At the time, Joe had been making his own jerky for over 20 years. He's shared it with friends and co-workers from his contracting business. When Traci lost her secretarial position, the couple decided to make a go at running a jerky company.
This "Sweet 'N Spicy" is described by the company as simply, "...a savory flavor with a sweetness and robust spicy kick that will knock your socks off".
Beef, marinade (soy sauce, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, mirin, water dehydrated garlic, spice, modified corn starch, sunflower oil), soy sauce.
The first flavors I pick up on the palate is a noticeable sweet, followed by a light soy sauce and teriyaki. The chewing brings on a bit more defined soy sauce, with touches of tanginess, and a light black pepper. Here and there, I detect a subtle burst of coriander seed. I can also pick up a light natural meat flavor with a little bit of marbleized character.
With respect to its claims as a "Sweet 'N Spicy" jerky, with a description of "robust spicy kick that will knock your socks off", well my socks haven't moved at all. There's no spiciness to this. If anything, I can taste a light black pepper, but even then, it's light enough that it offers no spiciness whatsoever. I can see a few chile pepper seeds on these pieces of meat, but again, they offer no "robust spicy kick" that I can tell.
It does however, make good on being sweet.
Otherwise, I'd describe this jerky as primarily a sweetened soy sauce jerky, with touches of teriyaki flavor, and some light tanginess and black pepper. There's some garlic going on in the background, but much of the seasoning is from the soy sauce and black pepper. It has a pan-fried steak taste in terms of the natural meat flavor, with some fatty character coming through.
The meat consistency seems comparable to the large, national brands, but perhaps a little more meaty in texture. I see a few spots of fat here and there, and I can even taste the flavor of fat in the chewing too. It's mostly a dry jerky, but sticky to the touch, and a little gummy as a result. Yet, it also offers a meaty, steak-like chewing to some degree.
This "Sweet 'N Spicy" from Joe's Wicked Beef Jerky does not quite stand up to being spicy, but certainly delivers on the sweet. Much of what spiciness that I'm getting is actually black pepper and a light garlic, and not the "robust spicy kick" the company claims. If anything, it tastes more like teriyaki beef jerky with some black pepper added. It's also comparable to the company's, "Regular Joe", variety, but also with a bit more black pepper. As it stands on its own merits, it's a tasty jerky and I think deserves a four-star rating, but just doesn't live up to my expectations as "sweet and spicy".
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