Appalachian Jerky Company.
Naked Cow Jerky was launched to specifically to cater to a growing audience seeking minimally processed jerky, made with natural ingredients. Their jerky offerings are made with 100% grass fed beef, sea salt, and spiced. They use no artificial preservatives, nitrates/nitrites, MSG or soy. They claim to be "paleo-friendly", gluten-free, and made in a USDA inspected facility. They are currently selling in Boston, MA area at various retail locations and Cross-Fit gyms. It's also available online.
This "Fire" variety is based on the "Smoke" variety we reviewed earlier, but adds cayenne, habanero, and ghost chile peppers. The company claims that it, "really brings the heat".
Grass-fed beef, sea salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, habanero pepper, ghost chili peppers, black pepper, garlic powder, beet powder, celery powder
The first flavors to hit my palate are a saltiness, followed by a well-noticed chile pepper flavor. The chewing brings on more saltiness, along with a more defined chile pepper flavor, including a little bit of garlic and black pepper. The natural meat flavors are lightly noticeable.
For being marketed as, "Fire", and claiming that it, "really brings the heat", it stands up OK. There's definitely a fair amount of heat to this, perhaps enough to warrant the use of the label, "Fire", but in comparison to other brands of jerky that make similar claims, this one is more like a burning ember than a blazing fire. It's hot enough to rank as "Hot" on my personal heat scale (level 5 out of 5), but considering it's made from habanero and ghost pepper chiles, I would expect it to be hotter.
Otherwise, the primary taste profile of this jerky is that of salt, but with a fair amount of chile pepper flavor. I can pick up the unique character of habanero chiles in this. The salt is still more dominant, however. There's a light touch of garlic and black pepper. The natural meat flavor is noticeable, along with its marbleized taste.
The meat consistency seems excellent. It's dry, but feels soft and tender. It has a meaty chew, and once chewed down soft, feels just like a piece of steak. I can see some small bits of fat on these pieces, but otherwise there's little to no stringiness, and nothing unchewable.
This Fire variety from Naked Cow Jerky dishes out a fair amount of heat, enough to warrant the use of the word "Fire", though for something made from habanero and ghost pepper chiles, I would have expected something more hot. This jerky does, however, offer a lot of chile pepper flavor, particularly the unique taste of habanero. I like that the base flavor of this jerky still comes through, and that the natural meat flavors, along with its marbleized quality, still comes through as well. Combined with the tender meat consistency, and steak-like chewing texture, it offers an excellent meat snacking experience to spicy food addicts.
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