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Spicy Beef Jerky Reviews: Can You Take the Heat?

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Finn lives in California's central valley. He enjoys writing food reviews.

Some of us like to turn up the heat.

Some of us like to turn up the heat.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Everyone likes a little seasoning in their food. Salt and pepper. Maybe a sprinkle of oregano on their pizza of pasta. A dab of mustard. Ketchup for your fries. Bland food can be ordinary and boring.

When it comes to spices, some of us say the hotter the better. Jalapeño, crushed red pepper, or Tabasco. Add a little of this and a little of that and you've transformed your plate into an entirely new cuisine.

Beef jerky is a great treat. And there are many varieties out there. Some of us like to turn up the temperature.

Here are some samples out there that you might want to try yourself.

Why I Love Jerky

  • Meat varieties: Besides the beef, you can find turkey, bacon, chicken, and wild game.
  • Flavor options: Jerky comes in many flavors. Some people prefer the basic smoked varieties, while other like something a little saucier like teriyaki.
  • Nutritious: Jerky is a good way to consume protein.
  • Convenient: You don't have to refrigerate it (although some packets recommend you do after opening). It is portable so you can take it on road trips or for a quick snack at work or school.
  • Satisfying: It's usually pretty filling, too, and can satisfy your appetite.

What you'll see below are my opinions on a few samples. There are so many to choose from out there. Some times jerky is soft and tender with thicker chunks of meat and at other times it is thin and dry. Whatever part of the spectrum it's from, they are usually pretty good.

7 Spicy Beef Jerky Brands

Based on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

BrandHeatTextureTasteOverall Rating

Jeff's Carolina Reaper





Alien Fresh





No Man's Land





Sriracha Ghost Pepper





Old Trapper





Tillamood Spicy andSweet





The Jerky Hut





Jeff's Habanero Heat Wave

I had been informed that the Carolina Reaper was one of the hottest chilies known to man. According to online sources: "In 2017, Guinness World Records declared it the hottest chili pepper in the world, surpassing the previous record-holder, the Trinidad Scorpion."

If you were to be brave enough to sample some of Jeff's beef jerky, you will recognize that Mr. Guinness is one very well-educated man.

The meat is soft and moist and when you come in contact with the delicate specimens your fingers immediately detect the spicy intensity. You want to make see that if you touch any of the strips that your hand does not come into contact with your face.

This is probably one of the most intense beef jerky specimens on the planet. If you have a cold and consume this, you will be better instantly. Any breathing problems will be cleared up. Stomach issues, headaches, and inability to focus on your text screen? Try this and you will be cured.

The pieces drip will pepper flakes and fill your mouth with a delicate that makes you want to stop for a moment and then pick up where you left off. You need to be careful because this product is very addictive. It's the kind of heat that bursts into flame immediately and subsides briefly. The taste lingers in your mouth with a pleasant patience.

Everyone I shared The Carolina Reaper Beef Jerky with enjoyed it and asked for more. Underneath the high temperatures are a delicate sweetness as well.

I highly recommend this, but if you have any preexisting heart or breathing conditions, I will warn you to consume slowly.

Alien Fresh Jerky

One look on the package makes you think of Roswell, and you'll anticipate a flavor that is out of this world. The byline on the package reads, "The Best Jerky In The Universe," and the unnecessary capitalization implies emphasis and leaves you looking forward to previously unexplored flavors.

In short, this might be one of the better beef jerky options in the local market - provided it was the only product available. The universe is a pretty big place and you have to remember. The universe, includes places like Ottawa, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; and even Austin, Texas. Let's throw in New York City just to keep a sense of humour.

When I asked the clerk about it, she replied (with a pause): "It's not bad".

"What does that mean? It's...not...bad", I asked.

"Its, just not bad."

"Well...not...hmm. Not good either."

But I tried it. And isn't that bad. The jerky was of the thin, dry kind and it did have flavor. A companion of mine claimed it was too hot. I didn't find it so. In fact, It didn't have the heat level I was looking forward to. I thought the designation, "SOUTHWEST HOT BEEF JERKY" was seriously misleading.

Would I pass it up if offered in the future? No, it really is pretty good.

Would I shell out another ten dollars to acquire another pack? Probably not.

Beef jerky is thought to have originated in South America during the 1800s. The Quechua tribe, who were ancestors of the ancient Inca empire, produced a meat similar to beef jerky called ch'arki, or charqui. It was made by adding salt to strips of muscle tissue from game animals such as deer, buffalo, and elk, and allowing them to dry in the sun or over fires for extended periods of time.

