The next review on Smokehouse Jerky Co. will focus on a 3.2 ounce/91 gram bag of their sweet bell peppered elk 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. 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 made in small batches. Impressively, currently Tender Heifer Snack Co. is offering free shipping on all online jerky orders. For those interested, they offer private labeler services.
Ingredients: Elk, 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 Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Benzoate.], Spices, Garlic Powder. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
As a general rule, elk meat is leaner and healthier compared to beef. The elk 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, just the way nature intended.
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 somewhat high at 6 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. In fairness, that is a reasonable sugar level for a sweet & hot based flavor, but the preference is 5 grams of sugar or less. The salt level is 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 processed flavor enhancer hydrolyzed soy protein, which is considered a form of MSG. It is also considered to be an unhealthy type of trans fats.
Alright (6/10) – 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 soy flavor at a medium level. There is a fair amount of tanginess from the vinegar, which helps offset the sweetness. Thankfully, being a sweet based flavor, it is not too sweet tasting. The flavor finishes with a smoked taste. Being a sweet bell peppered taste, it is not all that noticeable, but there is a pleasant sweetness to this flavor. The salt level is moderate, and there is that familiar garlic/onion flavor combination.
As for the elk flavor, it is not gamey tasting at all. It has a stronger, richer flavor than compared to beef. Being a sweet based flavor, the sugar does tend to dull the natural elk flavor.
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 elk jerky that is an average price. Currently Tender Heifer Snack Co. is offering free shipping, where it is always a thrill to have jerky delivered to your front door. While the ingredient list is only average, this jerky is still a decent buy for people who enjoy a sweet based flavor with a light peppered level.
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 of a wooden shack with a “Jerky Co.” sign, and trees in a dark background.
Some 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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