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Howdy there!  Today we’re reviewing an accidental adventure, the Artisanal Jerky Plate at The Greenhouse Tavern at The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, OH.

The Greenhouse Tavern's Artisanal Jerky Plate

The Greenhouse Tavern’s Artisanal Jerky Plate

This place is a hip and happenin’ downtown restaurant with an innovative menu, a clear focus on quality ingredients and inventive flavors, and simply fantastic service and atmosphere.  When we saw there jerky offering on the appetizer menu, an item prepared daily, we were so enthused we ordered TWO.  You know, for science.  And it was all the more exciting when the plates arrived with TWO different meaty treats to explore – meat sticks and jerky strips!  While all this makes for a fantastic dining experience, what does it mean for Jerkyology?  Can an ‘artisanal’ jerky appetizer deliver the goods?  Lets’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B+):  This assortment of jerky offers an array of terrific flavors.  With the meat sticks you first get a wave of garlic and pepper, soon there’s a bit of clove, and after a bit maybe a hint of chili.  It bares a truly enjoyable sweetness and a just touch of heat with a slightly sour hint in there to boot.  The jerky strips are a quintessential dried beef – a simple beef flavor, with little added flavorings, delivering a quality clean beef taste.

Texture (A):  The meat sticks are soft and moist.  They have a firm bite and are easy to chew.  The jerky strips are also moist, but with a tougher bite.  The meat chews easily enough, though requiring a bit of effort, offering a really great tactile experience.

Smell (B+):  The sticks’ scent follow right along with their taste consisting mostly of a mild but flavorful garlic and a rich but well balanced smokiness.  There’s a hint of spice, maybe clove, too.  It’s smells really nice.  For the jerky strips it’s an exercise in simplicity.  You smell the delicious dried beef and nothing else.  It’s clean and genuinely appetizing.

Appearance (A+):  The sticks are light slightly redish-brown with an appetizing casing with texturing along its surface.  The strips are cut along grain and are a darkish brown with a slight bit of red inside.  The surface of the strips are have a slight sheen and the pieces look every bit the small-batch jerky they are.  Again, nice.

Consistency (A):  For both the sticks and strips the moisture level of the meats were exceptionally consistent throughout each piece, and from piece to piece.  Clearly there was great attention to ensuring their quality here.  The flavor too was predictably good from bite to bite and every bit of this plate’s offerings were as good as the others.  The level of control exhibited here was just fantastic.

Overall (A-):  The fine folks at the Greenhouse Tavern sure do serve up some tasty jerky!  The combination of the bold and complex flavors in the meat sticks is so fantastically complementary to the clean, essential flavor of the jerky strips.  Both excellent examples in their own right, together they deliver a wonderful range of tastiness.  Also, it’s important to note that the sweet brown sugar sauce drizzled on the plate added terrific dimension to the plate, too.  All in, this jerky plate was an experiential feast for the senses and is definitely worth checking out if you’re in their next of the woods.  Eat and enjoy!


Howdy there!

The focus of today’s Jerkyological assessment is a bag of Trader Joe’s Natural Original Beef Jerky, picked up at one of the Trader Joe’s in Silicon Valley.

Trader Joe's Natural Original Beef Jerky

Trader Joe’s Natural Original Beef Jerky

Trader Joe’s is known for its healthy choices and straightforward fare from meats to fresh product to a wide variety of snacks and side dishes, it’s a fun place to shop and explore.  That they have jerky is not surprising given how nutritious and wholesome jerky can be.  Still, given the broad focus of Trader Joe’s selection will their jerky prove a gem in the rough or something a bit less interesting?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (C+):  This is foremost a sweet and slightly tangy jerky.  The sugary flavor stands well above the soy sauce and apple cider vinegar flavors with a lingering bit of smokiness trailing off somewhere indistinct.  It’s a pleasant flavor, but not a particularly interesting one.  If you’re interested in a simple, straightforwardly sweet bit of jerky then you’ll probably be thrilled, otherwise it’ll likely land a bit on the forgettable side of the experience.

