Next in the on-going series of The Jerky Connection is this Devil's Den variety. See our reviews of other flavors from The Jerky Connection.
Run by Tom Greineder, The Jerky Connection is a new business that launched in June 2012, based out of Wrightsville, PA, boasting several flavors ranging from mild to insanely hot, including a line of jerky dubbed, "7 Gates of Hell".
This Devil's Den is described by the company as being the ultimate destination after you've passed through all 7 Gates of Hell. Having won the Silver Medal in the 2013 Scovie Awards, it's supposed to be even hotter, being made from a, "...sinister blend of peppers".
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a chile pepper flavor, having a floral, fruity flavor, and perhaps a touch of sweet.
The chewing brings in what appears to be a very light soy sauce and a light natural meat flavor.
For being dubbed, "Devil's Den", particularly a very hot jerky, hotter than their Gate 7 jerky, I think it's stands up. The heat starts out at a moderate level and slowly ramps up to a higher degree. At first, I taste the flavors of chile, with a light floral, fruity character.
How hot is this? Very hot. On my personal heat scale, I'd rank it as "hot" (level 5 out of 5). Compared to the company's "Gate 7", it's hotter. I think it's also a touch hotter than their Satan's Flaming Hemorrhoids, though I think the SFH has a better bouquet of chile pepper flavors. But just like the SFH, this Devil's Den variety has that same long lasting endorphin rush that makes my body "buzz" and turns on the sweat factory.
It's not a sharp heat that cuts into my tongue on first touch, it's more of a slow building burn that starts out at a medium level and continues to ramp up piece after piece. The burn is more heavy in the back of my mouth.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky is the floral/fruity character of the chile peppers. There's also a light soy sauce that is barely noticeable, and then the lighter natural meat flavors.
The level of saltiness in this feel light.
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 semi-moist surface feel. The strips are flexible but still somewhat stiff. Chewing is a little labored, but overall tolerable.
The chewing texture starts out tender and flexible, with a light bit of resistance. It breaks down with some labored chewing, but overall not too tough. It soon takes on meaty feel, 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 fair amount of oily, sticky residue with bits of chile pepper seasoning, requiring a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
The Jerky Connection sells this Devil's Den beef jerky from their website at a price of $29.00 for a 1 pound package. Add to that shipping of $6.30 out to Southern California, and it works out to a price of $2.21 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.21 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a good overall flavor, great meat consistency and great chewing texture. Compared to other gourmet brands of jerky, it's similarly priced, with a little better flavor.
As an extremely hot beef jerky, at the same $2.21 per ounce price, it's a good value as well. I'm getting a lot of heat, and a nice endorphin rush, along with plenty of chile pepper flavors, probably more so than other competing brands.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Devil's Den beef jerky from The Jerky Connection delivers on its promise of burning the Hell out of your mouth, or should I say burning the Hell into your mouth. It's not a sharp, cutting heat, more of a slow-building burn that keeps on going until your body is buzzing with a rush and your body is sweating like a sailor in a Thai brothel.
Like some of The Jerky Connection's other insanely hot varieties, namely the Satan's Flaming Hemorrhoids and the Gate 7 Jerky, this has the same long-lasting endorphin rush that goes on and on. However, I think those other two varieties may actually have a better overall bouquet of chile pepper flavors. This Devil's Den just seems to have a hotter burn.
Otherwise, it's still a simple tasting jerky, namely the full, rich flavors of chile peppers against a light soy sauce marinade and a little of the natural meat flavors.
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