first publication to announce it.
A total of three new flavors, Sweet & Spicy, Hot & Bothered, and Teriyaki, offered in both beef and turkey varieties, now grace the line up of Perky Jerky offerings. All are made with gluten-free ingredients.
Perky Jerky is billed as a "performance enhancing meat snack", being infused with guarana and caffeine, two popular energy supplements used in a variety of other products designed to invigorate one's body. The company says one package of Perky Jerky contains about the same caffeine as a can of energy drink.
Teriyaki: soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, granulated garlic, guarana extract, black pepper, ginger.
Hot & Bothered: soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, granulated garlic, guarana extract, crushed red pepper, black pepper, ginger.
Sweet & Spicy: soy sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, lemon juice, jalapeno powder, granulated garlic, black pepper, guarana extract.
Sweet & Spicy (Rating "Best" ): Sweet right off the start, but brings in a jalapeno flavor right away. There's a moderate saltiness to drive the chewing while the garlic kicks in. It has a nice tanginess in the chewing that beckons me to keep reaching for more. There's also just enough black pepper in the background to create a light pungent aftertaste.
The overall flavor of this jerky comes mostly from the sweet, tangy flavors with the jalapeno chile adding light spice and gently kick. It's not really hot at all despite ingredients like "hot sauce" and "jalapeno", though if you don't tolerate spicy foods, it might be hot enough for ya.
Teriyaki (Rating "Average" ): `Very sweet initially, but gently rolls in a light soy sauce flavor. There's faint touches of the pineapple flavor. The black pepper and ginger hardly noticeable.
This is the most mild flavor of the three, and in fact it's more mild than Perky Jerky's original flavor too. It doesn't really come off with a true teriyaki flavor, in that it doesn't quite have the fermented character that comes with mirin wine or sake used in authentic teriyaki. The ginger flavor, which is also a key ingredient in teriyaki, is not noticeable. But overall, it's a very mild tasting jerky for folks who need a gentler perking up.
Hot & Bothered (Rating "Average" ): Just like with the Teriyaki, it's very sweet initially, and it also gently rolls in a light soy sauce flavor. However, this has hints of red chile flavor as evidenced by the bits of crushed red pepper.
But it's not really "hot" by any means. In fact, it still feels mild on my personal heat scale (level 1 out of 5), despite being named Hot & Bothered. Otherwise, this tastes almost exactly like the Teriyaki, with exception of faint bits of red chile pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole, appearing to be beef brisket, sliced into thin to medium thickness, in small to medium sized pieces.
The Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered is a semi-moist jerky with sticky/oily surface feel, while the Sweet & Spicy is a dry jerky wth a semi-moist surface feel. All are very flexible and easy to chew.
The chewing texture of the Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered start out feeling very soft, as if they're lightly dehydrated. Meanwhile, the Sweet & Spicy has a more dehydrated feel to it. The Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered chew very soft, practically mushy, as if they're cooked rare. The Sweet & Spicy tends to be chewy up front, requiring a little more chewing to get down to a soft mass. Once chewed down, it feels very much like eating a steak cooked medium.
All three varieties have small streaks of fat in them, and all have a little bit of stringiness too. They also have light touches of fatty flavor as well. Otherwise, I didn't find any unchewable bits or wads.
The Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered leave a light oily film on my fingertips, while the Sweet & Spicy tends to handle more cleanly.
Perky Jerky sells these new gluten free flavors from their website at a price of $4.99 for a 2.2oz bag. You can get free shipping if you buy a box of 12 bags for $59.88. That works out to a price of $2.27.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.27 per ounce price, it's a fair value for the Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered, but it's a good value for the Sweet & Spicy. The Sweet & Spicy has a great flavor, lightly spicy, tangy, with jalapeno and garlic touches, much better than what you'd pay for other brands, but priced similarly.
The Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered varieties don't really offer much of their advertised flavor. The Teriyaki doesn't really taste much like teriyaki at all, just a heavily sweet, light soy sauce flavor, while the Hot & Bothered is not hot at all and doesn't bother me much. But the Sweet & Spicy is both sweet and spicy, just as advertised.
I'm giving the Sweet & Spicy a "Best" rating, while the Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered get "Average' ratings.
The Sweet & Spicy from Perky Jerky offers a delicious flavor that brings in a tangy chewing with a balance of sweetness and spiciness, the flavor of jalapeno chiles, a savory garlic flavor and touches of black pepper.
Meanwhile, the Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered both taste the same with the exception of the Hot & Bothered having touch of spicy red pepper. Also, the Teriyaki doesn't really taste like teriyaki, at least not authentic teriyaki in the Japanese tradition. The Hot & Bothered, likewise, is not hot at all, just barely registering a bit of spice.
Still, if you're an energy whore like many people are these days, but you want the health benefits of eating gluten-free, well here's your opportunity. Even if the Teriyaki and Hot & Bothered don't really offer the flavor they advertise, they still offer the guarana-infused energy boost and the gluten-free snacking.
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