Keeney got into the jerky business while working at Dell Computers, where he sold bags of his homemade stuff to fellow employees. After getting laid off, he went into business for himself with the aid of a $17,000.00 prize for winning the IdeaWF competition hosted by Midwestern State University. Keeney also won the 2014 Peppers and More World Jerky Contest.
This "Salsa" jerky is one of Keeno's best sellers, mixing red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, with traditional salsa ingredients, and is also claimed to be "Medium Heat"
Beef, water, natural hickory wood smoke, vinegar, salt, onion, garlic, black pepper, dark red chile, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, sugar, caramel color, molasses, papain, citric acid, crushed red pepper, dil seed, MSG, paprika, green and red bell pepper flakes, dehydrated cilantro, tajin, cayenne pepper, and mustard seed.
The first flavors I pick up are a garlic and onion seasoning, along with a moderate salt. The chewing brings on the natural meat flavors, with some vinegar and a touch of dill.
For being marketed as, "Salsa" and "Medium Heat", with the claim of adding in bell peppers and traditional salsa ingredients, it doesn't really deliver the flavor of salsa. I don't identify the bell pepper flavor, nor the cilantro. Certainly the garlic and onion is noticeabe, but those two seem to be part of Keeno's base marinade, and pretty much a staple in all brands of jerky. Also, I don't really pick up any heat. It feels mild in my opinion, though the prominent salt seasoning could make this seem spicy.
Otherwise, the primary taste profile is that of a salty, garlic and onion seasoning blend. The hickory wood smoke flavor is noticeable, along with a light vinegar and dill seed tanginess. The natural meat flavors also make up a significant flavor, but still play a backup role to the seasonings.
The meat consistency comes in thin sliced slabs, rather soft and flexible, but dry. It chews soft, but is still "chewy". It feels quite meaty, though with some stringiness, but has a texture just like a well-done cooked steak.
This Salsa Beef Jerky from Keeno's delivers a bold flavor of garlic and onion seasoning salt, bolstered with a tangy vinegar and dill, and a layer of hickory wood smoke. But I didn't really pick up the bell pepper or cilantro that I thought would make up the salsa profile. And I don't identify the "Medium Heat" that the package claims. Instead, it actually tastes very much like Keeno's Mild Beef Jerky that I reviewed last week, which on its own merits still makes a good jerky. If anything, this seems to be a notch lighter on the salt, which I think brings out more of the natural goodness of beef.
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