Saturday, June 15, 2013

Appalachian Jerky Company - Thermonuclear

appalachian jerkyBeing the most eccentric flavor in the line of meat snacks from Appalachian Jerky, this "Thermonuclear" is said to be wicked hot.

In fact, the company claims that it, "...will light you up through a combination of Ron's favorite burning ingredients. For chiliheads only!"

Based in Brighton, MA, Appalachian Jerky Company is the creation of two college buddies, Ron Myrick and Doug Labb. The boys had been making their own jerky for camping trips and parties. When they decided to take their seasoned meat delicacies to market, they tweaked their original recipe and developed a few more.


Beef, soy sauce, tabasco, hot sauce, chili powder, red pepper.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a cayenne pepper flavor, followed by a light sweetness. Soon after, I can pick up the hot sauce and tabasco.

The chewing brings in more of the cayenne, while the hot sauce and tabasco flavors continue to ramp up. The heat becomes quite strong. There's a light natural meat flavor towards the latter part of chewing.

For being advertised as "wicked hot" and "for chiliheads only", it seems to hold up. It certainly is quite hot, and the heat is felt right away too. But there's also a good deal of chile pepper flavor, mostly resembling cayenne and chili powder.

Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky overall, is the largely the same, primarily the cayenne. The hot sauce and tabasco colors that a little more, adding touches of vinegar. There's a light natural meat flavor towards the end of chewing.

The ingredients combine together to create a jerky that seems more lop-sided towards being mostly a cayenne-flavored jerky, with tons of heat. Even though that touch of vinegar is back there, it's still rather light and perhaps could be heavier to help balance the flavor. I think some more sweet would create more body.

But this jerky seems meant to be more hot than anything else, and it indeed is hot, registering a Level 5 out of 5 on my personal heat scale. It's enough to break out a sweat and make you reach for something to drink.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced into small pieces and in thin slices and strips.

This is a dry jerky with a slightly oily surface feel. It has a flexibility to it having a "plastic" or "rubbery" feel. Chewing overall seems easy enough.

The chewing texture starts out with a bit of initial chewing resistance, and slowly takes on a meaty feel. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it tends to feel more like real steak, cooked well done.

There are a few pieces with some spots of fat, but they don't add much to the flavor or chewing. I didn't encounter any tendon, gristle, or stringiness. It's very meaty.

In terms of clean eating, my fingers do get a thin film of oil mixed in with some orange-colored seasoning.

thermonuclear jerky

thermonuclear beef jerky

Snack Value

Appalachian Jerky sells this Thermonuclear beef jerky at a price of $4.00 per pack, with each pack weighing 1.75oz. They offer free shipping if you spend more than $45.00 on an order. If you combine this Thermonuclear with other offers, you can pay anywhere from $1.70 to $1.80 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.70 to $1.80 price per ounce, it's a good value. It has a lot of flavor, particularly if you love cayenne pepper, and a good chewing texture. Compared to other brands, it costs less and provides a better value overall.

As an over-top-hot beef jerky, at the same price per ounce, it's also a good value. I'm getting a lot of heat mixed with a lot of cayenne and hot-sauce/tabasco flavor.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Thermonuclear beef jerky from Appalachian Jerky Company will set off all the alarms with a nuclear meltdown of your mouth as your circulatory system pushes the sweat from your scalp. But you won't have to don the radiation suits with this jerky, you only need to shovel it into your grill and savor the intense cayenne pepper flavor and light vinegary hot sauce.

While this jerky is quite hot, it's still a few levels lower than the hottest jerky brands I've reviewed before. But it does have some of the most intense cayenne pepper flavor I've had. However, the flavor seems rather one-sided towards the cayenne flavor, and leaves me looking for one or two other ingredients to balance things out.

And like with other varieties from Appalachian Jerky, it comes with a good chewing texture and good meat consistency.

But if you love really hot jerky, and are looking for a flavor other than habanero or ghost pepper, here's one with an explosion of cayenne.

Rating: Good (4/5)


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