Next in the series on Choppin' Block beef jerky is this Hot variety. See my previous review of their Mesquite Smoked variety.
Choppin' Block is a brand name of Robertson's Hams of Salado, TX. Robertson's Hams is an outlet store for a brand of smoked meats called "Robertson's Hams". Robertson's Hams has six outlets across Texas and Oklahoma. Refer to my above linked review of the Mesquite Smoked variety for a detailed explanation between the two entities.
This Hot variety along with the Mesquite Smoked are the only two beef jerky varieties the Salado, TX outlet offers; they also have a turkey jerky which I didn't purchase. This Hot variety is also labeled as mesquite smoked.
Beef, water, brown sugar, salt, worcestershire sauce, red pepper, black pepper, crused red pepper, sugar, maple sugar, granulated garlic, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smoky flavor, a light sweet, and with some sucking I get a light saltiness. I can also detect a faint garlic flavor. Overall, it's a light surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with a smoky, natural meat flavor, followed by a stronger saltiness. I can detect a light spicy burn building in the back of my mouth. I can also pick up some black pepper.
For being advertised as a Hot variety, I don't see this as "hot". It does have a little bit of heat burning in the back of my mouth, but it's so light that it's more like a tease for me. I'd rate this as "mild-medium" on my hot scale. Maybe others with a lower tolerance for hot foods will see this as "medium".
Considering the ingredients lists red pepper, I don't really taste it at all. I do get the light burn, but no red pepper flavor. There are a few chile pepper seeds scattered around, but very scant. Those don't seem to add any flavor.
But I do taste the black pepper in a light amount. It mostly comes in the chewing, and is varied in intensity. Some pieces give off a strong taste, others just a slight taste.
The natural meat flavors are well noticed in the chewing, but not necessarily in a strong amount. There's a good deal of smokiness mixed in.
The salt flavor intensity seems moderate.
There's also a faint garlic flavor noticeable.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is that mesquite smoke initially, with a bit of sweet, salty, and light spicy burn. Then the natural meat flavors come on as soon as you start chewing, with moderate amount of saltiness, and some black pepper. You'll notice a light-to-moderate spicy burn over several pieces.
These are strips of whole meat, cut thin to medium, and in lengths ranging from 6 to 12 inches.
This is a dry jerky, with a just a little bit of flexibility. The strips are cut with the grain, and as a result, require a little effort biting off chunks. Chewing is also rather chewy, and labored, but not to where I'd call it tough.
The chewing texture starts out feeling like stiff rubber. With some sucking and light biting, it eventually softens up and starts chewing down. Once down to a soft mass, it has a steak-like feel, more comparable to a steak cooked medium-rare. There's still some rubbery feel, however.
I do see some small chunks of fat on a few strips, otherwise most of this jerky is very lean. No gristle, tendon, or other chewy connective tissues.
It's also very clean eating, no residue on the fingertips, and no fragments flying off.
Robertson's Hams of Salado, TX sells their Choppin' Block jerky at a price of $12.95 for an 8oz bag. I bought three bags, each a different variety. Add to that shipping costs of $11.50, and it comes to a total of $50.35. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.10.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.10 price per ounce, this jerky seems to offer a decent value. I'm getting a good amount of snackability for it's good overall flavor and good chewing texture. The $2.10 price per ounce is higher than store-bought jerky, but I think you'll get a little bit better jerky overall from this.
As a Hot variety, at the same $2.10 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I don't see this as being "hot" at all. It does have some spicy burn to it, but considering you're paying a higher price than store-bought jerky, you're not getting something any hotter.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Hot variety from Choppin' Block is very comparable to their regular Mesquite Smoked variety, but with just a little bit of heat added in. The addition of red pepper seasoning doesn't add any flavor, just a little bit of spicy burn. Otherwise, it's the same jerky as the Mesquite Smoked variety.
For the most part, you're tasting a fair amount of smokiness, some natural meat flavors, saltiness, and some black pepper. Initially, the chewing is a little tough, like stiff rubber, but eventually you'll get a decent chewing texture, similar to medium-rare steak, though still a bit rubbery.
Overall, it's a good flavor and a good chew if you like dry chewy jerky. But aside from the light burn, this jerky has a light overall flavor. As a hot jerky, I'd prefer more red pepper seasoning, just because I want that chile pepper flavor.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a red ale.
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