Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alien Energy Jerky - Hot

Alien Energy Jerky Alien Energy Jerky is a new line of jerky from Alien Fresh Jerky, that tries to cash in on the energy food craze. It actually contains some energy ingredients, like caffeine, B vitamins, and guarana. The amount of caffeine is about equivalent to two to four cups of coffee.

Honey Teriyaki, Peppered, Hot, and Sweet & Spicy are the varieties in this line. The company is trying to position this as a "stay awake" snack, perhaps for long-haul truckers who want both beef jerky and something to keep their eyes open. Alien Fresh Jerky has a website just for this energy line, looking for distributors.

After eating a bag of this stuff, perhaps I'll be up all night too.


Beef, brown sugar, teriyaki sauce, honey, vinegar, pineapple juice, corn syrup solids, ginger, caffeine.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong sweet flavor, a spicy burn building up, and a little bit of saltiness. In the chewing, I taste more of the same, but also a tad bit of the ginger.

For being billed as a hot variety, it definitely offers some burn, but not anything terribly hot. I'd probably put it at a medium on my hot scale. After a few bites of this stuff, I can detect a bit of the chile pepper flavor.

There's also quite a bit of sweet on this too. There's enough of it that this could easily be the brand's "sweet & spicy" variety. But there's actually another variety of that already.

The saltiness on this seems light, even though the nutrition facts label shows something on the higher end. I think the heavier sweet mitigates the salt intensity.

I can't find any natural meat flavors in this.

Despite the teriyaki sauce listed in the ingredients, I don't really detect that flavor. If anything, I see the heavy sweet flavor, and a slight bit of the ginger.

Overall, the dominant flavor of this jerky is the heavy sweet flavor. There's a fair amount of spicy burn, but that burn doesn't offer much flavor, except for a slight chile pepper flavor. After that, some salitness, and that's largely all you're going to taste from this.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small, medium, and large slabs.

It's a dry jerky, but it appears moist due to the heavy sweet glaze. It's easy to tear apart with my fingers, provided I tear with the grain. But it's quite a chewy jerky, and takes awhile to chew it down to a soft mass.

The chewing texture seems to have a gummy quality, perhaps due to that heavy sweet glaze. To me, this doesn't at all have a steak-like texture. I do pick up a fibrous quality, but the word that keeps coming to me is "gummy". It's a like fruit roll-up with a meaty texture.

Tearing pieces apart does cause some chile pepper flakes to fly off on to my lap and desk. But the sticky sweet glaze is still dry enough that it doesn't really leave a residue on my fingers.

These slabs also appear quite lean. I'm not finding a lot of fat, just some tiny streaks of marbilization. But no tendon or gristle, and no chewy sinews.

Snack Value

I bought this Hot variety from the Alien Fresh Jerky store in Baker, CA. Each 3.5oz bag is priced at $8.00. However, they have a deal where you buy three bags for $20.00, and I bought six bags (each a different variety) total for $40.00. That works out to a price of $1.90 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $1.90 price per ounce, this seems to provide a fair value. I'm getting an average snackability from it, mostly for its satisfactory taste, it's spicy burn, and it's faint chile pepper flavor. I actually don't care for its meat consistency. The $1.90 price seems about as high as I would ever pay for this.

As a hot variety, also at this $1.90 price per ounce, it's a good value. If you're specifically looking for a hot jerky, you'll get a good deal of spicy burn from this, and a little bit of chile pepper flavor too. Compared to the hot varieties of other jerky brands, I think you're getting plenty of burn for your buck.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This hot variety from Alien Energy Jerky provides a decent amount of snackability from its decent overall flavor, and lives up to its billing as a hot jerky. But aside from that, it doesn't do much else for me.

The meat consistency of this stuff is rather poor in my opinion. It doesn't feel like meat, and it's rather tough to chew. In years past, Alien Fresh Jerky used Country Archer to produce its jerky, and they had some soft easy chewing stuff. Today, they're using TM Jerky & Processing to make their jerky, and at least with this hot variety of Alien Energy Jerky, the quality has clearly come down. I've had other brands made by TM Jerky, and found some good stuff, so I know it's not specifically due to TM Jerky.

I still have five other new varieties to try from Alien Fresh, so I'm curious to see how everything compares, now that they're using a different processor.

My recommended beer pairing for this, try a red ale.

Addendum: added this addendum about 9 hours after finishing this review, and now at 3:15am, I still can't go to sleep. So, I'd say it's doing its job at keeping me awake.

Rating: Average (3/5)


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