Hock had been making jerky for some 20 years before launching Bayou Blend. He started the business after seeing an opportunity to offer meat snacks with more unique cajun-style flavor than competing brands.
This Mèlange Original is claimed to be dried but not smoked. The packaging is branded with the phrase, "Cajun don't have to mean hot!!". Hock says that the seasoning blend is a mixture of several different seasonings used in South Louisiana cooking on a daily basis.
Beef, water, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, crab boil powder, garlic powder, liquid smoke, onion powder, crab boil liquid, hot sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a salty seasoning blend weighted towards garlic, onion and a faint bit of spiciness.
The chewing brings in the same seasoning with a bit more definition and an increased spiciness. The seasoning becomes more complex taking on a very savory quality with touches of citrus and other spices that's difficult to ascertain.
For being marketed as "Melange Original", in which the word melange refers to a mixture of different things, it's seems to hold up well. It has a complex blend of seasonings, which aside from garlic, onion, salt, and some kind of chile pepper, is difficult to pick out all the subtleties that go into this. But if you think about words like "bayou", "cajun", and "Louisiana", the flavor seems quite representative. I think of a pot of seafood gumbo with some hot sauce and a ton of spices thrown in.
Otherwise, the flavors that seems to define this jerky the most is the complex seasoning blend. It starts with a salty, garlic and onion combo, but brings in a little bit of hot sauce, maybe touches of lemon citrus, and who knows what else. The natural meat flavors are not well noticed in this, but there's also light amount of sweet and hints of the soy sauce towards the latter part of chewing.
As for the spiciness, there is indeed some heat to this. I'd rank this as "medium" on my personal heat scale (level 3 out of 5), even though the package states, "Cajun doesn't have to mean hot!!"
Overall, the ingredients combine really well to create a jerky flavor with a bold, spicy seasoning flavor that seems to mimic something you'd expect to get from cajun-style cooking.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small bite sized pieces, as well as a good deal of small bits.
This is a dry jerky with a lightly oily surface feel. They have a pliable, soft plastic-like flexibility. Chewing seems to be chewy, but not tough, still somewhat easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling like soft, pliable plastic with a fair amount of chewing resistance. A few chews into it, and it just starts to break down, and takes on a more meaty resemblance. Once it chews down to a soft mass, it feel much more like a piece of steak cooked well-done.
I don't find any bits or streaks of fat on this jerky, not did I find any gristle or tendon. Because these pieces are cut into small and very small pieces, I don't really pick up any stringiness and found no unchewable wads of tissue.
In terms of clean eating, it's mostly clean with a light bit sticky-oily residue on my fingertips, not enough to require a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
Bayou Blend doesn't sell this jerky for retail on its website. The company says it is available in stores throughout the State of Louisiana. Otherwise, I don't have retail pricing information.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Melange Original beef jerky from Bayou Blend has a very bold, complex seasoning flavor that grabbed my attention right away. It adds in a noticeable hot sauce component giving this jerky a bit of the vinegar/chile pepper dimension, but also a wee touch of lemon citrus in the background. The end result is a flavor that seems to reflect the taste of cajun-style cuisine.
The meat consistency seemed great despite having a bunch of tiny bits that make it cumbersome gathering up enough to produce a decent amount of chew. It's not tough to chew, but moderately easy and feels like real steak once its chewed down soft.
But I wasn't able to get enough of the natural meat flavors in this which essentially reduces this jerky down to its marinade flavor, which is actually pretty good, but not quite enough to break into the top layer of "best".
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