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The next review for Smoky Mountain Trail Grub will focus on a 3 ounce/85 gram bag of their Hot Carolina Reaper flavored beef jerky. Their jerky is described as from an old fashioned smoky mountain smoke house in the valley of smoky’s. This bag was kindly submitted for review by the owner, Lawrence Wittmer.
This Smoky Mountain Trail Grub brand is distributed by Jerky Snack Shack. After retiring in 2008, Lawrence moved to Florida and noticed that there were no jerky makers at a local flea market. His jerky caught on, and in 2013 he moved to Northern Georgia. By 2015, the Smoky Mountain Trail Grub was launched in Helen, Georgia. It is only a few miles away from the Appalachian Trail, where their jerky is a big hit for the hikers.
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Ingredients: Top Round Beef, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Brown Sugar (Molasses, Sugar), Ketchup (Tomato Concentrate, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder), Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, East Armegedon Sauce (Hot Peppers, Capsicum Oleoresin, Salt, Sugar, Potassium, Sodium Bisulfate & Xanthan Gum, Crushed Red Pepper, Carolina Reaper Pepper. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
The beef used is guaranteed to be ethically raised, meaning free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, as a big plus, the cattle have a considerable amount of free range access to graze on grass, and roam about. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Very Good (9/10) rating
The liquid marinade is comprised of a decent soy sauce, a not so healthy ketchup, natural hickory liquid smoke, and an alright East Armegedon hot sauce. It is unfortunate to see that the ketchup uses the cheap sweetener corn syrup. Even worse, the highly processed sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used.
The sugar level is somewhat high at 4 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is high at 450mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky does qualify to have no sodium nitrite, or any other similar unhealthy preservatives. Instead, the main preservative used is salt and to a lesser degree vinegar. Admirably, there is also no MSG added.
These strips are mostly medium in size, and sliced to a medium thickness. The texture is fairly dry, and is within reason to chew. There are no visible signs of fat, and handling this jerky leaves no oily residue on your fingers.
The first flavor detected is the ketchup at a mild level. Soon mild levels of garlic and black pepper start to take notice. The saltiness is at a moderate level. A mild to moderate level of sweetness dulls the natural beef flavor to an extent.
Before long you are greeted with the intense heat of Carolina Reaper peppers. This spiciness would rate about a 4 or 4.5 out of 5 on the heat scale, plenty high enough. Overall, surely recommended if you enjoy ketchup, and want to feel your mouth on fire.
This is a standard resealable plastic bag, with a label affixed on the front, and nothing on the back. The label depicts a picture of a wooden shack with a “Smoke House” sign, and a mountain landscape in the background. A hot Pepper is used for a heat scale, where this flavor rates a 10+++.
The slogan is “Mountain Man”. Some facts displayed on the bag are “No Nitrates”, “No MSG Added”, “High Protein”, “Low Fat”, “Old Fashion Recipe”, and “Made in the U.S.A.”.
The majority of bag categories are covered here. Missing categories are a best before date, the jerky weight not stated in grams, no web site provided, and no blurb printed about the jerky or flavor. There is a batch number printed that could translate to a best before date. Admirably, an email address is provided for customer inquiries.
Order their jerky online: www.jerkysnackshack.net