Hi there fellow Jerkyologist!
Today we’re digging into a package of Sugar River Original Beef & Pork Sticks Ends and Pieces picked up at the local Cabelas.
This two-pound block of meat bits was a bit daunting at first. Two pounds is a LOT of meat. Still, we’re a sucker for vacuum packing and Cabelas generally caries good stuff, so we gave into temptation. Ends and pieces, of course, are the nibbly bits left over after they cut regular meat sticks to length for more conventional packaging. Sometimes that means you get great meat at a killer price. Sometimes it means you get the parts they couldn’t sell otherwise. How does this was fare? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (C+): There’s an almost sour taste to these sausages that starts off a bit oddly but develops into something pretty pleasant. It has a savory and every so slightly sweet flavor with a lingering sourness that combines well enough. It’s not a spectacular taste, but it’s enjoyable and you’ll probably catch yourself snacking your way through the pack.
Texture (C+): There’s a slightly grainy texture to this sausage which is both interesting and a bit distracting. It’s not firm enough to feel overly meaty and it isn’t soft enough to feel insubstantial. Somewhere in the middle these ends and pieces feel decent in your mouth and chew well.
Smell (C-): This smell of these stick bits is borderline. You can make out the flavor scents of the meat pretty easily but it mingles with what smells like a preservative soup. It’s a strictly passable smell but doesn’t add much.
Appearance (C+): Allowing for the fact that this is a pack of ‘ends and pieces’, the meat itself actually looks pretty good. The casing is a brownish-red and the meat inside appetizing to the eye. The cuts themselves are clean and straight (even at every conceivable angle) and it all looks well executed, as such. The thing that detracts from an otherwise nicely presented snack is a watery, slightly gooey liquid that’s omnipresent in the package. It seems like it’s probably some of the grease from the sausage escaping as part of the vacuum packing process. Regardless, it’s a bit of a mess.
Consistency (B-): This is a well made snack. The texture and flavor holds throughout the pack, big pieces or small. It’s clearly the product of skillful hands.
Overall Impression (C+): If you need a meaty snack you can stock up for an excursion in the woods or an all-day snack-a-thon you’ll like this one. It tastes pretty good, eats well, and aside from being a bit messy is an enjoyable treat. Go ahead and pick some up if you get the itch.