Mike's Jerky recently released some new flavors, and graciously sent samples to us for review. See all of our previous reviews of Mike's Jerky.
This "El Diablo" variety is marked "Hotter than Hell... We double-dog dare you!"
Mike's Jerky is a brand of Old World Beef Company based out of Albuquerque, NM. The company was started by Mike and Brenda Grier in 2008. The couple had been making jerky for many years and were always told that they ought to go into business selling it, except they were already busy running an RV dealership. But when the bad economy hit, their dealership went out of business, and that cleared the way for them to start Old World Beef Company.
Beef, black peppercorns, bhut jolokia (ghost pepper), sea salt, onion, lemon rind, garlic, lemon oil, citric acid.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is an immediate burn, and a faint saltiness.
The chewing brings in the natural meat flavors, along with more burn, some chile pepper flavor, and an increased saltiness.
For being marketed as "El Diablo", specifically a Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) beef jerky, it lives up pretty well. There's a LOT of heat! The burn comes on immediately and ramps up quickly, practically stabbing my tongue relentlessly. But there's also some Bhut Jolokia flavor in this, just a light amount, more of the dried, crushed variety.
Otherwise, the primary flavor of this jerky seems largely the natural meat flavor mixed with a light saltiness. The Bhut Jolokia flavor is more like a layer of seasoning over that. It's difficult to pick up else because the heat from the peppers are incredibly hot.
The natural meat flavors have the same fresh, clean flavor of deli roast beef that Mike's Jerky is known for.
The level of saltiness feels light to moderate.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced very thin, and in small to medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. It's mostly brittle, though it still has some small degree of flexibility. But for the most part, it's crunchy. It's very easy to break pieces off, and very easy to chew.
The chewing texture starts out feeling dry and brittle with no chewing resistance. I get a good deal of crunch chewing a piece down, and its chews down to a soft mass very quickly with little effort. At that point it feels very much like a piece of roast beef deli cut, but a little more dry.
I can see several spots of fat on these slabs, but they offer no additional flavor and no additional chewing texture. I see no streaks of gristle or tendon, encountered no stringiness, and no unchewable tissues.
In terms of clean eating, these seem very clean. My fingers picked up no residue, though snapping off pieces dropped just minimal amounts of meat fragments and seasoning.
Mike's Jerky sells this El Diablo variety from its website at a price of $15.00 for a 6oz package. If you bought 4 packages, the shipping works out to $6.95 if sent to Southern California. That comes to $2.79 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.79 per ounce price, it's a decent value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability for an overall satisfying flavor, good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to other brands of jerky, the price is slightly higher, and seems to offer a comparable flavor, though a better chewing experience.
As a Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) beef jerky, at the same $2.79 per ounce price, it's a good value. I get a lot of heat, producing a searing level of stinging burn, along with a light amount of Bhut Jolokia flavor.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This El Diablo beef jerky from Mike's Jerky attacks the tongue immediately with a high level of burn that stings like a hot knife. Having been seasoned with dried, crushed, Bhut Jolokia peppers (Ghost Pepper), it's holds nothing back, and gives you exactly what you expect, high doses of heat. But it also gives you a light amount of Bhut Jolokia flavor, just enough to enjoy over the natural meat flavors.
Could this be the hottest beef jerky on the planet? Well, Ed's Roadhouse Scorpion Bite and Trailhead XXX Naga Jolokia are still pretty damn hot. But I'd hold this El Diablo pretty close to that.
What also makes this jerky a treat to enjoy is the easy eating and crunchy texture. And once its chewed down soft, it still feels like real meat.
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