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 business has been in existence since 1973, but it has roots long before that. It was founded by Jerry Shalhoob, a well-respected butcher in the Santa Barbara area, and apparently the area's best "meat historian". In 2001, the business was taken over by his son John.
The company's website says this line of "old school" jerky is based on an old family recipe that date's back to John's great great grandfather, and is made from top round.
Beef, corn syrup solids, vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, black pepper and sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness, followed by a light tangy vinegar flavor. I can get a little saltiness sucking on a piece. The chewing flavors starts with a tad more saltiness, and a continuation of the light vinegar.
After eating a few pieces, the words that comes to mind is "light flavor". It's a very mild jerky, having a low flavor intensity.
If any flavor dominates this jerky from the surface through the chewing is that light vinegar flavor. I can even smell it on these pieces. In fact, that smell suggested to me I'd taste a higher intensity than what I'm getting. Don't expect anything pungent or bitter, just a light tangy vinegar taste.
In trying to decide if I can taste any natural meat flavors, it seems there is something there, just very light. I wouldn't consider it a dominant flavor, it's just enough to be noticed, yet still seems to take a back seat to the vinegar flavor.
The salt flavor intensity in this seems light. The black pepper noted in the ingredients is visible on these pieces, but I don't detect their flavor.
Overall, what you're going to experience in this jerky is largely that light vinegar flavor. The saltiness is light. The natural meat flavor is very light. And the sweetness on the surface is also very light. It's a light tasting jerky all-around.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium to thick thickness, and in small pieces.
The pieces appear to be mostly dry, but some seem to be better off as "semi moist". They have a fair amount of flexibility. Tearing a piece apart with my fingers seems easy, while chewing these pieces ranges from easy to moderately easy.
The chewing texture of these pieces starts out feeling dry and hard, but seems to soften up and break apart quickly. They chew down to a soft mass in about 20 seconds. At that point they feel very much like a well-done cooked steak, very fibrous. There are other pieces more moist than the rest, and don't start with that dry, hard feeling, but rather soft. They still have a steak-like feel, just a little bit mushy.
I don't really see any streaks of fat on these pieces, minus a few with a little bit of marbilization. And I found no tendon or gristle. Several pieces did contain some chewy sinews that left small wads of unchewable tissue behind.
The pieces seem to tear apart without dropping too many tiny meat fragments, and they left no residue 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 price per ounce, it seems to provide a fair value. That light amount of vinegar flavor with the more lighter amount of natural meat flavors seems to provide a good enough taste that I do indeed find myself reaching for more, and that's helped by the easy eating. In that sense, I'm getting a decent snackability. But the $2.00 per ounce price seems rather high for this low flavor intensity.
I'm giving this an average rating.
I found this Original variety from Shalhoob Meat Co. to have a good flavor, but it didn't have enough flavor intensity. I like the salt and vinegar flavor, and even found a very light meat flavor, I just kept wanting to taste more. I'd assign this a "good" rating, but opted for an "average" rating instead.
This jerky is actually comparable to Cattaneo Bros. Original, which I reviewed just a week ago. It's flavor is based on the same salt & vinegar taste, except the Cattaneo has a stronger intensity than this, but is much more tough chewing. So either you're light on flavor but easy to chew, or heavier on flavor and tough to chew. Interestingly, Cattaneo Bros. is located just a hundred miles up the coast from Shalhoob.
But the much easier eating and chewing with the Shalhoob allows me to get to the full flavor more quickly, and creates more snackability. Now, if we can just get more flavor out of it.
A good beer to go with this is an IPA.
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