Port City Smokehouse is a smokehouse located in Frankfort, MI. It's situated by Betsie Bay, on the northern portion of Lake Michigan. Port City Smokehouse is known more for their smoked fish, but they also do smoked meats and jerky, along with jams, jellies, salsas, and dried fruit.
And according to a phone call I had with the store keeper, they make their own jerky.
I decided to get this Cherry Turkey Jerky, along with another package of Chipotle Turkey Jerky, after having experimented with making my own cherry teriyaki jerky. Mine didn't come all that great, so I decided to try this one from Port City Smokehouse to see how it compared.
The first thing I taste on the surface of these pieces is a strong smoky flavor, some faint seasoning blend that I can't immediately recognize. There's a light amount of saltiness. Overall, a light surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with the natural turkey meat flavors, and a continuation of the smokiness, and a bit more saltiness. There's a light sweetness in this, and I can detect a bit of a tangy, fruity, flavor. I can also detect a slight spicy tingle on the back of my tongue.
For being a Cherry Turkey Jerky, this does have a tangy, fruity, note to it, but it's not a strong, easily noticeable cherry flavor. In fact, if I didn't know this was Cherry Turkey Jerky, I wouldn't recognize what that flavor is. But overall, it does add a nice flavor to this turkey meat, and I'm quickly becoming a fan of cherry flavored jerky of any kind.
Otherwise, the flavor that really stands out in this jerky is the smokiness. And I'm not talking about liquid smoke, but the real deal. I can definitely taste the difference. There's even a strong smoky smell to this. This jerky has a fine layer of soot on the surface that registers on my taste buds, and here and there I can even hear tiny crunching sounds from tiny bits of charcoal on the grill marks.
The natural turkey meat flavors are easily noticeable, and they seem to taste just like turkey meat, more closer to the leg meat, which I think this is.
The saltiness in this is light.
I mentioned noticing a very light spiciness and seasoning. I'm not sure what that is, but there's just enough to make this interesting.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is largely the smokiness, tasting like real wood smoke, followed by the natural turkey meat flavors, and a light saltiness. The Cherry flavoring is noticeable, providing a lightly tangy, fruity character, but not anything you'd recognize easily as cherry.
These are slices of whole meat, cut very thick, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a moist jerky, feeling moist on the surface. It's very soft and tender, and some pieces are so soft and tender they melt in my mouth.
The chewing texture starts out feeling tender, and easily breaks down with one chew. Once down to a soft mass, they feel just like eating real turkey meat, but more comparable to leg meat, as opposed to breast meat.
I don't see much of any fat on these pieces. For the most part, it seems to be all meat. But I did encounter one piece with a chunk of rubbery ligament, and another piece with a small streak of gristle.
In terms of clean eating, handling these pieces leaves a moist feeling on my fingertips with some black sooty residue.
Port City Smokehouse sells this Cherry Turkey Jerky at a price of $8.49 for a half-pound package. I bought two packages, including this, and a package of their Chipotle Turkey. Add to that shipping costs of $38.80, and it brings up a total of $55.78. That works out to a price of $3.47 per ounce.
Note, this shipping is expensive because it's sent in a styrofoam box with freezer packs, and sent 2nd Day Air.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.47 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I actually find a lot of snackbility in this, for it's great overall flavor, great meat consistency, and great chewing texture. Even though that $3.47 price per ounce is very high compared to the mass-market jerky brands, I am really enjoying this jerky.
As a Cherry Turkey Jerky, at the same $3.47 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm not really getting anything that tastes like cherry, though I can certainly detect the what the cherry infusion does to this meat, giving it a lightly tangy, fruity character. But as far as turkey jerky goes, this is very good turkey jerky.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Cherry Turkey Jerky from Port City Smokehouse has a rich smoky flavor, offering a real wood smoked taste and not artificial smoke flavoring. But it manages to retain much of the natural turkey meat flavors, with a lightly tangy, fruity character from the cherry flavoring. Add to that a light saltiness, and some kind of light seasoning blend, and it creates a great tasting jerky.
The meat consistency is excellent, being mostly all meat. And the meat is soft, tender, and moist. It even chews just like real turkey meat, more closer to leg meat.
If I found any negative with this it's the tiny bits of charcoal stuck to the grill marks that make a crunching noise. Otherwise, what pushed this up to the top for me is that rich smoky flavor, the natural meat flavors, and that lightly tangy, fruity flavor from the cherry.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a lightly flavored cream ale.
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