The next review on Smokehouse Jerky Co. will focus on a 3.2 ounce/91 gram bag of their peppered venison jerky flavor. This jerky was graciously submitted for review by the owner, Trent Levinson.
This jerky is manufactured and distributed by Tender Heifer Snack Co., and are based out of Beaumont, California. The Smokehouse Jerky Co. brand name was launched in 2008. Starting in 2015, a new exotic jerky line was launched. The exotic meats available are venison (deer), buffalo, and elk in four different flavors. Trent and his wife Barbie have a knack for making jerky that has a homemade taste.
Ingredients: Venison, Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce [Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Molasses, Salt, Vinegar, Caramel Color, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (Soy), Enriched Wheat Flour (Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Sodium Benzoate.], Salt, Brown Sugar, Smoke Flavoring, Spices, Garlic Powder. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
As a general rule, venison meat is leaner and healthier compared to beef. The deer are raised ethically, meaning not administered growth hormones, or additional antibiotics. They also have some free range access to graze on grass.
The liquid marinade consists of only healthy vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. As Worcestershire sauces go, this ingredient list is not healthy. Primarily because the highly processed cheap sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used. Something quite unusual for jerky, this Worcestershire sauce includes enriched wheat flour. It contains a mixture of various vitamins. In general, you see fortified vitamins added when the other ingredients are unhealthy.
The sugar level is quite commendable at only 1 gram of sugar used per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is slightly on the high side at 370mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky.
Admirably, this jerky qualifies to be sodium nitrite free. Instead, salt is the primary preservative. To a lesser degree, vinegar also acts as a preservative.
While this jerky is advertised to be MSG free, we respectfully disagree. The Worcestershire sauce contains the highly refined flavor enhancer hydrolyzed soy protein. It is also considered to be an unhealthy type of trans fats.
Decent (7/10) – Ingredient Rating
These jerky strips are medium to large in size, and sliced almost thin. There is a great dry texture that makes for a relatively easy chewing experience. There are some visible signs of fat, and handling this jerky leaves just a slightly oily residue on your fingers.
The first taste detected is the natural venison flavor. It is not a gamey tasting meat flavor, but certainly has a stronger, better taste compared to beef. There is very little sweetness in this flavor, which helps bring out the natural venison flavor. There is a mild tartness in this flavor, and a light smoked flavor in the background.
For a peppered flavor, the peppered taste starts off as quite mild and unassuming. However, as you eat more strips, the peppery taste increases. It really never does exceed a mild peppered level, but afterwards you can feel some burn in your mouth from the black pepper. Overall, this jerky has a great blend of flavors.
This 3.2 ounce/91 gram bag of jerky sells online for $14.00. That works out to $4.38 an ounce, which rates as an expensive price. In comparison to other jerky makers who sell venison jerky, this is more towards an average price. This jerky is certainly worth your money for people who savor the taste of venison meat with a mild peppered kick.
Very Good (9/10) – Taste Rating
This is a rather large bag that surprisingly is not resealable. The bag is vacuum sealed, which is one of the best methods of keeping jerky fresh for longer. The label has a fairly detailed picture that looks like a wooden shack with a “Jerky Co.” sign, and trees in a dark background.
Facts printed on this bags are “Exotics”, “No Added MSG”, “No Added Preservatives”, “Made in U.S.A.”, “Old Fashion”, “Natural Smoke Flavoring Added”, “Gourmet Taste”, and “Premium Meat”.
All bag categories are covered. There is no blurb printed about Smokehouse Jerky Co. or Tender Heifer Snack Co., but in fairness there is no available space.
Order their jerky online: www.tenderheifersnackco.com
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