In service to our meaty intent, today we’re tearing into a package of Sugar River Original Beef Sticks Ends and Pieces purchased at the local Cabelas.
Weighing in at a whopping two pounds, this vacuum packed snack block definitely commands attention. Like the Beef and Pork Sticks Ends and Pieces previously reviewed, this is a LOT of meat. It’s pork-inclusive counterpart was reasonably tasty so there’s cause to be optimistic that this tempting jumble of beef stick bits will prove to be a treat of worth. Does its size foretell of its delicious goodness? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (C+): These meaty bits have a pleasantly savory flavor that starts with a pretty equal balanced between salt and smoke tastes and is then accompanied by a bit of sweetness. It’s pretty enjoyable, but not particularly great. After a few bites you start to make out some of the other tastes – a touch of pepper, some garlic – but they’re just barely discernible. After a bit the taste starts to suffer a bit from the exceptionally greasy nature of the meat. Your tongue gets thoroughly coated pretty quickly and the overall flavor suffers for it. So, while tasty, it ultimately doesn’t excel. Still, you’ll still enjoy it.
Texture (C+): These stick bits are fun to eat. The casing is slightly crisp, but not at all distracting. The meat itself is tender and generally pleasant to chew. They’re good, but not particularly remarkable.
Smell (C): While these beef bits don’t smell badly, they don’t smell especially appetizing either. There’s a somewhat greasy smell to these bits… clearly discernible but not overpowering. There’s some smoky meat scent in there too, but it is meaningfully diminished by the greasy scents. In the end, it’s okay, but that’s about it.
Appearance (C+): For a pack of ‘end and pieces’ the meat bits looks pretty good. The dark reddish-brown color of the casing looks tasty enough, and the pieces are generally enjoyably bite-sized. The cuts, while running at all sorts of angles, are clean and straight and look well made. Like it’s pork-inclusive counterpart though, there’s a slightly gooey coating of grease that seems to have been expressed from the meat during the vacuum packing process. It’s everywhere – coating every piece of meat on every surface and spread throughout the inside of the packaging. It’s messy enough that you should have some napkins handy and plan to thorough wash your hands when you’re done.
Consistency (B-): Bite to bite these sausage bits are remarkably consistent. Again, given that this is a bag of ends and pieces you wouldn’t necessarily expect great consistency in the package, but the meat’s moisture and texture don’t deviate much as you snack your way through the lot and both bigger and smaller pieces offer a predictable taste and feel throughout. It’s well made and really does exhibit quality at its core.
Overall Impression (C+): This is a snack that’d be a great companion on a camping or hunting trip or, given the quantity, perhaps as a casual snack for visitors and the like. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit messy, treat with a nice flavor that’s enjoyable to eat. Odds are you’ll enjoy these beef ends and pieces from Sugar River so picking up a bag the next time you’re rummaging around your local Cabelas. Enjoy!