Texture (C+):  The jerky is slightly moist and pliable.  It’s cut across the grain and is easy to tear or bite.  While eating the jerky is easy and generally enjoyable, it is just a bit drier than it seems it should be.  As a result the meat seems to shred up unexpectedly as you chomp, with pieces staying connected at times when it seems like they should be separating.  Not unpleasant at all, but not particularly remarkable either.

Smell (C):  The scent of this jerky is all about the soy sauce, which smells nice… still, there’s very little else in the smell.  Again, nice but unremarkable.

Appearance (B):  This is a attractive jerky.  The pieces are cut to varying sizes, ranging from a small bites to a couple of inches to a side,and have generally straight cut edges paired with natural sides.  The jerky is cut a bit thick and has a dark brown color with a hint of red here and there.  It has a somewhat dry looking exterior and there’s a bit of marbling here and there.  They look appetizing and are one of the better aspects of this jerky.

Consistency (B):  This is a reasonably well-made jerky.  The taste, while not particularly remarkable, is true from bite to bite throughout the bag.  The moisture level of the meat is a bit variable, though not distracting at all.  The thickness of the jerky is very consistent throughout the bag and the jerky looks well made.

Overall Impression (C+):  You often wonder if the notion of ‘healthy’ food often suggests something less flavorful and there’s cause to wonder if that’s what has happened here.  The jerky is unremarkable in any way, but it is still tasty and enjoyable overall.  As an opportunistic purchase you’ll doubtlessly be pleased, but it isn’t something that you’d make a special trip for.  All told, it’s a nice and simple bit of meaty treatness that you’ll probably not think twice about after polishing off the bag.  If you find yourself opening up your own bag after your next trek to Trader Joe’s you’ll surely enjoy it, but you’ll probably not crave another any time soon.  Eat well!



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.

Sugar River Original Beef Sticks

Sugar River Original Beef Sticks

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!



Following a recent trip to Canada we’re enjoying a bag of West Coast Select Beef Jerky picked up at the airport duty free shop in Calgary, Alberta.

West Cost Select Beef Jerky

West Cost Select Beef Jerky

We’re all about exploring the local flavors so this little bag of jerky was a welcome find.  West Coast Select is the beef jerky brand of Sundance Seafood Ltd. in Surrey, British Columbia.  They offer an interesting range of salmon – smoked, canned, frozen, etc. – as well as a pair of beef jerky flavors. With their focus on fish, does their cow-based snack do the job?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B):  This is a really salty jerky.  It’s good and really brings out the flavor of the beef, but it is still quite potent.  There’s a complementary sweetness in the mix, too; some sugar and molasses that blend well and help to take a bit of the edge off of the saltiness.  A bit of smoke flavor rounds it all out and, in the end, it tastes pretty good!  It’s not a particularly complex flavor all told.  If you’re into salty you’ll really take to this one.

Texture (B+):  A dry but pliable jerky, the pieces are cut along the grain and tear easily either by hand or teeth.  It’s easy to chew and the meat has a quality feel to it.  Your mouth will like it.

Smell (B):  With a smoky scent that’s both simple and mild, this jerky smells nice.  That’s about it though.

Appearance (B+):  The pieces are generally small with straight-edge cuts and have a medium color with slight red highlights here and there.  They look every bit the quick and tempting snack bites they are.  This jerky looks nice and appetizing.

Consistency (A-):  Bite for bite this jerky is quite well made.  The moisture is consistent, and the salty and slightly smoky-sweet flavor holds true throughout the bag.  The pieces are uniformly thick and the meat is well trimmed.  The Sundance folks make a quality product with clear attention to ensuring that every bite is a good one.  Well done!

Overall Impression (B):  This is a solidly tasty jerky from our friends in BC.  The jerky is wildly salty in a delicious way and is made with the sort of attention to quality that really makes eating it quite a joy.  It’s nothing fancy, just a straightforwardly tasty treat.  So if you find yourself in the Great White North and run across a bag feel confident in picking up a bag and digging in.  It’s a good eat.  Enjoy!



