Next in the series on Sograte Beef Jerky is this Smokin' Habanero variety. See my reviews of their other beef jerky flavors, Texas Heat, Black Pepper, and Original.
Sograte is a brand of Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky, 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.
Their beef jerky is not marinated, rather it's just salt cured. It's smoked over a live hickory fire, and then seasoned.
Top round beef, sugar, paprika, spices, habanero pepper, monosodium glutamate, garlic, sprayed with potassium sorbate for mold prevention.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor. A few seconds later some spicy heat makes itself known, and a few seconds after that I can taste a wee bit of chile pepper, and a light saltiness. Overall, a light surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor starts with a more intense smokiness and some natural meat flavors. The saltiness is increased.
For being dubbed a "smokin' habanero" variety of beef jerky, I'm not really tasting a lot of the habanero chile pepper flavor. I taste a little bit of it. I do, however, feel a fair amount of chile pepper heat. On my hot scale, I'd rate it as a medium. It's just enough to enjoy, but not enough to require a drink, or to get the nose runny.
Otherwise, the flavor that dominates this jerky is the smoky natural meat flavor. Perhaps the smokiness itself is stronger than the natural meat flavors. But together, they create a very delicious flavor that seems to run common throughout all of Sograte's beef jerky varieties.
The meat contains some small bits of fat, and the fat contributes a more beefy flavor.
The saltiness also provides a significant flavor. I'd say it's at a medium intensity, but might seem higher due to the burn from the habanero.
There's also a light sweetness that makes a subtle appearance on the palate.
Overall, it's the smoky natural meat flavor you're going to notice in this more than anything else, with a medium habanero burn and saltiness, and a light sweet. The actual flavor of the habanero is light.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, and in strips of about 1/2 inch wide and about 3 inches long.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. They don't have much flexibility, cracking open with a light amount of tension. The pieces seem to require a bit of effort to tear apart with my fingers. The meat is chewy, and could tire out the jaws if you tried to chew through this quickly. You're better off sucking on a piece for a bit.
The chewing texture starts off feeling stiff and dry. There's a fair amount of chewing resistance initially. About 20-35 seconds of sucking and light chewing eventually makes it break down to a soft mass. At that point, it feels just like a piece of steak, cooked well done.
There's some small bits of fat on most pieces, and they seem to provide a bit more of a beefy flavor. I didn't see or feel any gristle or tendon, though I did encounter some bits of unchewable wads of tissue.
It's somewhat clean eating in that I had some seasoning fall off on to my lap, though I found no residue on my fingers.
Sograte sells this Original 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, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability from its good overall flavor, good meat consistency and good chewing texture. The $1.83 price per ounce is actually the same as what you'd pay in the grocery store for a mass-market brand, but yet offers much better flavor.
As a Smokin' Habanero variety, at the $1.83 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm getting a fair amount of habanero heat, but only a light amount of habanero flavor.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Smokin' Habanero variety from Sograte Beef Jerky is actually a really good jerky for it's smoky natural meat flavor. It has a strong smoky flavor that tastes like real smoke, as opposed to the liquid variety. The natural meat flavor comes out quite well, and the small bits of fat adds that extra beefiness. Despite this being billed as a habanero flavored jerky, it's really the smoky natural meat flavor that you'll taste the most.
The habanero chile flavoring makes only a light showing. I actually get more of the habanero heat than the flavor. While I do enjoy the burn of the chiles, I really prefer the flavor, and I'm not getting a lot of that in here. But having said that, I've reviewed several habanero flavored jerky brands, and still haven't found one that produced a strong habanero flavor. I don't know if that's a characteristic of habanero chiles, or if jerky brands are putting more emphasis on the heat than the flavor.
Otherwise, it has a good meat consistency for being a dry jerky, though it can be quite chewy. Once you get it chewed down to a soft mass, it feels just like a piece of steak.
Overall, Sograte Beef Jerky has a great base with their smoky natural meat flavor. I'm just not getting much of the habanero chile flavor.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a lighter flavored pale ale or cream ale.
Buy this online: