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21Jun

Howdy!

In celebration of Saturday (because any day you can eat Jerky is worth a bit of celebration) we’re training our taste on a bag of Oberto Applewood Smoked Bacon Jerky purchased while traveling in Toronto, Ontario.

Oberto Applewood Smoked Bacon Jerky

Oberto Applewood Smoked Bacon Jerky

This is the forth bacon jerky we’ve reviewed but, while the previous three were seemingly identical and likely produced by the same contract manufacturer, this jerky is Oberto’s very own recipe.  They’re proud that this jerky is all natural, made without artificial ingredients or preservatives.  This jerky, recently spotted with a completely new package design, is readily available in the US and Canada.  More importantly, it’s  BACON.  Yes, one of the greatest mouth-joys of life refined into a shelf-stable meaty treat.  So, is Oberto’s take on bacon jerky a joyful rendition of our favorite breakfast meat?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B+):  Yay, bacon!  This jerky tastes like slices of good ol’ bacon.   Really, how could that not be pretty awesome?  Your first impression is the applewood smoke flavor.  It’s simple and enjoyable.  The next thing you’d notice is the saltiness of the bacon.  It’s very salty, but not overly so, and does manage to pair nicely with the smokiness.   And… that’s about it.  It is salty smoked bacon in a bag.  Nice.

Texture (B-):  Tender and dry, this jerky tears easily and chews with only a minor effort.  The pieces are sliced relatively thin and are enjoyable to eat.

Smell (B+):  Behold the scent of smoked bacon!  This jerky smells just like it tastes and that’s a good thing.  The scent, mostly applewood smoke, is very appetizing and gives you a clear impression of the taste to follow.  The smell is strong, but not at all overbearing, and is really quite a pleasant introduction.

Appearance (B+):  This jerky looks like tasty bacon.  Again, nice.  This relatively lean bacon is sliced thinly and has an attractively marbled appearance ranging from light creamy brown to dark red.  The slices are packaged in half-strip lengths and vary in width.  Their natural bacon shape just further reinforces that you’re getting real bacon in the bag.

Consistency (B):   It’s a tricky thing trying to wrangle naturally inconsistent bacon into a consistent jerky, but the folks at Oberto have done an admirable job of it.  The slices are cut uniformly thin is predictably dry piece to piece.  The pieces come in two general sizes:  half-strips and bite-sized.  The flavor of the jerky, particularly the intensity of the smokiness and the salt, is remarkably solid throughout the bag.  Given that the lean/fat ratio of any given piece of bacon jerky can range pretty significantly, this shows a level of quality that is definitely worthy of kudos.

Overall Impression (B+):   This is a well done bacon jerky, and even slightly better than the others we’ve reviewed.  It’s a simple, straightforward bacon with a strong smoky flavor and a great eatable consistency.  It looks good, tastes good, and really… it’s bacon in a bag.  If you run across a bag of this tasty jerky feel confident in picking up some for yourself.  Eat and enjoy!

13Jun

Howdy!

Today’s tasty testing is being conducted on a big ol’ bag of Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky procured at the local Costco.

Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

KRAVE has been crafting a unique, nontraditional assortment jerky for several years.  They pride themselves on providing all-natural jerky that’s minimally processed sporting one-of-a kind taste experiences.  We reviewed their Smoky Grilled Teriyaki Gourmet Pork Jerky and Pineapple Orange Gourmet Beef Jerky about a year ago – tasty stuff – and jumped at the opportunity to try this their newest flavor.  Is it as good as its predecessors?  Here’s what you get with this one:

Taste (A):  From your first bite you taste delicious pork that starts with a mild, almost timid sweetness.  There’s sugar, honey, and molasses in there but it takes a little time for them to be distinct.  The cherry flavor comes next, riding the wave of the sweets.  It’s a carefully balanced fruitiness that adds to the taste all on its own.  The savory flavors that follow, a bit of red wine and the garlic and onion, quickly capture your attention without detracting from that delightful fruity sweetness.  There’s a bit of a spiciness that tops it all off, after a spell, culminating in a terrifically complex yet subtle taste that’s nothing less than masterful.  Still, in every bite, you taste that delicious lean pork, its flavor elevated through this impressive display of skill and execution.

Texture (A):  This pork is exceptionally tender, cut along the grain, and tears easily in strips.  It is particularly easy to bite and chew and has a substantial feel to it.   It provides a really enjoyable bit of eating.

Smell (B+): You can detect a good bit of the flavors of this jerky in its scent.  The garlic and onion are prominent along with that red wine and black cherry.  It’s very appetizing and easily preps you to take that first bite.