Today we’re openning up a bag of Pacific Gold Original Beef Jerky, picked up at the local Costco here in Frisco, Texas.

Pacific Gold Original Beef Jerky
One of the Oberto Sausage Company brands, Pacific Gold is a mainstay at Costco.  In keeping with the ‘big box’ model, the Costco packages are a half-pound each and sport a zipper closure so you don’t have to fret about polishing off the whole thing in one sitting.  The packing declares this to be a “Premium Jerky”, but is it really all that good?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B+):  This is a sweet jerky that first greets you with a nice, and slightly fruity, brown sugar flavor.  It’s a smooth sweetness complemented with a salty smoke flavor and a bit of garlic and pepper.  It’s very well-balanced and the sweetness and spiciness combine nicely to both enhance and accompany the flavor of the quality pieces of premium beef.  It’s genuinely tasty stuff!

Texture (A-):  These jerky pieces are naturally cut along the grain.  It’s tender, but not particularly moist, so pieces bite off easily and chew with an enjoyably substantial feel.

Smell (B):  The jerky smells smokier than you’d think, based upon the taste.  It has an almost sour note in its scent that’s definitely intriguing, but not especially enticing.  You can make out a bit of the fruity scents, too, but most of all it’s the smoke.  It smells good and is an inviting aspect of this treat.

Appearance (A-):  With large natural cut pieces sporting a dark brown color imbued with red in its depths, the jerky’s irregularly shaped pieces are real eye-candy.  It looks like small-batch jerky from days gone by and is truly easy on the eyes.

Consistency (A):  This is an excellently prepared jerky.  The pieces, despite their intentionally irregular size and shape, are expertly consistent in terms of their flavor, texture, and thickness.  The fine folks at Oberto have really shown their skill here delivering a jerky that is tasty and enjoyable from beginning to end.

Overall Impression (B+):  This is a very well made and genuinely tasty jerky.  You’ll love its complex sweetness and the fantastically well-match spices that complement it.  It eats well and is just a real treat waiting to be enjoyed.  On your next trek to your local Costco take a look to see if they have some of this delicious beef jerky and pick yourself up a few bags.  You’ll be glad you did.  Eat well!


Howdy, friends!

Today we’re tearing into a few pieces of Dussa’s Ham and Cheese Ltd’s Beef Jerky, purchased at their delicatessen counter store in the Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Dussa's Ham and Cheese Ltd's Beef Jerky

Dussa’s Ham and Cheese Ltd’s Beef Jerky

We had a great time at the the Public Market.  There was a cornucopia of fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses and, of course, meats!  Dussa’s selection of cheese was quite extensive but their assortment of jerky was respectable, but not excessive by any means.  From comments overheard while standing in line it seems they make some of their own meats and source others from area meat-wizards who likely sell to one or more of the Market’s meat vendors.  While the Dussa’s beef jerky bore a striking similarity to the beef jerky we picked up from the counter across the way at Armando’s Quality Meats we purchased a sample anyway to see what we could see.  While their similarities are significant, they thankfully aren’t quite the same, so it was the proper thing to do to conduct a thorough review of Dussa’s wares.  Is their meat as tasty as their neighbors?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (A-):  This is a simply seasoned jerky that takes the already delicious piece of beef and carefully enhances it’s flavor without trying to distract you with flash or gimmicks.  It starts with a general saltiness that’s a bit strong, but not overbearing.   There’s a bit of a peppery flavor in there too, but just barely.  And that’s about it.  It’s a straight-up tasty, old fashioned beef jerky and it’s fantastic!

Texture (A):  This is really great meat.  It’s a comparatively moist and tender jerky.  There’s no difficulty in tearing off your bite and, while it’s substantial enough to require some effort, it breaks down quickly and is easy to chew.  The pieces are large and cut along the grain so it tears with great ease, too.  It’s just a terrific, quality jerky.

Smell (B):  First, you smell the beef.  It’s meaty and savory.  Then you smell… the beef, with a slightly salty scent that makes that beef smell even just that much more enticing.  It’s simplicity.  It’s done right.

