Friday, June 19, 2009

Datil Daddy's Beef Jerky - Datil Pepper

Datil Daddy's Beef Jerky Datil Daddy's is a brand of St. Augustine Originals, LLC, based out of Saint Augustine, FL. The brand has been around for a little more than a year.

The brand specializes in the Datil Pepper, a chile pepper comparable to the habanero in terms of heat, but is said to be more sweet and fruity. While grown all over the USA, the town of St. Augustine, FL is particularly known for its datils.

St. Augustine Originals, LLC makes jerky in their own USDA approved facility, and they claim to use 100% Black Angus beef, marinating the meat for 24 hours. They offer three different varities under the Datil Daddy's brand, including this "Datil Pepper" variety, along with a Datil Hickory, and a Datil Teriyaki. They were going to send me one each, but ended up sending two Teriyakis instead.


Beef, datil sauce (tomatoes, sugar, datil peppers, vinegar, spices), hickory smoked seasoning (water, hickory smoked flavor, vinegar, hydrolyzed soy protein, sugar, caramel color, spices), worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, cure (salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate).


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a tomatoey flavor from the datil sauce, with a fair amount of spicy burn building in the back of my mouth. I get a light bit of saltiness, and a light bit of datil pepper flavor. Overall this has a good deal of surface flavor intensity.

In the chewing, I taste a little more saltiness, a light amount of natural meat flavors, with a noticeable smoky taste, and a continuation of the datil sauce.

The package label says, "HOT" in red letters, and depicts a set of wide-open eyes, as if this stuff is extremely hot. Well, I think this jerky warrants use of the word "HOT" for general audiences. But on my personal hot scale I'd rank this a "medium hot". I do get a good deal of heat, enough to make the scalp a little itchy, the eyes a little watery, and some mucus in the back of my mouth. Continuing to eat more of this jerky builds up more intense heat.

The datil sauce listed in the ingredients is a thick pasty residue on the surface of these pieces, that gives off that dried tomato flavor initially, but quickly establishes a burn in the back of the mouth. I do pick up a light datil pepper flavor as well, which becomes more noticeable as my teeth cracks open a seed. I also pick up a well noticed tangy flavor, perhaps from the vinegar.

There's also a light amount of natural meat flavors, which is more noticeable when I suck on a piece first for 15-20 seconds, and then start chewing, and then extract the juices. But for general purpose snacking, the meat flavors will likely go unnoticed. The smokiness is primarily noticed in the chewing, but can also be easily missed under the thicker datil sauce flavor.

The soy sauce and worcestershire sauce noted in the ingredients are not easily noticed as well. If anything, it's at the tail end of chewing that they seem to make a slight showing, perhaps after much of the datil sauce flavor has worn off. If anything, it's noticed more as a slightly stronger saltiness.

The saltiness seems to have a low flavor intensity.

Overall, what you're going to taste in this is the datil sauce, starting with a tomatoey flavor, but moving quickly to a light datil pepper flavor, with a good deal of heat, light natural meat flavors, some tangy vinegar, and light smokiness.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a semi-moist jerky, with the surface having a more moist, sticky feel. The pieces seem to crack apart with a little bit of bending, and as such I can tear them apart with my fingers pretty easily. Chewing seems to be fairly easy overall.

The chewing texture starts out feeling somewhat soft, and easily breaks apart and chews down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds of chewing. At that point, it has a mostly steak-like feel, perhaps a little crumbly, but overall similar to that of a well-done cooked steak.

These pieces seem largely fat-free, with the exception of some fatty, stringy tissue along one side of a couple pieces, see close up photo. The meat seems free of gristle, and the chewing only had some scant wads of unchewable tissue.

Handling these pieces do leave a bit of residue on my fingertips, mostly from pinching tightly as I tore pieces apart. Some of the pepper seeds and chunks will pick up on my fingers too.

Snack Value

Datil Daddy's sells this Datil Pepper variety from its website at a price of $7.29 for a 4oz package. If you bought 3 packages, plus $4.90 for shipping, it comes out to $26.77 total. That's a price of $2.23 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.23 per ounce price, it seems to provide a good value. I get a lot of snackability for its good overall flavor, high flavor intensity, and good flavor complexity, along with an easy to eat consistency, and good chewing texture. That $2.23 price per ounce is higher than the mass-market brands, but I'm getting a great deal of snackability from it.

For being marketed as a Datil Pepper variety, at the same $2.23 price per ounce, I think it's a decent value. I get a good deal of datil pepper burn, but a lighter amount of datil pepper flavor. I'd prefer more of the flavor, but on the other hand, you're not going to find very many datil pepper jerky brands out there, and thus it's still a reasonable price if you love datil peppers.


I'm giving this a best rating.

This Datil Pepper variety from Datil Daddy's provides a good overall flavor primarily through its datil pepper sauce, which starts with a tomatoey flavor, that quickly provides a good deal of datil chile heat, and a light bit of datil chile flavor, some tangy vinegar, and smokiness.

This also provides a light amount of natural meat flavors, though I found myself wanting a stronger taste.

The meat consistency in this is actually pretty good, being easy to eat, semi-moist, and providing a good chewing texture. The package label actually claims this to be "uniquely tender", and I would agree with the "tender" part.

This jerky also scores well on other factors, including a lower salt flavor, a stronger flavor intensity, a good flavor complexity, and seems to hold up well to its advertised claims.

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

Rating: Best

Buy this online:


  1. During a trip to St Augustine recently I had my first taste of the datil pepper, what a unique taste, unlike any other pepper. I had never heard of the datil pepper, it's a well kept secret. Also, while there we went to the local farmers market and tasted Datil Daddy's beef jerky, what a great use of datil pepper's flavor combined with beef jerky.

    BTW, their teriyaki and hickory jerky include datil peppers as well and aren't as spicy but have a great taste.

  2. We originally tasted Datil Daddy's jerky at Jacksonville's Riverside Arts Market. We loved it so much we added it to our beef jerky offering in our on-line store!

  3. Datil Daddy's jerky is very good. It's uniqueness comes from the Datil Pepper and it's moist texture. The meat is cut thick, and it's so moist you can tear a piece in half with your fingers. At first, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the texture of the jerky, but after eating it for a while I got used to it, and started to enjoy it.

    What is most notable about this jerky is the flavor of the datil pepper, which married particularly well with the jerky meat. I find this spicy flavor very enjoyable.

    Of the various flavors the company offers, the only one worth buying in my opinion is the Datil Pepper variety. It has a wonderful spicy flavor, a nice amount of heat, and is one of the most flavorful spicy jerkies I've had.