The next review on El Norteño will be on a 1 ounce/28 gram meat stick on their habanero flavor. Tira de carne in Spanish translates to meat stick. A combination of beef and pork is used in this meat stick. This jerky was graciously submitted for review by Justin Jahnke.
This El Norteño cecina brand is distributed by Monet Foods, LLC., and are based out of Belleville, Wisconsin. The El Norteño brand name was launched in February 2016. The founder, Scott Hare, worked with the Hispanic community to perfect this authentic Mexican meat snack. Specifically, much input was given from folks in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sales have since been growing, where El Norteño products are being placed in more and more places across the USA.
Ingredients: Beef, Pork, Water, Salt, Spices (including Habanero Pepper), Dextrose, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Phosphates, Garlic, Onion, Sugar, Spice Extractive, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. Sprayed with Potassium Sorbate to Improve Quality.
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. However, the beef is guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass and roam about.
The only liquid used here is water. As sweeteners go, it is not good to see that cheap corn syrup solids is used, which is corn in powdered form. In our opinion, corn based products have no business being in meat snacks.
It is great to see that super healthy vegetables garlic and onion are used. There are also multiple healthy spices used in this jerky.
While not printed directly on the bag, the El Norteño web site provides a nutrition facts table. It does not get any better than having 0 grams of sugar. The salt level is respectable at 260mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky.
A number of unhealthy preservatives are used such as sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, and potassium sorbate. Also not good is that sodium phosphate is used to enhance the flavor. On a better note, this jerky does qualify to have no MSG added.
Fair (4/10) – Ingredient Rating
This meat stick is 8 inches in length. It has a very soft and tender texture, making this meat stick very easy to chew. Handling this meat stick does leave a small amount of residue on your fingers.
A mild level of garlic and onion are detected. There is very little sweetness, and it has a good deal of meat flavor. The salt level is mild to moderate tasting. There are some other spices added that complement the overall flavor nicely, which includes chili peppers, and likely oregano.
Being a habanero based flavor, it delivers with a decent level of heat in this meat stick. On a heat scale, it would rate about a 2 out of 5 depending on your tolerance of spicy foods. Overall, this meat stick is very tasty and addictive.
A 1 ounce/28 gram meat stick sells between $1.29 – $1.49. That rates as a cheap price, or at least compared to jerky. This meat stick is recommended as worth your money to people who would enjoy a hot flavor based meat stick with multiple added spices that are common to Mexican cuisine.
Excellent (10/10) – Taste Rating
This is a very narrow plastic bag that fits the meat stick perfectly in size. There are no labels, and everything is imprinted directly on the bag. The green, white, and red colors are fitting, which represent the Mexico flag.
There are no slogans printed on this bag. The facts printed on this bag are “Botana de Carne – Meat Snack”, “Naturally Smoked”, and the Spanish equivalent “Naturalmente Ahumado”.
Most bag categories are covered here with this bag. Some categories missing are that the jerky weight is not stated in grams, no nutrition facts table, and no blurb printed on this bag about this flavor or brand name. To the credit of El Norteño, a phone number is provided for customer inquiries.
Check out their web site: www.elnortenofoods.com
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