Next in the series on Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky is this Texas Heat variety. See my earlier reviews of their Black Pepper and Original varieties.
Sograte is based out of Lubbock, TX. The company was founded by Cary Franklin. The business originally started out with Cary and his brother-in-law entering a BBQ competition in 2005, where they took four of the top ten positions in five different categories on their first try. Today, they run a BBQ catering service. The beef jerky is their primary retail product.
The beef jerky is not marinated but just salt cured, then smoked over a live hickory fire, and then seasoned.
Beef, red pepper sauce (cayenne peppers, vinegar, water, salt), salt, sugar, paprika, spices, garlic, MSG, sprayed with potassium sorbate for mold prevention.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light chile pepper flavor, and a light amount of heat. There's also a significant smokiness. With some sucking I get some saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased smokiness, followed by some natural meat flavors. The saltiness is increased.
For being dubbed "Texas Heat", this jerky does have some heat, but not a lot. If you're not used to eating hot foods, perhaps you'll think it's hot. But I'm assuming anyone who buys something labeled "Texas Heat" likes to eat spicy hot food. You'll get some heat in this, but what I'd rate as medium on my hot scale.
Otherwise I'd say the flavor that seems to dominate the others is the smokey natural meat flavor. Like what I found in the Original variety, the smokiness seems to be more significant than the natural meat flavor itself, but the two go together so well that it's hard to separate them.
The red pepper sauce listed in the ingredients seems to have the second-most strongest flavor, and is mostly identified on the surface flavors before chewing. Once I get into the chewing, the red pepper sauce is largely coloring the smokey meat flavor.
I can taste a bit of the vinegar in the red pepper sauce which I think creates a nice little tanginess.
The level of saltiness seems to be at a moderate level on a single piece, but after eating several pieces, it gets stronger and starts to compete with the other flavors as the dominant flavor.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is that red pepper sauce initially, and then into the chewing the smoky natural meat flavor will take over. You'll also notice a medium to strong saltiness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a thick thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. The pieces easily crack open with a bit of bending, but still require some effort to tear apart with my fingers. It's quite chewy as well, and will give my jaws a decent work out. However, I found a few pieces that seemed to be easier to chew.
The chewing texture starts out feeling hard and woody. After 10 seconds of sucking the surface flavors, I'll start chewing lightly until it breaks apart. Then with several seconds of labored chewing it'll get down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds. At that point, it feels just like a piece of steak, cooked well-done.
I encountered some small bits of fat on some pieces, which contributed some additional flavor. I also encountered a hardened chunk of tendon on one piece that I had to pull out of my mouth. Some bites also resulted in some unchewable wads of tissue left behind in the chewing.
As for clean eating, there's a light amount of red powdery residue on my fingertips, and just a little bit of seasoning falling on to my lap.
Sograte sells this Texas Heat beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.00 for a 3oz bag. You can get 6 bags for $28.00. Shipping fees work out to $4.95 flat rate, or free shipping if you spend over $50.00. So if you bought the 6 bags, it would end up at $32.95 total. That works out to a per ounce price of $1.83.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.83 price per ounce, this seems to provide a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its good overall flavor, and decent meat consistency and chewing texture. That $1.83 price per ounce is about the same as what you'd spend on a mass-market jerky brand at the grocery store, but yet this stuff has better flavor and meat consistency.
As a "Texas Heat" variety, at the $1.83 price per ounce, this seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting some heat from this, but not a lot. I think the flavor of the red pepper sauce is stronger than the heat itself. Regardless, I think it still lives up to the "Heat" claim. But if you subscribe to the idea that everything is bigger in "Texas", then perhaps this jerky doesn't totally deliver. Yet, the price is still at a low enough level that I think you'll get a decent value from it.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Texas Heat variety from Sograte Beef Jerky has a nice smoky natural meat flavor that's boosted by a tangy, slightly hot, red pepper sauce. The red pepper sauce seems to dominate early on the surface flavors, but in the chewing it was that smoky natural meat flavor that took over. Overall, I found a lot of snackability in this jerky.
It also has a good meat consistency for a dry jerky, and chews just like a real piece of steak, more close to well-done. Some pieces tended to be quite chewy, but others are not bad at all. There's enough surface flavor in this jerky to let you suck on a piece for several seconds before chewing, to help soften it up.
I found the saltiness to be at a moderate level on an individual piece basis, but it became quite high after eating several pieces, and by that time, I started to wonder if the saltiness was actually the dominant flavor. But when I weigh the good with the bad, this is still a very enjoyable jerky for folks who like that red pepper flavor.
I think a good beer pairing for this is something lighter on flavor, perhaps a cream ale, or pale ale.
Buy this online: