Samak Smoke House is a smoke house and country store located in Kamas, UT. It's a mom & pop business run by an actual mom and pop, Jen Hisey and David Witham. The name "Samak" interestingly, is Kamas spelled backwards.
The couple makes jerky in their own USDA inspected facility, smoking them over cherry wood chips. They also smoke salmon, trout, buffalo, and deer. They make cookies, energy bars, and biscotti. And when they're not staffing the country store, they're selling their stuff at Farmer's Markets in Salt Lake City and Park City.
Samak Smoke House offers two lines of jerky, this All Natural line, which comes in the black package, and an Original line which comes in a tan package. I also have their Chipotle beef jerky and turkey jerky to review later.
Natural beef, water, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, salt, worchestershire sauce, garlic salt, pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a faint smokiness, and a touch of black pepper.
The chewing flavor starts with a strong natural meat flavor, with a light tanginess mixed in. There's a light spice, mostly the black pepper, in the background.
Overall, the flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is the natural meat flavor. It has the same flavor that I tend to find in a grilled steak, cooked well done, but with minimal seasoning.
As for being smoked over real cherry wood, I can pick up a faint smokiness to it, but if you're not paying close attention to what you're tasting, you won't know it's there.
The natural meat flavor has a tanginess inside, which probably comes from the teriyaki and worcestershire combination. It's easily noticed, but it's still a light flavor.
As for that teriyaki and worcestershire listed on the ingredients, they're difficult to notice on their own, but in some of these pieces I actually could identify a weak worcestershire sauce. Otherwise, they only seem to color the natural meat flavor, giving it that tanginess I reported.
These pieces are covered with bits of black pepper, but they don't really make a big showing on my taste buds. It just creates a light touch of seasoning.
The level of saltiness in this seems light. I can also detect a faint sweet.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky the most is the natural meat flavors, comparable to a grilled steak. You'll find a light bit of tanginess inside that meat, and a light touch of black pepper seasoning.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick into strips, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, but having a semi-moist feel on the surface due to a light bit of oiliness. The pieces have a fair amount of flexibility, but not rubbery by any means. Biting off a chunk seems easy to do, and chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft, and just a little bit chewy. But it quickly chews down to soft mass. And at that point, it feels like a real piece of steak, comparable to one cooked medium-well.
Most of these pieces appear to be very lean, but I found one with a significant streak of fat. While I don't see any gristle or tendon, these pieces leave my mouth with a fair amount of unchewable tissues, and I can feel a fair amount of stringiness.
As for clean eating, these pieces leave a fine film of oil residue on my fingers, but not to the point where I have to lick them off before typing. Some of the black pepper tends fall on my lap as I bite chunks off.
Samak Smoke House sells this All Natural variety of beef jerky from its website at a price of $7.00 per 2.5oz package. I bought six packages in all, a mixture of several varieties. When you add the $11.55 shipping fee, the total comes to $53.55. That works out to a price of $3.57 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.57 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I actually do get a lot of snackability in this for its good natural meat flavor, and its good meat consistency and texture. But that price is expensive, even compared to other gourmet and specialty brands of jerky, and I want to say that I've tasted comparable to better in other such brands at lower prices.
As for being "All Natural", a lot of small gourmet and specialty brands of jerky make the same claim, usually because it's made by hand by one or two folks, just like Samak Smoke House. But still, other brands offer all natural jerky at lower prices.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This All Natural variety of beef jerky from Samak Smoke House offers a great tasting natural meat flavor, with a light bit of tanginess in the meat, and a light bit of black pepper seasoning.
It seems to have a good meat consistency, having a bit of chewiness like you'd expect to find in jerky, but still feeling and chewing like a real piece of steak. I encountered some unchewable wads of tissue and some stringiness, but I was more happy with the overall meat consistency.
I don't really find much of the real cherry wood smokiness that Samak claims to use. For me personally, I really like smoky meat flavor in jerky. The only thing that kept me from assigning the full five-star rating is that I still didn't get that eye-opening "wow factor" when eating this. Compared to other gourmet brands of jerky I've had, this is pretty good, but still not at that top tier.
But that's just my opinion. If you like jerky that tastes like a grilled steak, with just a touch of seasoning and marinade, and chews like real piece of meat, here's one to try.
As for my recommended beer pairing, I'd like an imperial stout with this.
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