It's described by the company as "a citrus base with layers of flavor that at first don't heat your mouth up.. but wait a minute or two and you will see how ghost peppers got their name."
We first reviewed Gnawjaw last April with their first three initial flavors, Sweet, Angry Dill, and Cajun. Gnawjaw Jerky is based out of York, PA, launched by a long time jerky craftsman named Eric Farrington, who makes jerky in his own state-inspected dehydration facility he calls, "The Beef Morgue".
Beef, cayenne pepper sauce, orange juice, various seasonings, ghost peppers.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong ghost pepper flavor with highlights of cayenne pepper. A light sweetness is noticeable, as is a light saltiness. The heat is immediately noticeable.
The chewing brings in the natural meat flavors along with a slight bit more saltiness. The light sweetness seems to be ramped up more, with perhaps a faint touch of orange. The heat picks up more.
For being marketed as "Nuclear Lick", particularly as a ghost pepper jerky, it seems to deliver on that promise. For one, I can easily taste the unique flavor of ghost pepper chiles, and I can also feel its strong burn. I don't find it to be as intensely hot as other brands of ghost pepper jerky, however. This is far more tempered, yet still offers a high level of flavor. The addition of cayenne pepper sauce creates a nice saucy/tangy character that makes this more addicting.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky starts largely with the ghost pepper chiles, but bolstered with the tanginess of the cayenne pepper sauce. It's tempered, however, by a sweet, faintly citrusy, orange juice. The natural meat flavors make up the next most noticeable flavor, finished off by a moderate saltiness.
On my personal heat scale, I'd rank this as "hot" (level 5 out of 5). But considering this is made from ghost peppers, it's actually not that hot. Heat freaks won't get the tongue folding, eye popping insanity from a few other ghost pepper jerky brands, but they will get a lot of the flavor.
The natural meat flavor in this jerky has an aged flavor, particularly with pieces containing streaks of fat.
These are pieces of whole meat, cut into bite-sized pieces, and sliced thin.
It's a dry jerky with a slightly moist surface feel. The pieces are soft and flexible and overall easy to chew.
The chewing texture presents little initial chewing resistance and easily chews down into something meaty. I don't identify much rubbery chewing or mushy chewing. It tends to feel steak-like.
I do see several pieces with some streaks of fat, some of which contributes a fatty flavor. Otherwise, I didn't find any gristle or tendon. I didn't feel any stringiness or other unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, it's mostly clean aside from a faint sticky film on my fingers.
Gnawjaw sells this Nuclear Lick beef jerky from its website at a price of $10.00 for a 5oz package. If you bought four packages, shipping to Southern California comes to $5.00. That works out to a price of $2.25 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.25 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its good overall flavor, good chewing texture, and good meat consistency. Compared to major brands of jerky, it offers better flavor and chewing for the same or slightly higher price.
As a ghost pepper jerky, at the same $2.25 per ounce price, it's also a good value. I'm getting a lot of ghost pepper chile flavor, with a good deal of burn, at a price that's still competitive with most brands.
This Nuclear Lick variety from Gnawjaw Jerky delivers the unmistakable flavor of ghost pepper chiles with a good deal of burn to go along. It combines together a tangy, cayenne pepper sauce, sweetened with orange juice, to create a lively, addicting flavor.
Compared to the other varieties of jerky I reviewed from Gnawjaw last April, this one seemed easier to chew, perhaps due to these pieces being sliced more thin. It still chews and feels like real meat.
For being ghost pepper jerky, it's actually not that hot. But keep in mind, it's still hot, just not the fist-pounding, fire-breathing hot that other ghost pepper jerky brands are known for. With this one, you get all the flavor of a ghost pepper jerky, but tempered in heat.
Buy this online: