Woody's Smokehouse is a store located in Centerville, TX along Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston and is a popular stop for travellers for a variety of road goodies ranging from jerky to nuts to candies to cheeses to pickles, and what not.
They also serve up BBQ where you grab a tray and start loading up on stuff like ribs, sausage, brisket, tri-tip, and even bacon-wrapped quail.
But Woody's is often known for its jerky. I bought a package of this "Sweet & Spicy" jerky from their website, and noticed the package said it was "Packed for Woody's Smokehouse", with a stamp indicating it was prepared by New Braunfels Smokehouse. And interestingly, I just completed several jerky reviews for New Braunfels.
Beef, water, brown sugar and sugar, salt, spices, garlic and onion powder, soy sauce powder, spice extractive, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor and a sweet flavor. With some sucking the saltiness starts coming out. I can feel just a faint bit of spiciness in the back of my mouth. Overall, a light-to-moderate surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness, and some natural meat flavors, with a bit more sweet inside the meat. There's even a BBQ sauce flavor to this.
Well for being advertised as a "Sweet & Spicy" variety, it certainly is sweet, but I'm not convinced that it's spicy. It's not really spicy at all, though I can feel a faint spicy "tingle" in my mouth. If anything, what little spiciness there is actually creates a sensation more similar to BBQ sauce. That is, the heavier sweetness, combined with the smokiness, and the faint spiciness, could warrant this jerky being marketed as a BBQ variety.
In fact as I continue taking more bites of this jerky that seems to be the flavor I notice the most, a BBQ sauce-like flavor.
The natural meat flavors come through in the chewing fairly well, they have that flavor of being slow cooked in a smoky BBQ, maybe like tri-tip or something similar. There's a good deal of sweetness inside the meat flavor.
The saltiness in this seems to be at a moderate intensity at least on an individual piece. But I want to say it progresses to a high intensity after several pieces.
The garlic and onion seasoning is noticeable if you take time to find those flavors. Otherwise, they blend into that BBQ sauce flavor.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a BBQ sauce flavor, with a good deal of sweet and smoky, some good natural meat flavors, and a saltiness. I don't really see this as being spicy, unless Woody's considers the garlic, onion, and salt as being "spicy".
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in medium to large pieces. Most of these pieces are large slabs of meat.
This is a dry jerky, but with an oily and sticky feel on the surface. They have some flexibility if bent with the grain, but cracks open easily. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy, while chewing ranges from easy to somewhat labored.
The chewing texture starts out stiff like hard rubber, with some rubbery chewing resistance. It takes some sucking and biting before the meat fibers break apart and then chews down quite easily. At that point, it feels just like real meat, very fibrous, in fact similar to the way pot roast feels, but more chewier.
Some pieces have some streaks or spots of fat, while others appear to be void of any fat. I don't see any pieces with tendon or gristle, and stringy sinews appear to be at a minimum.
In terms of clean eating, it's not. Most handling yields a fair amount of oil and stickiness on my fingers that requires a licking or wiping. Some pieces, however, weren't too bad, where I didn't need to do either.
Woody's Smokehouse sells this Sweet & Spicy beef jerky from its website at a price of $27.95 for one pound. I bought two pounds, one of this Sweet & Spicy, and one of their Hickory Peppered. Add to that shipping costs of $26.46, and the total came to $82.36. That works out to a price of $2.57 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at that $2.57 per ounce price, it seems to have a fair value. I actually like the flavor of this, and get a good snackability from it, along with a good meat consistency and good chewing texture. That price is substantially higher than the mass-market jerky brands from the grocery store. And while it's a much better jerky, that price is still quite to consider this a good value.
But if you buy this at Woody's Smokehouse store, and not pay the shipping, it's an excellent value.
As a Sweet & Spicy beef jerky, at the same $2.57 per ounce, it's a weak value. I do get a lot of sweet, but very little spicy. If Sweet & Spicy jerky is your vice, and you paid that price to get this, you'll be disappointed.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Sweet & Spicy beef jerky from Woody's Smokehouse is actually more like BBQ sauce variety of jerky, in that it has a strong sweetness, with a lot of smokiness, and just enough spice to warrant something that tastes like real BBQ sauce. There's even enough natural meat flavors in this to mimic something like a slow-roasted tri-tip.
I was actually on the line between assigning a "good" or "best" rating. I opted for the former because it doesn't really hold up as a Sweet & Spicy jerky. That is, this isn't spicy enough. When I think of Sweet & Spicy jerky, I think of something that hugs you and cuddles you with a lot of sticky sweet goodness, and just as you're lulled to sleep, it socks you in the jaw with mass-quantities of spice. This made me feel warm & fuzzy, but never attacked my senses, it just kind of nibbled my neck.
It's also rather salty after several pieces, but still tolerable.
And it offers a good meat consistency, easy to tear apart, somewhat easy to chew, and chews like real meat.
For a good beer pairing with this, I keep wanting a brown ale.
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