Old Wisconsin is a brand name of Old Wisconsin Sausage, Inc. based out of Sheboygan, WI.
The company has been around since 1942 and is more known for its line of sausages than its beef jerky. It originally started out as "Thielmann's" until the 1980s, when it was purchased by Carl Buddig and Co., and was changed to the present name.
I'm not exactly sure when Old Wisconsin began selling jerky, but I want to say that it's not part of their original product line going back into the 1940s, and more likely a recent addition since being purchased by Carl Buddig and Co.
Old Wisconsin makes this jerky in their own USDA approved facility.
Beef, water, sugar, original mix (sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, sodium ascorbate, black pepper oil, red pepper oil, mustard oil, garlic powder, onion powder, silicon dioxide), sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sweet flavor, followed by a light smoky flavor. With some sucking I get a fair amount of saltiness. Overall, a moderate surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased smokiness, more saltiness, and a continuation of the sweet.
I'd say the most noticeable flavors in this jerky is the smoke and the salt. Between the two, it seems the smokiness is more noticeable than the salt. The package claims to have been "naturally smoked", and it does seem to have that real smoked flavor, as opposed to the liquid stuff. Meanwhile, the salt flavor intensity seems to be at a moderate level.
The sweet is actually the first noticeable flavor, but tends to give way to the smokiness and saltiness, though continues to be noticed throughout the chewing.
The natural meat flavors are not really noticed. I tried to carefully to identify them, but couldn't really find anything.
I pick up a very faint garlic flavor. Other than that, I can't seem to identify anything else from the "original mix" listed in the ingredients.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this an initial sweet that soon gives way to a stronger smokiness and saltiness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with just a little bit of flexibility. The pieces tear apart with my fingers fairly easily, though it's a little chewy, but otherwise somewhat easy to eat.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, with some rubbery chewing resistance, but seems to break down with some sucking and light biting, and chews down to a soft mass fairly quickly after that. At that point, it has a meaty, fibrous feel, comparable to a steak cooked medium-well.
These pieces appear to be very lean, I found no bits of fat, no gristle or tendon, no stringy sinews, and no unchewable wads of tissue.
It's also very clean eating, with no residue on my fingertips and no fragments of meat falling on my lap or desk.
I paid $5.99 for this 3oz package at a Ralph's grocery store in Menifee, CA. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.00 price per ounce, this jerky provides a weak value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability for its satisfactory flavor, good meat consistency and good chewing texture. Yet, the $2.00 price per ounce is higher than what I can get from other brands at other stores, and either get the same snackability or better.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original variety from Old Wisconsin provides a nice smokiness, one that resembles a real smoke flavor and not artificial. But aside from that, all I'm getting from this jerky is some saltiness and sweet. It's a satisfactory flavor overall, but nothing interesting.
It does appear to have a good meat consistency, being very lean, fairly easy to eat, and having a very meaty chewing texture.
As an "Original" variety of beef jerky, it's very much that, mild, moderately salty, and perhaps perfect for those folks who don't like anything spicy.
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