Next up in the series on New Braunfels Smokehouse is this Peppered Pork Strips. See my previous reviews of their Jalapeno, Sweet & Spicy, and Peppered varieties.
New Braunfels Smokehouse is a smokehouse and restaurant located in New Braunfels, TX. The company's history goes back to 1943, when it originally opened as a ice factory.
Local ranchers used to bring their meats to them for cold storage. A smokehouse employee, who came from Germany, got the idea of smoking some of the meats using an old German recipe. Locals in the area loved the smoked meats, and soon orders started coming in from all over Texas, and the ice factory shifted gears and became a smokehouse.
Pork, water, salt, sugar, flavoring, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, sodium citrate.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a lot of smoky flavor, with some saltiness. Overall, a moderate flavor intensity on the surface.
The chewing flavor starts with a little bit more saltiness, a continuation of the smokiness, and a faint bit of meat flavor. There's a touch of peppery flavor.
For being dubbed as "Peppered Pork Strips", there's only a light touch of black pepper flavor in each bite of meat, though it builds up a noticeable aftertaste over several bites. That aftertaste might be enough to maintain a flavor over the whole bag. Even though it's the featured flavor, the pepper doesn't really come through all that much.
The natural pork meat flavor is very light, and is not noticed if I'm just snacking away mindlessly. I can only notice it if I establish a comparison by spending 15-20 seconds sucking on a piece first, and then chewing.
Otherwise the most noticeable flavors in this jerky is the smokiness and saltiness, both being easily tasted on the surface and in the chewing. The smokiness is stronger on a single-piece basis, while the saltiness dominates after eating several pieces. The salt intensity seems to be at a moderate level, though the nutrition facts label shows a low sodium content.
Overall, it's a simple tasting jerky identified particularly for its strong smokiness and moderate saltiness. After that, you'll taste a light bit of black pepper.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced at a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces. Despite being labeled "strips", there seems to be a mixed bag of strips, slabs, and chunks.
This is a dry jerky, but quite soft with a lot of flexibility. These are very easy to tear apart with my fingers, and easy to chew.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft, with a little bit of rubbery chewing resistance. It breaks down with a little bit of effort, and chews down to a soft mass before too long. At that point, it has a very meaty, fibrous texture, much like a dry pork chop.
This jerky appears to be very lean, finding no bits or streaks of fat, no tendon or gristle, and no stringy sinews.
It's not messy to eat either, leaving no residue on my fingers, and no fragments of meat or pepper on my lap and desk.
New Braunfels Smokehouse sells this Peppered Pork Strips from its website at a price of $9.50 for a 4oz package. However, I purchased this through their "Jerky Sampler" which gets me six 4oz packages, each a different variety, at a price of $43.95. Add to that shipping costs of $12.95, and it comes to a total of $56.90. That's a per ounce price of $2.37.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.37 price per ounce, this seems to provide a weak value. I'm getting an average snackability, with a slightly better than average flavor, but a good meat consistency and chewing texture. However, the $2.37 price per ounce is considerably higher than what you'd pay for mass-market jerky at the grocery store, and I think this jerky offers about the same snackability.
As a Peppered Pork Strips variety, at the $2.37 price per ounce, it's a weak value as well. I only get a light black pepper flavor, and just a faint pork meat flavor, though it seems to chew like pork chop, albeit dry. For that higher price level, I'm not getting enough pepper or pork flavor.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Peppered Pork Strips offers a strong smoky flavor with a moderate saltiness, and just a touch of black pepper flavor. I found the flavor good mostly because of the smokiness, but after eating several pieces I found myself wanting to taste some other element, and not really finding it. The black pepper stays light, and the meat flavors are just barely noticeable.
But it's strength lies in its meat consistency and chewing texture. As a dry jerky, it's soft and easy to eat, with no fat and no unchewable tissues. It has a good chewing texture feeling much like pork chop, through more dry.
It's actually pretty good through the first piece, but being limited to largely a smoky salty flavor, it just doesn't hold my interest long enough to last through 4oz package.
I think a good beer to go with this is an IPA.
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