Note (Jan 20, 2010): Since this review was published, Sograte has revised the recipe for this jerky. Read my revised review published here.
Sograte is a brand of Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky, based out of Lubbock, TX. The company was founded by Cary Franklin.
The business originally started out with Cary and his brother-in-law entering a BBQ competition in 2005, where they took four of the top ten positions in five different categories on their first try. Today, they run a BBQ catering service. The beef jerky is their primary retail product.
Interestingly, the beef jerky is not marinated, rather it's just salt cured. It's smoked over a live hickory fire, and then seasoned.
Beef, salt, sugar, paprika, spices, monosodium glutamate, garlic, sprayed with potassium sorbate.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smokiness, and a light bit saltiness. I can also pick up a faint sweet. Overall, a light surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with a stronger smokiness, followed by some natural meat flavors.
The flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is that smoky natural meat flavor. In fact, I'd even consider the smokiness to have the stronger flavor element than the meat itself. The natural meat flavor seems to be at a moderate level of intensity, with a mild flavor.
The saltiness has a moderate-to-high level of flavor. On a single piece it seems fine, but over several pieces it builds up a strong intensity.
There's also a spiciness to this that doesn't manifest itself until after eating several pieces. I'd still classify it as "mild" on my hot scale, but I think some folks could see this at a step higher, "mild medium".
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is a very smoky natural meat flavor, with a moderate-to-high saltiness, and a light bit of spiciness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of 3/4 inch wide, and 4-6 inches in length.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry touch. They're a little bit brittle, even offering a little bit of crunchiness. Some strips are cut with the grain making it tougher to bite off. Chewing seems varied, some easy and some quite chewy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and woody. With some light biting and sucking, it seems to break apart easily enough. Once it's chewed down to a soft mass, it has a steak-like texture, comparable to a steak cooked well-done.
I don't see any fat on these pieces, and no tendon, but I did find one piece with some significant gristle. I don't really find much stringy sinews either.
Handling this jerky does leave some paprika on my fingertips, enough that it requires some finger rubbing before touching my keyboard. And I do see some of that paprika on my lap.
Sograte sells this Original beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.00 for a 3oz bag. You can get 6 bags for $28.00. Shipping fees work out to $4.95 flat rate, or free shipping if you spend over $50.00. So if you bought the 6 bags, it would end up at $32.95 total. That works out to a per ounce price of $1.83.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.83 price per ounce, this jerky seems to provide a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its good flavor, good chewing texture. That $1.83 price per ounce is very close to what you'd pay at a grocery store for the mass-market brands, except I think you're getting better flavor and something that chews more like real meat.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Original beef jerky from Sograte Beef Jerky offers up a strong smoky flavor, with a fair amount of natural meat flavors. It also offers a moderate amount of saltiness on each piece, but tends to get strong after eating several pieces. You'll even taste a light spiciness after several pieces as well.
The meat consistency is dry, and some pieces can be somewhat tough to chew. But it does offer a very steak-like chewing texture. The dryness in this jerky also produces a little bit of crunchiness, which seems to add to my overall snacking enjoyment.
The saltiness can get quite strong in some pieces, and highly salty jerky tends to lose snackability with me. If you like salty jerky, you may see this with a "best" rating, just for that smoky natural meat flavor.
I think a good beer with this is a cream ale or kolsch, to let that smokiness contrast better.
Buy this online: