Meat with Heat

Hey folks, it’s review day again and again we’re looking at Cowley’s Fine Foods but there’s a bit of a difference this time:

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This is not their vegan jerky and it’s not in the same white-labelled clear plastic that I’ve come to expect from them. It’s their Exotic Jerky Trinidad Scorpion, wrapped in a rather fancier card sleeve, windowed so that you can still see the clear packet within.

And, in addition to updating their packaging, it looks like Martin’s modernised his clothes a tad, coming out of the renaissance-era to don some smart, victorian hunting attire. With minor steampunk influence visible in the armed and helmeted dodo on his shoulder.

Whether he’s intended this art of him as such or merely as period dress is left unclear, letting the viewer interpret it as they like, but the slain dragon beneath him adds fantasy elements either way. And, either way, the artwork says very little about the contents.

I am able to tell from the lack of his wife, Suzy, that this is one of their meat products but the average viewer would only maybe get a slight implication of fire from the dragon.

It looks good, certainly, but it also looks as if it’s meant to be used across the whole range, with only that off-white sticker beneath the window actually telling us what’s special about this particular jerky. Including housing the ingredients list:

Beef, Chillies, Paprika oy Sauce ( Salt, SOY beans, White Sugar, WHEAT flour E211, E631, E627)

The old designs did a lot more to highlight the contents visually but, otherwise, this is much better packaging and you’ll likely be seeing it in the background of my videos soon. Because, unlike the labels on their plastic pouches, this sleeve stands up on the shelf for display.

But that’s enough about this jerky’s looks and displayability. I’m sure most of you won’t care nearly as much about that as the taste, heat, smell and texture.

It’s time to plate it up:

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Now, looking at it all spread out, you don’t get as much as I had hoped but trinidad scorpions aren’t exactly the cheapest chillies to work with or the easiest to eat a lot of so I can definitely understand why. If this is as hot as their last mushroom jerky, it’ll take even me a fair while to finish, so small portions might actually be a blessing.

And they haven’t, if the smell is anything to go by, skimped on flavour at all.

It’s intensely beefy, first and foremost, with extra darkness from some soy sauce and just a hint of that classic scorpion pepper acidity. In combination, these notes come across a little charred or even, according to one of my friends, aniseed-like but, above all else, they’re dark, heavy and meaty, strongly suggesting an umami-laden flavour profile.

Which is, indeed, what comes through in my taste test.

Yet, while this jerky definitely has the deep, dark, savoury flavour that its aroma suggests, there’s also a slight sweetness upfront, as is typical of beef, and it’s not as strong-flavoured as it smells.

Plus, the trinidad scorpion itself is remarkably subtle, bringing its almost blood orange fruitiness to the table, along with a

4/10

Heat

only after each piece has been chewed to its core. Which can take a bit of effort since, while not rubbery in the slightest, this jerky is rather resilient, with plenty of substance and solidity to it.

It’s a little dry, even by jerky standards – Something that took me by surprise – but those who like their beef well done are going to love it. And, for those of you who don’t, it still has an excellent taste to it which isn’t exactly weak, just weaker than it smells.

If you’re expecting the usual trinidad scorpion heat levels or ones that match Cowley’s other superhot products, you’re going to wind up disappointed, however. This is not a super hot product. Just an extra hot one made with a superhot chilli.

It gives a late yet speedy, up and down burn with a pleasant, lingering warmth afterwards but neither its heat nor its flavour make full use of the pepper that it’s named for.

I’d say that it’s more for hot jerky lovers than extreme heat-seakers because it does very little to showcase its chilli but it’s certainly a tasty meat treat all the same.

It does contain a few E numbers but only as minor ingredients in its own most minor ingredient. E631 (sodium inosinate) and E627 (sodium guanylate) are both found naturally in meat anyway, while E211 (sodium benzoate) is a little less natural.

Less natural, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any worse for you and sodium benzoate would actually pretty hard to overdose on even if you wanted to because of how quickly and easily the body can get rid of it.

It has been linked to hyperactivity when mixed with some artificial colourings but is otherwise pretty harmless, especially in the tiny concentrations seen here.

I bring these E numbers up not to scare you off but simply so that you know what the ingredients actually are.

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