For those of you who disdain jerky as truck stop food for the less refined palates and/or “plain country folk,” lemme tell you something. That’s just plain wrong. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia about the origin of jerky:
The word “jerky” itself comes from the Quechua term Charqui, which means “dried meat”.
Throughout human history and culture, drying meat has been a common method employed to preserve it. By drying thinly sliced meat in the sun and wind next to a smokey fire, the meat is protected from insects which would lay eggs in the raw meat. Jerky is one of humankind’s original, critical and essential products: storable food. These prehistoric methods to preserve meat for storage have been used by the Inca and many other ancient peoples, who prepared jerky from the animals they hunted or husbanded as an essential matter of need.
Beef jerky itself is a fairly healthy snack, as far as most snack foods these days can be. High in protein, low in fat, and low in carbs, the only real issue is that they can be somewhat high in sodium…making it a point of concern for anyone who has to limit their salt intake.
I remember reading a review for the extra-spicy version of this jerky, so I wanted to give the regular spicy version a try and see how well it compared to others I’ve tasted. To do this properly, I decided to get a couple of other commercial beef jerky samples to do a “compare & contrast” on them and go from there. First, here’s the skinny on the ingredients of the Jersey Boyz Spicy Jerky:
Ingredients: beef, soy sauce (which contains water, soybeans, wheat, salt, molasses), worcestershire sauce (which contains vinegar, water, molasses, salt, sugar, anchovies, onions, garlic, citrus juice, tamarind citrus oil). Other ingredients: cider, vinegar, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, spanish paprika, red pepper, black pepper, fresh habanero peppers
Tasting: I tried this jerky along with some Jack Link’s Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky and Tabasco (R) flavored Slim Jims. (I know that Slim Jims aren’t really beef jerky, but I needed to have something to make a total of 3 things to try.) I felt that the Jersey Boyz jerky held its own to its competition. It wasn’t too tough or dried out like a few of the pieces of Jack Link’s and didn’t have the same greasiness that comes along with pretty much any Slim Jim. What you have is a good, moderately-spiced beef jerky snack that will make you wish the package was bigger. Its spice level in terms of heat would be what I call moderate, and made me pine a little for the extra-spicy version of this jerky to sizzle my tastebuds. The Spicy jerky has just a little spicy tingle, but with better flavor than many jerkys you might find. Plus, how many jerky products come with a “floss” that lets you plumb every last molecule of jerky goodness from your palate after you eat?
Overall recommendation: This jerky is pretty decent, but I know that I like the spicier the better when it comes to my beef jerky snacks. (Hear that, jerky-makers? I am your target demographic for the mega-spicy beef jerky!) I’ve tasted the Toxic Tonic hot sauce that this jerky uses as its marinade, and I’ve loved that with its habanero-peppercorn sorta taste, so this jerky has that going for it. Is this the best jerky I’ve ever tasted? Sadly, I have to say no. However, I like it well enough that I would buy it over many of the commercially-made schlock I see at the store every time I go. In fact, I’m willing to bet I’d like the extra-spicy version even more. Skip the Slim-Jims and other poseurs, and pick up a couple packages of this jerky to keep around your house. That, or a couple of guys named “Spike” and “Guido” might make a little visit to your house to help gently guide your next beef jerky shopping experience. Capisce?