Appearance (A):  With the large, thinly cut cut pieces, this jerky looks really good.  The meat is cut along the grain and sports a dark brown color with a subtle reddish undertone.  It has a slight sheen, but only slight, that brings out the texture of the meat.  It looks every bit as fantastic as it tastes.

Consistency (A):  This is a fantastically well-made jerky.  The thickness of the pieces is uniform throughout.  The moisture and tenderness of the meat is also exactingly done.  From bite to bite the salty-meaty goodness holds true and you can clearly tell that this jerky was made with a deep understanding of how to do it right.  It’s an exacting example of how to make great jerky.

Overall Impression (A-):   This is a seriously good jerky.  Simple.  No frills.  Exceptional.  There’s a special joy to be found in beef jerky that is first and foremost about the beef.  The folks at Dussa’s have given us just that.  It’s beef, elevated to even greater heights, with a careful brine and a lot of TLC.  This is yet another reason to find your way to the Granville Island Public Market the next time your meat tooth starts to itch.  Swing by the deli counter at Dussa’s Ham and Cheese, Ltd. and sample some of this fine beef jerky.  Enjoy!



Today’s tasty tester is a bag of Field Trip Original No.3 Beef Jerky purchased as part of a mixed 6 pack special from Woot!.  Yes, that’s right.  Woot jerky.

Field Trip Original No.3 Beef Jerky

Field Trip Original No.3 Beef Jerky

This jerky, promoted as an artisan crafted food, is made from top round beef without artificial preservatives, added MSG, or nitrates.  Sounds like a good way to start your jerky day, but does this meaty treat delivery beefy goodness?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (A-):  This taste of this original style jerky is about being two things:  sweet and peppery.  The first flavor that hits you is the sweet blend of the brown sugar and pineapple juice that combine elegantly into a rich, almost complexly taste.  There’s some soy and vinegar in there as well adding some welcome tangy kick.  Further buttressed by garlic and onion it all starts on your tongue as a sweet and savory festival… and then the pepper kicks in.  This jerky has a solid pepper punch that settles into your mouth and takes you for a ride.  It’s great stuff, and while this level of pepper intensity might ordinarily elicit a ‘peppered’ jerky label, it’s so well-balanced against the sweet and savory flavors that it never dominates the taste.  Really, this is a fantastically well-done mix of flavors.

Texture (B):  This thin-sliced jerky is cut along the grain and is dry, but still pliable.  Though tough at first, the pieces chew surprisingly quickly and are generally easy to eat once you work on them a bit.  It feels good.

Smell (B+):  There’s a lot going on with this jerky, smell-wise, and that complexity is probably the only thing detracting from its aroma.  One whiff and get a full-on hit of the brown sugar and smoke backed by a menagerie of teriyaki sauce scents and good ol’ pepper.  Some of them blend together, some of them stand out, but they all grab a hold of your nose with authority.  It smells pretty great, all told, but definitely demands extra attention to sort it all out.

Appearance (A):  This is a good-looking jerky!  The thin sliced pieces sport a rich brown color with a slight red tint.  The combination of straight-cut and natural edges is appetizing to the eye and it all conveys the look of a quality jerky made with care and attention.

Consistency (A):  Thin-cut jerky is a flavor technique that allows the jerky artisan to thoroughly infuse the meat with the flavors of their choosing.  Here the comparatively complex flavors are expertly instilled into each bite and are delivered with exceptional repetition.  From beginning to end the entire bag was a great adventure in sweet-savory-peppery-goodness from one lean piece of quality beef to the next.

Overall Impression (A-):  The folks at Field Trip Jerky have lived up to the artisan label with this delicious, and well-made jerky.  It sports a fantastic flavor and is made with the sort of attention to quality that tells you that they take their jerky very seriously.  This stuff is really good and if you like jerky that’ll kick-start your tongue with goodness then this is your meat.  Pick up a bag and enjoy this delicious, quality jerky.  Enjoy!

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