Sunday, May 2, 2010

House of Jerky - Western Ostrich

house of jerkyHouse of Jerky is a brand you'll often find along roadside stands and in specialy shops nestled inside touristy areas. It's a husband-and-wife business that has grown to become well respected among beef jerky afficionados. The company makes jerky from a wide variety of animals, including ostrich.

Ostrich grew quickly in popularity because it was seen as a way to produce leaner red meat, that tastes very much like beef, but with less cost. Ostrich produces more meat for less feed compared to cattle. On top of that, ostrich hide produces a more durable leather than cattle, and in fact the hide is the primary use of farm-raised ostrich, with meat being second. The economics were such that it spurned the growth of small family-run ostrich farms all over the country.

Because ostrich is so much more lean than beef, it tends to be more tough.

But for whatever the reasons are, ostrich is still an exotic meat, and is something you rarely see sold in mainstream restaurants and grocery stores.

Ingredients

Ostrich, water, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, liquid smoke, black pepper, garlic powder, white pepper.

Taste

The first tastes that come out of this is the black pepper, a sweetness, and the smokiness. The soy sauce makes itself known after a few chews, and then from behind those layers of flavorings, the natural meat taste comes out.

Even though the package doesn't label this as being a black pepper variety, this is effectively what this is. The liberal spread of black pepper on these pieces gives it a strong peppery taste that perhaps overshadows the ostrich flavor. If you love peppered jerky (which I do), you'll love this.

The natural meat flavors can be tasted in this, but with the way ostrich is, it's tastes very much like beef. I'll go on to say that the meat flavors are more subtle in this jerky than with House of Jerky's beef varieties. I think that is largely due to ostrich being so much more lean than beef; I tend to believe the real flavor that Americans love about beef is the marbilization of fat.

Being free of preservatives, this jerky still retains a fresh taste.

Overall, this ostrich is packed tightly with flavor, just as with all of House of Jerky's varieties. I keep getting lots of flavor as I continue to chew a piece. I find this particularly enjoyable just softening up a piece in my mouth for 30 seconds, and then chewing lightly and extracting the juices.

Meat Consistency

This appears to be real cuts of meat, sliced thin, and in small, medium, and large sized pieces.

This is mostly a dry jerky, but with a layer of stickiness due to the brown sugar and teriyaki sauce. The pieces tear apart easily, some maybe with a little more effort, and they chew fairly easily.

I didn't find any amount of fat, tendon, or gristle on these pieces.

Overall, the meat consistency is such that it provides an excellent eating experience, allowing you to put all of your attention on the flavor.

ostrich jerky

peppered ostrich jerky
Snack Value

House of Jerky sells this online at a price of $13.50 for a 4oz bag. That works out to $3.38 per oz. That price includes the shipping.

As an ostrich jerky, at the $3.38 price per ounce, it offers a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability out of this for a good overall flavor, good meat consistency and chewing texture. I'm picking up some natural meat flavors, though it still seems to taste like beef. But considering ostrich jerky is not nearly as common as beef jerky, it's still a good jerky for the money.

Rating

House of Jerky - Western OstrichI'm giving this a best rating.

House of Jerky has obviously found a great recipe for success with its jerky, and this ostrich variety carries that on. It's packed with flavor, it's easy to tear apart and chew, and retains some good natural meat flavors. The fact that it's free of preservatives and still offers a fresh taste is a bonus.

Even though the combination of black pepper, soy sauce, and sugar is a very common seasoning blend, there is so much taste packed into these pieces of meat that I didn't necessarily find this to be ordinary.

My recommended beer pairing with this, the roasted malt flavor of a brown ale will pair well with the natural meat flavors, while a light body will quench the strong black pepper. Try Lost Coast's Downtown Brown, or Samuel Adams Brown Ale.

Rating: Best

Originally reviewed: July 2, 2008

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2 comments:

  1. Not much more could be said about this amazing product. Steve has done a great job of capturing its magnificence in words. It is hands down Decadent. I will admit the flavor of the ostrich is very subtle but the texture is amazing. I have not had better jerky. Thanks again to @houseofjerky on twitter! I hope you continue this recipe as well as the others for years to come.

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  2. Thanks for your great comments about our product! Steve does do a great job reviewing jerky.

    Janie
    House of Jerky

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