Appearance (A):  This jerky looks great.  The generally large strips of pork are natural cut and sliced moderately thin.  The meat itself is lean and sports a rich reddish-brown color overall with lightly colored edges here and there.  The larger pieces are accompanied by a variety of smaller jerky bits – thin strips, tiny nuggets, etc. – adding to the artisan feel of the meat.

Consistency (B+): The cuts of meat exhibit a good bit of variety in size and shape, though most are larger strips.  Every piece in the bag is sliced to a uniform thickness throughout, even the tiny bits, and the moisture content is just perfect down the last bite.  The flavor is almost as consistent.  The overall flavor throughout the bag was really, really good, but the balance of flavors did vary somewhat from piece to piece.  In some pieces the sweetness and the black cherry flavors seemed notably more pronounced while in others they were more subdued relative to the spicy and savory flavors present.  While the aggregate intensity seemed to be pretty much the same this variation was notable.  To be clear, it didn’t detract from the jerky in any meaningful way but it didn’t seem intentional, either.  It’s a minor blemish in an otherwise masterfully made meat.

Overall Impression (A):  Its always great to find a unique jerky flavor that delivers on the prommise of being something special, and this jerky is definitely something special.  The novelty of the black cherry flavor alone would make this a noteworthy treat, but made with such a delicately balanced flavor while honoring and preserving the innately delicious pork itself…  wow!  Nicely done, Krave!  If you have the opportunity you should definitely pick up some of this exceptional pork jerky.  Great snacking awaits you… eat well!

16Jul

Hello!

Today we’re partaking of a bag of Golden Island Grilled Barbecue Pork Jerky picked up at the local Costco.

Golden Island Grilled Barbecue Pork Jerky

Golden Island Grilled Barbecue Pork Jerky

Costco regularly carries a small variety of jerky, and they’re one of the few places that regularly carries pork jerky.  The folks at Golden Island offer jerky with no preservatives, nitrates or fillers and made from premium pork hams.  They use a combination of kettle cooking and flame grilling when making their jerkies that allows them to make a particularly flavorful and tender treat and focus on using only quality, natural ingredients.  It’s a compelling story but does is the meat as good as the tale?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B+):   This is a delightful jerky.  The pork’s flavor is first and foremost sweet.  Sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup feature early in the ingredients and you can taste it in every bite.  While sweet as can be it’s not at all overpowering.  The sweetness is fantastically paired with the pork and the other flavors, a bit of citrus and wine, enhance the sugary goodness.  It’s meat candy, truly.

Texture (A):  This is a natural cut jerky cut along the grain.  The pieces are moist, tender, and exceptionally easy to bite and chew.  It’s a pleasure to tear off a bite and enjoy eating this jerky.  It feels great.

Smell (B+):  You can smell the brown sugary sweetness most prominently with this jerky.  It’s an enjoyably sweet scent that clearly conveys much of the jerky’s flavor.  You can make out hints of the other seasonings, but just hints, and it all comes together really nicely.

Appearance (A):   Presented within the bag in a small plastic tray, you get a sense that you’re being offered jerky that’s worth a little extra attention.  With a reddish, light-brown color and a glistening sheen from the sugary glaze, this jerky looks every bit the sweet treat that it is.  The pieces are mostly large and of a moderate thickness and are naturally cut with mostly irregular edges.  It’s a fantastic presentation and an even better looking meat.

Consistency (B+):   The Golden Island folks have done some things exceptionally well with this jerky.  First, the moisture of this jerky is exceptional.  From bite to bite, beginning to end, every bit of this jerky was the model of tenderness.  It’s impressive, to say the least, and shows great care and attention was invested in this meaty goodness.  The flavor, too, held throughout the bag.  The sweetness, with just those hints of sour, was a persistent treat.  The only chink in their otherwise spotless armor is the gristle… and there was just too much of it.  To be clear, it only effected maybe a fifth of the pieces in our bag and often not just a little spot of fat but rather a largish blob of unappetizing crud.  We know that this is a normal part of the meat, but they clearly cut out the fatty bits in most of the pieces in the bag leaving the impression that some of the pieces just made it through without remediation.  It’s not a critical flaw, surely, but it took away from their otherwise flawless emphasis on quality.

Overall Impression (B+):   Yes, you want some.  This outstandingly made and genuinely tasty pork jerky is the meat candy you’ve been craving.  It’s sweetness is almost over the top and the amazing tenderness of every piece will delight your mouth again and again.  If you spy some of Golden Islands delicious Grilled Barbecue Pork Jerky at a store near you, you know you’ll do right to pick some up and partake of it’s tasty goodness.  Eat up and enjoy!

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