderate.
Overall, it's a very savory jerky with its saucy, tangy chewing, but also satisfies a little bit of the sweet tooth as well. But there's a decent spiciness of red pepper seasoning, and I think some black pepper, though not really that hot.
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 & sticky surface feel. The strips are flexible but still somewhat stiff. Chewing is a little labored, but overall tolerable.
The chewing texture starts out dry and 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 really pick up much residue aside for a very thin sticky, oiliness.
The Jerky Connection sells this Lizard Wizard 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.
For a sweet, savory, tangy and spicy jerky, also at the $1.69 per ounce price, it's a great value. It definitely delivers those four characteristics, and does so better than other competing brands, but at a substantially lower cost.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Lizard Wizard jerky from The Jerky Connection does a good job of balancing out the sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy flavors for a jerky that provides a little bit of everything. The savory flavors seem to come from something that tastes like worcestershire, while the tangy almost has a citrus-like quality.
But even though this generates a good spiciness from the red pepper seasonings and what I believe black pepper, the heat is low enough for most people to enjoy. It's not going to light you up, just liven up the senses.
There's even some of the natural meat flavors, though only noticeable towards the latter part of chewing when other flavors have worn off. Overall, a well-balanced jerky in flavor, and with the same excellent meat consistency and chewing texture that The Jerky Connection delivers across all of its flavors.
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