Monday, September 1, 2014

Hungry Truckers Beef Jerky

hungry truckers beef jerky
Hungry Trucker Beef Jerky is the creation of Tim Kirchhofer, based out of Wapakoneta, OH. Tim started the line of jerky just this year.

Kirchhofer is a truck driver who relies on beef jerky to help him get through the day. He became tired of the same old stuff sold at truck stops, and wanted to come up something entirely his own. He offered it to friends and received so many words of encouragement, that he's trying his hand at the beef jerky business.

Hungry Trucker Beef Jerky currently offers 6 flavors, but have sent us 4 flavors for review. Right now all of their orders are done via Facebook.

Simply Steak


hungry truckers beef jerky simply steak
Ingredients: Beef, Swanson 100% Natural Beef Broth, Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion, Swanson Beef Flavor Boost, worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, McCormick's Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer

The first flavor to the hit the palate is a saucy seasoning, very representative of the beef broth and Lipton Onion ingredients. The chewing brings on the natural meat flavors with an increased seasoning from the flavor boost and meat tenderizer.

Overall this jerky has a high savory quality that really draws you in. To describe the flavor, think of beef broth, aus jus, brown gravy, and french onion soup. That's the general taste profile. But throw in some of the natural meat flavors, and that's largely what this jerky tastes like.

There's a fair amount of saltiness to this, but I don't find it too salty. It's quite mild in terms of spiciness and heat. The liquid smoke ingredient is very light and the worcestershire is barely noticable.

The meat consistency looks mostly all meat with very little fat to be seen. I do pick up a fair amount of stringiness, however. Otherwise, this jerky is chewy, mostly at a moderate level, with a few pieces more soft and some more tough. It has a very meaty chew and once chewed down soft, it feels just like a real piece of steak.

To sum it up, I like this Simply Steak variety, it's unique from other brands because it puts a great deal of emphasis on the savory character through its unique ingredients, and I like the meaty consistency and steak-like chewing.

Rating: Good

Kickin' Teriyaki

hungry truckers beef jerky kickin teriyaki
Ingredients: Beef, Simply Asia Ginger Teriyaki, Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Weber Teriyaki Marinade Mix, Teriyaki Saute Express Seasoned Meal Powder, minced garlic, onion powder, granulated sugar, kosher salt, brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground cumin.

The first flavors to come through on this is a teriyaki sauce flavor, with a noticeable ginger, and touches of heat.  The chewing brings out a little of the natural meat flavors with a more defined teriyaki sauce.  There's actually a light tanginess in the initial flavors with something of a garlic & onion seasoning.

Overall, the primary taste profile is that of teriyaki, with all the components of true Japanese-style teriyaki: heavy sweet, soy sauce, fermented character, and a light ginger.  But it's put on steroids with some garlic & onion seasoning and touches of heat.  Imagine shaking some garlic & onion powder into your teriyaki sauce, and tossing in some cayenne pepper, and that's like this jerky, except with a light taste of natural meat flavors.

The heat is not really that hot.  I'd rate it on my personal heat scale as mild-medium (level 2 out of 5).

The meat consistency and chewing texture is much like with the Simply Steak.  Meaty, but chewy, some tough, some soft, and having a steak-like texture.

Overall, I like this Kickin' Teriyaki a lot.  It really does kick beyond a traditional teriyaki beef jerky, and it offers up a teriyaki with the primary characteristics of authentic Japanese teriyaki sauce.  The light tanginess, the garlic & onion flavors, and the light peppery heat, makes this jerky dance in my mouth.

Rating: Best

Cajun Delight


hungry truckers beef jerky cajun delight
Ingredients: Beef, Bud Light, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, liquid smoke, kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, Old Bay Seasoning, onion powder, black pepper.

The first flavors that hit the palate is a saltier profile with a vinegary taste. I can pick up a little of the soy sauce, and some of the garlic and onion. But otherwise, it's quite a salty jerky, and I'm assuming that many of the other ingredients are having a hard time getting noticed because of it.

As far as being labeled "Cajun", it doesn't quite paint the picture of red chiles, oregano, thyme, and garlic. It's very heavy on salt with a vinegar flavor, perhaps more like a "Salt & Vinegar" variety.

Just based on its own merits, I find it too salty for my liking, and while I do enjoy the taste of vinegar in beef jerky, this has too much of a vinegar flavor.

The meat consistency is also more dry than the company's other flavors, and as such tends to be more chewy, though still has a steak-like texture.

Rating: Fair

Bottlejack BBQ


hungry truckers beef jerky bottle jack bbq
Ingredients: Beef, Jack Daniel's Original No.7 Recipe Barbecue Sauce, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, minced garlic, A.1. Dry Rub Garlic and Classic Herb, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, ground ginger, ground cumin.

The first flavors to hit my taste buds is a barbecue sauce flavor, with a sweet, seasoned and tomatoey character. The chewing brings on the natural meat flavors, while a black pepper spice comes on. There's touches of ginger noticeable, as well as oregano, and a well-mixed blend of other seasonings too difficult to identify individually. There's also a light tanginess too.

This jerky belts out a lot of flavor across all areas of the palate: sweet, spicy, savory, and salty, along with lighter amounts of pungent. The barbecue sauce ends up becoming more salty than it is sweet, and I'd rather see the saltiness toned down. In some pieces, there's a more noticeable flavor of celery salt. I can also pick out traces of soy sauce in the latter parts of chewing.

Otherwise, this jerky has a lot of flavor diversity, however, there's a lot of different flavors competing for attention. So many ingredients are coming at me from every direction that it's like an onslaught of flavors tugging at me. I think what I want is the sweet barbecue sauce getting most of the attention, with the other ingredients adding small touches here and there. It's also too much on the salty side.

The meat consistency tends to be like the Simply Steak and the Kickin' Teriyaki, chewy, some more tough and some more tender, with a meaty feel and steak-like chewing.

Rating: Average

Summary

Hungry Trucker Beef Jerky tends to outperform the major brands of jerky with its meaty feel, steak-like chewing texture, and it's explosive flavors. Some of the pieces can be tough, and may wear you out over several chews. Other flavors, Bottlejack BBQ and Cajun Delight, tend to feel too salty for me.

Overall, my favorite flavor is the Kickin' Teriyaki, which I felt still emphasized the teriyaki, but enhanced it with some other flavors without going too far, and wasn't overly salty.

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