"In my home country of Taiwan, jerky is a celebrated delicacy, akin to a fine wine", Mai says in her marketing materials. Fusion Jerky offers beef, turkey, chicken, and pork styles encompassing eight flavors. It's made using US raised animals at their ranch in Scottsbluff, NE. It's marketed as gluten-free, all natural, preservative free, and nitrate free.
Fusion Jerky is made at its own Scottsbluff, NE facility. Mai goes on to write that her family has spent 50 years in the in the meat industry.
Basil Citrus Beef Jerky
Ingredients: Beef, sugar, water, gluten free soy sauce, spices, vegetable oil, lemon peel, celery powder, orange peel, dehydrated onion, natural flavorings (includes paprika), dehydrated garlic, citric acid.
The first flavors to hit the palate is strong sweetness followed by a noticeable basil. The citrus is light noticeable at first, but once you get into chewing, it creates a bit more definition. The basil continues to be well-noticed throughout.
For being advertised as "Basil Citrus", it seem to fit the bill, more so with the basil. I get a lot of the seasoning from start to the finish. The citrus is there, but more as a fruity sweetness, not so much as the tart, tangy lemon/orange/lime, though here and there some of the tanginess raises its head briefly.
Overall, the flavors that define this jerky is largely the sweetness. It tends to feel heavy, though not sticky or gooey like other heavily sweetened jerky brands can be. The basil is the next-most dominant flavor, followed by light amounts of fruity flavor. The soy sauce ingredient, along with the garlic and onion, are difficult to pick up.
The meat consistency is overall good, though I found a couple pieces with significant streaks of gristle. It's not at all moist like other mainstream jerky brands can be, but somewhat dry, yet still soft and tender to chew. The chewing is quite meaty, and immediately feels like meat. Once its chewed down soft, it tends to feel mushy.
Verdict: This Basil Citrus beef jerky from Fusion Jerky has a satisfying taste profile, but mostly as a heavily sweet jerky with a basil seasoning. There's a light fruity flavor, but otherwise little much of anything else. It's lightly salty, which is favorable with me, but quite mild and somewhat uninteresting. But interestingly, this jerky has a flavor profile, chewing texture, and appearance that is classic Chinese-style, even down to the chunks of gristle. And if anything, that just makes it more unique.
Ingredients: Beef, sugar, water, gluten free soy sauce, spices, dehydrated vegetables (red bell pepper, green bell pepper, garlic), chili pepper, dehydrated brown sugar, vegetable oil, celery powder, natural flavorings (includes paprika), citric acid.
The first flavors that hit my palate is a strong sweetness with touches of chile pepper. It's comparable to the bottle of sweet chili sauce you find in the ethnic aisle of a grocery store, except with more heat. There are some additional seasonings adding to the overall flavor, but difficult to distinguish individually. There's a very light garlic aftertaste.
For being advertised as "Chipotle Lime", it doesn't quite hold up. The Chipotle part is there mostly as the chile pepper flavor and moderate level of heat, with just a light bit of the dried, smokey flavor. The lime, however, is hard to identify. Had I not known this was a Chipotle Lime beef jerky, I'd never guess it was supposed to have a lime flavor.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky is the heavy sweetness and the lightly smoked chile pepper flavor. There's a light saltiness, a touch of garlic, and then some additional seasonings and flavorings making up the background profile.
The level of heat in this feels like "Medium" on my personal heat scale (level 3 out of 5).
The meat consistency is much like with Basil Citrus Beef Jerky mentioned above. It's largely dry, but still quite soft and easy to chew. I found a fair amount of gristle in these pieces, some of which made for rubbery chewing. The chewing texture is quite meaty, though when chewed down soft, tends to feel mushy, and less like steak.
Verdict: This Chipotle Lime Beef jerky has a chipotle flavor that downplays the dried, smoked flavor that chipotle is meant to have, and has more of the natural chile pepper flavor. However, I couldn't taste any of the lime, and nor did this jerky have a fruity character. It actually tastes more like the bottle of sweet chili sauce you find in the Asian aisle of a grocery store, just with more heat. Otherwise, it's a one-dimensional flavor profile of mostly a low-smoked chipotle, and a lot of sweet, and not much else. It still generates snackability, and stil satisfies a snacking urge, but it doesn't have anything that makes it exceptional.
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