Stubb's is a brand of barbecue mostly known as a restaurant in Austin, TX, and then as a line of sauces. It's actual name is "Stubb's Legendary Kitchen", named after C.B. Stubblefield, who built a reputation as a cook in the Army. Texas Monthly has a nice write up on the guy.
This jerky represents a partnership between Thanasi Foods, LLC, who makes snack foods, and One World Foods, Inc., the company that owns the Stubb's brand. It launched in September 2008, and includes two varieties, this Spicy Bar-B-Q, and the Texas Teriyaki.
Thanasi Foods specializes in extending popular brands into snack foods. They also do Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky, Jim Beam Beef Jerky, and Vlasic Pickles Sunflower Seeds.
Beef, Stubb's Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce, water, contains 2% or less of brown sugar, salt, sugar, spices, natural smoke flavor, molasses, hydrolyzed soy protein, flavoring, vinegar, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate.
The first thing I taste when I put a piece into my mouth is a strong smoky flavor, which is then followed by a light oily/greasy flavor, and then a bit of sweetness. Further sucking yields a faint saltiness from inside the meat. When I start chewing, I get more saltiness first, followed by some natural meat flavors. I can feel a faint spicy tingle in the background.
Being that this jerky is made with Stubb's Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce, I naturally expected it to be spicy. But I don't really get much spiciness out of this. In a technical sense, the word "spicy" could mean any kind of spice in a great volume, I guess even if it was just salt and sugar. But considering Stubb's was from Texas, I think it's supposed to awaken your senses, make your tongue dance, and even create some heat.
This jerky at best, does only a little of that. I do feel a faint spicy tingle on my tongue on an individual piece, graduating up to just a light spicy tingle over several pieces. I tend to think that the actual barbecue sauce is indeed spicy, it's just that this jerky doesn't carry it over to any significant degree.
I even have difficulty finding the barbecue flavor in this jerky. For me, barbecue conjures up a tangy flavor, with a thick sweetness, with garlic and onion. I only get a light sweetness, and a light garlic aftertaste. I think there is indeed a barbecue flavor to this jerky, it just doesn't pound it out very well.
Overall, what I taste the most in this jerky throughout the chewing is a meat flavor. I'd rank it moderate in intensity. I'm not sure it's correct to call it a natural meat flavor, but certainly a meat flavor. Monogram Meat Snacks is the company that manufactures all the jerky for Thanasi Foods, and all the jerky they've made for Thanasi has the same meat flavor. It's tastes similar to beef summer sausage.
The smokiness on the surface of these pieces is also a dominant flavor, at least during the first several seconds before I start chewing.
The Stubb's Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce, with its light spiciness, light sweetness, and garlic aftertaste, seems to sit in the background, adding color to the meat flavor.
The saltiness in this is quite light in intensity.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is largely a dry jerky, but it seems to have a slight bit of moisture. Flexibility seems to be varied. Some pieces were pliable enough they could be bent 180 degrees against the grain with no cracking, while others bent the same way cracked pretty quickly. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers requires a bit of effort, while chewing seems easier.
The chewing texture for most pieces seems to feel something like steak, cooked well done. They felt rather soft immediately, with little rubbery-resistance to chewing, and chewed down into something fibrous just like a chunk of steak. Other pieces had some more of the rubbery-resistance, but seemingly had more grease inside. They still chewed down into something steak-like, but with a bit more mushiness.
My fingers pick up a fine layer of oil when handling these pieces, but not enough to require a licking, or wiping on my jeans. I can just rub my fingers together, and start typing. I'm not seeing any fragments of meat falling off as I tear these pieces apart.
I found several pieces containing visible streaks of fat, but the fat didn't have a spoiled flavor. I didn't find any pieces with gristle or tendon, but some pieces had small amounts of chewy sinews that remained in my mouth as unchewable wads of tissue.
Thanasi Foods has a suggested retail price of $5.99 for this 3.15oz package. That works out to a price of $1.90 per ounce, putting this in the average price range, towards the upper end.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.90 per ounce price, it presents a decent value. I find a good deal of snackability mostly for its meat flavor and smokiness, its ease in eating, and good chewing texture. I think a per ounce price of $1.50 is more reasonable for the amount of snacking satisfaction I'm getting.
As a Stubb's Spicy Bar-B-Q Sauce variety, at the $1.90 per ounce price, I think it presents a weak value. I don't really get much barbecue sauce flavor out of this, just a light flavor. More importantly, I don't really perceive this to be a spicy jerky. If I paid $1.90 per ounce for a spicy barbecue flavored jerky, I'd expect to get more spiciness.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Spicy Bar-B-Q variety from Stubb's offers a good deal of snackability for its satisfying flavor, ease in eating, and good chewing texture. But the flavor of this jerky is also dissappointing considering it doesn't seem to live up to the standards of C.B. Stubblefield's legendary kitchen artistry. You'd have to ask yourself, "If Stubb's was alive today, what kind of jerky would he have created?" I just don't see this jerky being it.
I was hoping to get more spicy flavor out of this, considering it's made from a spicy barbecue sauce. But it seems quite gentle. Even being made with barbecue sauce, it's difficult to see this as having a barbecue flavor. It's mostly a smoky meat flavor, with light amounts of sweetness & saltiness.
But it's still enjoyable if you just appreciate it for what it offers in both flavor and meat consistency. But it might be a good idea to dip each piece into a jar of Stubb's.
A good beer pairing for this I think would be a porter.
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