— Beef Jerky: How Products Are Made

No Man's Land

Well, I had never heard of this brand before and decided to give it a try. The bold white "hot" in a red cloud on the cover, along with the skull of an animal you would expect to find in a desert, caught my attention.

The strips of meat are what you expect in an old-fashioned type of jerky. Tough strips that are hard to tear apart, but do well in your mouth. They are fun to bite and chew up easily.

The smoky flavor: The bag says "liquid smoke flavor added" is a bit intense and initially was a turnoff for me. I thought it had a heavy soy flavor and if you prefer your samples with a bit of salinity, then you will really enjoy this sample.

As far as the heat content is concerned, I didn't detect any initially. There was a lingering intensity after I had taken a few bites, but it wasn't what I expected.

I guess the idea of "hot" depends on the perspective of the palate.

How It's Made: Beef Jerky

Sriracha Style Ghost Pepper

Another one of Jeff's Beef Jerky Products.

This one is pretty intense too. A hearty, sharp heat with an underlying smoky flavor. It makes me think of sitting around the campfire on a cool night.

This is very delicious. Delicate pieces of moist meat will melt in your mouth. The soft, chewy morsels are filled with a heavy intensity. Be warned, you should approach with caution. You might want to have a cold beverage nearby to help extinguish your mouth and tongue. This is very high on the heat level.

Overall, a very delicious product that would make a great appetizer, after dinner snack or even - with a side of chips - a good meal. There are no pepper flakes here, the flavor is soaked in the meat.

A highly recommended jerky.

Beef jerky is a good source of protein and high in many vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and folate. It also has a long shelf life and is portable, making it a great on-the-go option.

— Healthline

Old Trapper

This might be one of the better well-known jerkies and probably one of the easier ones to acquire in the group I am reviewing.

The one issue I have with the more popular brands is the fact that because they are manufactured on a larger scale, meat loses some of its original authenticity. You can taste the preservatives or the other ingredients that are integral to mass production. Often that means a lesser quality specimen.

Old Trapper however is fairly delicious. You can taste the heat and the evidence is in the prevalence of pepper flakes that decorate the slices of beef.

You can sense the heat when you open the bag and the aroma that greets you is a delicacy. The meat is a little tough on the outside but chews up nicely and your mouth is greeted with a sweet smoky taste.

A good bargain, even though it is priced slightly higher than many other national brands.


A very intense, flavorful jerky with thick chunks of meat that are easy to bite into. The taste is more peppery than spicy, but will still leave you sweating. The slices have a rich beefy taste with a delicious hint of sweetness.

It is a hot jerky still and will elevate the temperature of your mouth to the point where you will require a beverage. Make sure you have a glass of cool water or an ice-cold beer nearby.

As far as flavor is concerned, this is one of my favorites of the bunch. Very easy to consume.

If you like your meat extra tender, you will still enjoy this brand, even though the samples feel like shards of dried leather upon first touch.

I don't know if they have a spicier brand available, but I am willing to try it.

Yes, you will enjoy this and you will probably find yourself reaching for a damp cloth to wipe your face with. You will tear and sweat.

The Jerky Hut

Well, I had heard about this brand and seen it offered at places like Home and Garden Shows. From what I understood it had a pretty good reputation.

My first impression of this product was that it was vacuum-sealed, tight and even so, I could sense some of the jerky's essence seeping through the bag. Small fumes wafted up towards my nostrils and I sensed something intense.

When I managed to cut open the bag, I noticed the jerky was stuck together in thick clumps. I could feel the heat and the Chernobyl name alongside an erupting volcano seemed to be the appropriate icon to describe the essence I perceived in front of me.

As far as taste was concerned, it honestly seemed a bit ordinary. I could tell this was mass-produced. The meat was beefy with a sense of preservatives inside it. A bit of a turnoff, but overall pretty good.

What struck me though, was the heat. It was absolutely insane. I took a few bites and had to stop. I think I must have damaged something in my respiratory system because I kept coughing and it felt like there were clumps of pepper trees growing behind my nose and reaching into my brain. I actually had trouble breathing and wanted to contact a surgeon.

I wish I had ordered something a little less spicy from them...because I am sure it is good, but there is no way I could eat this. And I certainly wouldn't feed it to a dog, because that would be cruelty.

Seriously, unless you enjoy sucking on an active flamethrower, do not try this product.

Update (A Couple of Days Later)

Actually, when I went back and tried this jerky after letting it sit for a couple of days, it was pretty good. Some of the heat had lifted, but it was still pretty hot.

This is a very good jerky. I think the key to these types of meats is to let them air out a bit. The heat wasn't as intense and the meaty flavor came through nicely.

© 2021 Finn