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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!

5Sep

Howdy!

Today we’re tearing into a bag of Texas Best Smokehouse Beef Stix purchased at their outstanding store in Italy, Texas.

Texas Best Smokehouse Beef Stix

Texas Best Smokehouse Beef Stix

No stranger to this veritable shrine to dried meats, the Beef Stix are just one of many tasty treats arrayed to tempt the visitor.  Unlike sausage-style sticks, these “Stix” are strips of regular beef so the temptation to see how they stack up to the veritable cornucopia of other meats offered at the smokehouse was simply too great to refuse.  Just how tasty are these narrow strip of beefy goodness?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (A):  Straight up, this jerky’s taste is fantastic!  Foremost you taste a solidly delivered black pepper kick.  It’s strong, and enjoyably so, and pairs up with the beef itself in an outstanding fashion.  There’s also a pronounced garlic flavor accompanied by a low-key brown sugar sweetness that seem to chime in with the pepper in a way that takes the whole well beyond the sum of the parts.  It’s an outstandingly tasty and yet deceptively simple flavor.

Texture (A):  While this natural-style jerky is only slightly moist it is quite pliable and easy to tear.  The bites start of slowly requiring a bit of effort to really dig into the beef, but it quickly softens up to really let the flavor out.  The pieces are cut along the grain and can be torn by hand easily enough.  The feel of this jerky in your mouth though is really something special.  It’s substantial and tough while also quickly soft and tender.  You get the whole gamut of feels from this jerky and it’s just really fun to eat.

Smell (B):  This jerky projects a relatively low-key scent, primarily conveying garlic and hints of black pepper.  It’s dry enough that there’s just not a lot of scent going on there, but what you do smell is still pretty pleasing, all told.

Appearance (A):  This jerky is natural-cut along the grain into long strips, or “Stix”.  These Stix are several inches long and generally around a half-inch wide.  Cut relatively thin, the meat has a dark reddish-brown hue and very, very slight sheen.  The meat itself looks to be of excellent quality and is really eye-candy in its own right.  Simply stated, the folks at Texas Best Smokehouse make a find looking jerky.

Consistency (A+):  These sticks are clearly the work of folks with deep expertise and zealous attention to detail.  The moisture of each piece was indistinguishable from one another, always maintaining that exceptional dry yet pliable feel.  The taste, similarly, was fantastically good from the first bite to the last with the pepper and garlicky sweetness steady throughout.   This jerky is simply outstandingly made and is a real testament to the skill of the folks at Texas Best Smokehouse.

Overall Impression (A):  This is an exceptionally good jerky.  The flavor is delicious, it feels like joy in your mouth, and you have real sense of the quality and care that went into making it with every bite.  This is the good stuff and if you’re a fan of peppery jerky this one will doubtless be a quick favorite.  If you make your way into the Texas Best Smokehouse you can rest assured that selecting their Beef Stix is a choice you’ll definitely feel good about on your way out of the store.  Swing on by Italy and grab yourself a bag of this awesome jerky and you’ll be in for quite a treat.  Eat well!

17Jul

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!

17May

Greetings, y’all!

Today we ’re taking a bite of some Field Trip Honey Spice No.11 Beef Jerky that we picked up as part of a mixed 6 pack jerky special from Woot!

Field Trip Honey Spice No. 11 Beef Jerky

Field Trip Honey Spice No. 11 Beef Jerky

Made from top round beef, the Field Trip folks have placed a lot of emphasis on the stated quality of their jerky.  They chose to make it without artificial preservatives, added MSG, or nitrates and tout their commitment to making something they feel is pretty special.  The previously reviewed Field Test Original and Teriyaki jerkies were pretty seriously good, does this continue the streak?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (A):  The Field Trip folks didn’t have to use much imagination in naming this jerky.  It is at first a delightfully sweet thing, first with honey and then with brown sugar and pineapple flavors.  They combine in a fantastic way and bring a cohesive sweetness to your palate.  This, however, only lasts for a few moments because the ‘spice’ taste follows fast and doesn’t hold back.  This jerky packs a great spicy kick that’ll really clear you out.  Literally.  A few pieces in and we were fishing around for the Kleenex.  The spicy kick is a one-two punch combination of cayenne and black pepper that is simply fantastic with some Tabasco and white pepper thrown in for good measure.  Even though it kicks like a well-healed mule it’s never overdone.  The sweetness and the spiciness are expertly paired and it’s a truly habit forming combo.  Delicious!

Texture (B+):  This natural-style jerky is cut along the grain and is a bit tougher than the other Field Test jerkyies we’ve tried.  It will take some work to break down this jerky but it doesn’t take too long.  Once you get your teeth into it the meat chews nicely and is genuinely enjoyable.

Smell (B-):  There’s a curious bit of distraction here.  First, the smell carries more of the soy and smoke scents than the taste would suggest while the honey and cayenne scents follow behind them, almost as an after thought.  It smells good enough, but these competing components are not particularly complementary in and of themselves.

Appearance (A):  With a dark brown color sporting red undertones, this bite-sized jerky looks pretty good!  It’s cut very thin and has a combination of straight cut and natural edges.  There’s a bit of a sugary sheen across the pieces, not everywhere but seeming to highlight various spots across the surface of the meat.  It looks as good at it tastes.

Consistency (A-):  Like the previous Field Test jerkies, this jerky seems made with exceptional attention to quality.  The flavor and moisture are spot on, bite-for-bite, delivering the same great taste and texture through and through.  It’s a mark of real skill.

Overall Impression (B+):  This is a thoroughly great jerky that does what it says.  The sweetness and spiciness are brought together so very well that it’s all a real treat to eat.  This is not a jerky for those who don’t appreciate a peppery kick, but if you do this will bring a smile to your face and maybe a bit of perspiration to your brow.  It’s really good stuff and you should definitely take the opportunity to try some out if the opportunity presents itself.  Enjoy!

14May

Howdy!

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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