"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.
These pork jerky varieties are made at the company's own USDA-inspected facility in Scottsbluff, NE.
Island Teriyaki Turkey Jerky
Ingredients: Pork, sugar, water, gluten free soy sauce, salt, celery powder, natural flavorings.
The company describes this as "gluten-free soy sauce soaks deep into this extra-lean cut of meat", and "deliciously moist and packed with sweetness."
The first flavors to hit the palate is a light sweet and smoky flavor. A light bit of saltiness comes in soon. The chewing brings in a fire grilled pork flavor, and extra sweet.
For being advertised as "Island Teriyaki Pork Jerky", it doesn't really hold up completely. I don't taste any teriyaki flavor. I don't even pick up the soy sauce as the company's website claimed. As for the "Island" part of the name, I envisioned something along the lines of fire grilled pork, and this does actually have that flavor.
Otherwise, the overall flavor profile of this jerky is that fire grilled pork flavor basted with a moderate sweet and salty glaze. I had expected some kind of fruity flavor, which is consistent with Island cuisines, but there isn't any, just sweet.
The meat consistency seems good. It's mostly all meat, with a fair amount of chewiness, and chewed down into something comparable to fire grilled pork. However, I did chew into some soft, mushy parts, which I presumed to be chunks of fat.
Verdict: This Island Teriyaki Pork Jerky from Fusion Jerky doesn't really offer any teriyaki flavor to speak of, but it does have a good fire grilled pork flavor and chewing texture. Otherwise, it's largely just flavored with sugar and salt, despite the claims of being soaked in soy sauce. But it's very much comparable to other grilled pork jerky brands in the Asian markets, though with a bit more sweet, and will compete pretty well there. From a gourmet perspective, it's rather bland, and needs something else to make this tantalize and intrigue.
Garlic Jalapeno Pork Jerky
The company describes this Garlic Jalapeno as, "our second spiciest flavor", and "the pungent characteristics of garlic are exceptionally complemented by the boldness of the jalapeño".
The first flavors that hit my palate is a moderate sweetness and touches of jalapeno flavor. A light bit of saltiness comes in, and light bit of heat as well. The chewing brings on a bit more sweet and salty, some of the garlic.
For being labeled, "Garlic Jalapeno", it holds up somewhat. I do get the jalapeno flavor and heat in light amounts. I'd rate the heat as "mild medium" on my personal heat scale (level 2 out of 5). The garlic is also there in light amounts. Neither, however, really pronounce themselves well.
Otherwise, the primary flavor profile of this jerky is a dominant sweetness with a light to medium saltiness, and a light grilled pork flavor. The garlic and jalapeno seasonings show up just enough to add some taste interest, and I want to say even the cilantro has a touch of influence too.
The meat consistency looks good, similar to the Island Teriyaki Pork Jerky above. It's chewy, but chews down to feel meaty, very much like slices of grilled, glazed pork.
Verdict: This Garlic Jalapeno Pork Jerky has a better flavor than the Island Teriyaki Pork Jerky due to the added garlic and jalapeno seasonings, though I would have liked to have gotten a more defined, more rich garlic and jalapeno flavor. Otherwise, it's still largely a sweet and salty pork jerky with a fire grilled flavor. That might be good enough for gas station shelf space, but I think falls short on gourmet expectations.
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