Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse Turkey Jerky - Cajun Spice

Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse Turkey JerkyNext up in the series on Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse is this Turkey Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Original Turkey Jerky, Red Hots Beef Jerky, and their Jalapeno Beef Jerky.

Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse is a smokehouse, bakery, deli, and country store located in El Campo, Texas.

It originally started out as Hillje Grocery, a small town grocery store. In 1974, it was purchased by Mike and Betty Jo Prasek, and was renamed to its current name. Their first product was sausage, but eventually they expanded to beef jerky, and now jerky is their big seller.


Turkey, cure mix (water, salt, brown sugar, sodium acetate, sodium erythorbate, flavorings, sodium nitrite, monosodium glutamate, natural smoke flavor), cajun turkey rub (spices, salt, sugar, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, maltodextrin, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate, malic acid, citric acid, onion powder).


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light saltiness and smokiness. With some sucking I can pick up a faint seasoning. Overall, a light surface flavor intensity.

The chewing flavor starts with an increased smokiness, followed by some natural meat flavors, an increased saltiness, and a little bit more seasoning.

For being dubbed a "Cajun Spice" variety of turkey jerky, it's hard for me to tell if this has a distinct cajun flavor. Since the cajun flavoring is not easily defined, as far as I'm concerned, it's largely in the eye of the beholder if this tastes like cajun or not.

But what I think all cajun seasonings have in common is some heat. And I don't get any heat in this at all. But on the other hand, I do get a fair amount of spiciness, mostly as a combination of garlic and onion, and some saltiness.

Overall however, it's the smokey turkey meat flavor that seems to provide the primary flavor of this jerky. The smokiness really comes out in the chewing. Meanwhile the turkey meat flavor seems to be comparable to the flavor you find in some slices of turkey cold cuts, with a similar saltiness.

The saltiness seems to be about moderate.

The cajun seasoning is largely something that colors the smokey turkey meat flavor.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, cut into thick cut strips of about 2 to 8 inches in length.

This is a moist jerky, with a moist feel. It has a little bit of flexibility, but will break apart if bent enough. Biting off chunks is easy to do, and chewing seems easy as well.

The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and moist. There's maybe a slight bit of chewing resistance, but not much. It breaks down quite quickly, and chews down to a soft mass quickly. At that point it chews like real meat, more like chunks of turkey leg meat, just slightly more dry than roasted turkey.

These strips appear to be free of any visible fat, and I don't see any tendon or gristle. I don't encounter any unchewable tissues in the chewing either. It appears to be pure meat.

As for clean eating, the moisture on the surface leaves my fingertips moist, which also causes small bits of seasoning to stick there as well. Each handling requires some amount of finger licking and wiping.

turkey jerky

turkey jerky
Snack Value

Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse sells this Cajun Turkey Jerky from their website at a price of $24.95 for a 1 pound package. Add to that shipping costs of $6.75, and it comes to a total of $31.70. That works out to a price of $1.98 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.98 per ounce price, this seems to provide a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its good overall flavor, good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. The $1.98 price per ounce is a little bit higher than what you'd pay for the mass-market jerky brands at the grocery store, this stuff is far better in quality.

As a Cajun Spice Turkey Jerky, at the same $1.98 price per ounce, this seems to provide a decent value. The "cajun spice" part seems iffy, in that I do get a fair amount of seasoning spice, mostly as garlic and onion, but I don't get any level of heat, and I expect some heat with something labeled "cajun". But it's great turkey jerky, providing a lot of turkey flavor, and good turkey meat chewing.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Cajun Spice Turkey Jerky from Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse offers a good tasting smokey turkey meat flavor, with some garlic, onion, and salt seasoning. I found a lot of snackability just in the smokiness and the natural meat flavors.

But I'm not convinced this totally lives up to its billing as "Cajun Spice". It does have a spiciness, but not any heat. I tend to expect anything labeled "cajun" to have some heat to it, stemming from some kind of chile pepper, or pepper sauce. Another reason for not giving this the higher "best" rating is because I still didn't find any "wow" factor to this. Perhaps more flavor from the cajun seasoning, and more heat could have done it. But it's definitely "good".

Otherwise, this has a great meat consistency, being easy to eat, moist and soft. And it has an excellent chewing texture, feeling just like real meat, more comparable to turkey leg meat.

My recommended beer pairing for this, try a wheat beer, like a hefeweizen, or even a fruit-infused variety, like a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.

Rating: Good

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