Wednesday, November 12, 2008

REVIEW: Smoky Mountain Cajun Jerky

Smoky Mountain Beef Jerky

Manufacturer: Magnolia Jerky

Flavor: Cajun

Weight: Four Ounces


Flavor: 4.5

Aroma: 5

Texture: 3.5

Appearance: 3.5

Packaging: 3

Ratings range from 1 to 5

This is our first review of a beef jerky. Until recently, jerky was something that I would eat once a year at most. My experience to date has been almost exclusively with commercial, mass produced jerky. I believe that this fostered an expectation that was a bit misleading. Trying what I call ‘small batch’ jerky has been a revelation. The aroma and flavoring so far has been vastly superior to that of the large manufacturers.

It seems that Magnolia Jerky makes both the Smoky Mountain and Jay’s Jerky brands of jerky. I have only tried the Smoky Mountain version. The jerky comes in a transparent plastic bag that is roughly 6” by 4”. The label on the bag has a basic, rustic appeal Although the bag lacks the sleek and dynamic coloring of large, corporate jerky products, it allows you to actually see the product that you will be purchasing and eating.

I’m not sure if Smoky Mountain jerky is available in stores, but you can visit their website and order from there. While visiting the site, you will notice the huge variety of flavors. There is some overlapping, such as the Jay’s Jerky Teriyaki flavor on the same page as the Teriyaki for Smoky Mountain and I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

Now that we’ve discussed what I’m not sure of, let’s go into what is rock solid. This jerky kicks butt. The aroma isn’t overpowering, but if you take the time to smell the jerky, you will pick up hints of everything that is to come in the taste. The spices, the meat, the sweet and the savory all combine to offer a wonderful bouquet.

The texture is a bit rough, but we are talking about jerky here. This beef in this particular flavor was sliced fairly thin, which made the meat easier to render. I could imagine that the texture might be a small problem if the jerky were thicker. Regardless, any difficulties in chewing or ripping apart the jerky would be minimized by the delicious flavor.

It seems that one of the benefits of the process in which jerky is made is that the flavor is redolent in every bit. Smoky Mountain’s Cajun flavor offers a nice heat that doesn’t subdue the spices, such as soy, garlic, onion and pepper. The heat lingers for quite a bit while the other flavors recede. There is no MSG in the product, in spite of the soy flavoring and there is no strong salt presence that is predominant in some mass produced jerky.

If you are looking for a flavorful snack this is the product for you. It would be especially recommended for those looking for snacks that are low in carbs.

(image pictured is of the jalapeƱo variety)


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