The next review on Smokehouse Jerky Co. will focus on a 3.2 ounce/91 gram bag of their sweet & hot buffalo jerky flavor. This jerky was kindly submitted for review by the owner, Trent Levinson.
This jerky is manufactured and distributed by Tender Heifer Snack Co. They are located in Beaumont, California, and started selling jerky products in 2003. Today, they offer 10 flavors of beef, 2 bacon flavors, and 4 flavors each of venison, elk, and buffalo jerky. This will mark the 8th review done for Smokehouse Jerky Co., where Trent has proven to be among the best jerky makers around. For those interested, they offer private labeler services.
Ingredients: Buffalo, Vinegar, Salt, Smoke Flavoring, 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.], Spices, Garlic Powder, Crushed Red Pepper. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
As a general rule, buffalo meat is leaner, and healthier compared to beef. The buffalo are raised ethically, meaning they are not administered growth hormones, or additional antibiotics. They also have some free range access to graze on grass, and roam about.
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 refined 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 a bit high at 6 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 5 grams or less for a sweet & hot based flavor. The salt level is a reasonable at 310mg 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 strips are mostly medium in size, and sliced to a medium thickness. The surface of these strips is surprisingly smooth. There is almost a soft and tender texture, which makes for easy chewing. These strips have no visible signs of fat. Handling this jerky does leave some oily residue on your fingers.
The first taste detected is a moderate sweetness. Being buffalo jerky, there is a very rich natural buffalo flavor that really stands out, and tastes great.
Then the spices start to kick in. This flavor is surprisingly hot, perhaps a three out of four on a heat scale. In the background, there is a moderate smoked taste. The Worcestershire/soy flavor is mild, and there is a faint garlic taste. Overall, this sweet & hot flavor totally hits the mark, a true treat.
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. For anybody who enjoys a sweet & hot based flavor, along with the taste of buffalo meat, it does not get any better than this from a taste perspective.
Excellent (10/10) – 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 bag 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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