Second in this series on Shalhoob Meat Co. is this Jalapeno variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.
Shalhoob Meat Co. is a family run, full service, butcher shop located in Santa Barbara, CA. Aside from supplying restaurants and consumers with steaks, roasts, and ribs, they also offer beef jerky.
The company's website refers to this line of jerky as "old school" style, saying it was based on an old family recipe that date's back to owner's great great grandfather. Shalhoob also offers a couple of other jerky lines, including an organic line, and a "soft and tender" line.
Beef, corn syrup solids, vinegar, jalapenos, salt, sugar, garlic, black pepper and sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a medium-level jalapeno flavor, followed by some sweetness, and a bit of saltiness. There's a light amount of spicy heat as well. In the chewing, the first thing I taste is a bit more saltiness, and a light amount vinegar flavor.
As a Jalapeno variety, it does offer some jalapeno chile flavor. Some pieces have chunks of jalapeno chiles, but they don't seem to provide any more flavor. The flavor seems to be that of a pickled jalapeno. The amount of spicy heat given off by this jerky is in a moderate amount, about a "medium" on my hot scale.
Compared to the Original variety, this Jalapeno variety seems to have more flavor intensity, perhaps due to the addition of jalapeno. But the saltiness also seems to be higher. However when I compare the sodium level on the nutrition facts labels, this has no more sodium than the Original. It just seems more salty. That might be due to the jalapeno spiciness exacerbating the saltiness.
I also see flakes of red chiles on these pieces. I'm not sure how much of that I'm tasting versus the jalapeno chiles, or if the spicy heat is coming from that instead.
As for the primary flavor of this jerky, I'm going to side with the jalapeno flavor. But the saltiness is perhaps just as dominant, but I think the jalapeno grabs slightly more attention. There's also a vinegar flavor in this jerky, just like with the Original variety. Except in this variety, it's less noticeable due to the jalapeno flavor taking over.
The natural meat flavors are difficult to taste. For the most part, I don't really taste any.
The sweetness off the surface continues through half-way into the chewing.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is very much like the Original variety, but with the pickled jalapeno flavor added in. You'll taste that jalapeno on the surface, and it'll last most of the way through the chewing. It also seems this jerky has more flavor intensity overall than compared to the Original.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
It's a dry jerky, but with some slight bit of moist feel on the surface. There's just a little bit of flexibility, but will easily crack apart if bent far enough. Tearing these pieces apart with my fingers is easy, while chewing tends to be "chewy", and maybe tad more tough on some pieces.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft, and with some sucking and light biting, falls apart easily enough. Most pieces don't have any rubbery resistance, but a few did. It chews down to a soft mass in about 15 seconds. At that point, it has a steak-like feel, very fibrous, perhaps similar to a steak cooked medium-well. I don't get a mushy or gummy texture, but there is a bit of a crumbly texture. For the most part, it's a pretty decent chew.
I didn't find any pieces of fat in this jerky, and not tendon or gristle. I do find a fair amount of chewy sinews, but they seems small enough and far enough in between that it hasn't been an issue
Handling these pieces causes bits of chile pepper seeds and flakes to fall off. But otherwise it seems to be clean eating, with no residue picking up on my fingers.
I paid $6.99 for this 3.5oz package at a Copenhagen Liquor store in Solvang, CA. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $2.00 per ounce price, it seems to present a decent value. I get a good deal of snackability from the overall good flavor, and good chewing. It seems to be a better value than the Original variety just for the addition of jalapeno flavor. But $2.00 per ounce is still on the high side for what I'm getting out of this.
As a Jalapeno variety, also at the $2.00 per ounce price, it seems to be a decent value as well. I do get a decent amount of jalapeno flavor from this, and a fair amount of chile pepper heat. But the moderate level of flavor and heat that I'm getting is still not enough to justify the higher $2.00 per ounce price.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Jalapeno variety from Shalhoob Meat Co. seems to have a good overall flavor highlighted by a decent amount of jalapeno flavor, that sits on top of a salt & vinegar flavor. When you combine that with a good chewing texture, it's enough to create some good snackability.
It seems to have more flavor intensity than the Original variety, and that seems to encourage me to suck out the juices and savor this, as opposed to just chewing all the way through.
But while I think it rates as "good", there still isn't anything extraordinary or excellent enough, in comparison to 100+ brands I've reviewed thus far, to warrant a better rating. It's better than the mass-market brands, but not in the upper-echelon of gourmet jerky.
My recommended beer pairing for this jerky, try a light tasting cream ale, or honey blonde.
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