Desert Star is a brand of Prime Snax, Inc., based out of Salt Lake City, UT.
Prime Snax makes two lines of jerky under the Desert Star brand, this Texas Style Brisket, which is a brisket cut into thin strips, and a plain Beef Jerky much like what you get with the major brands. The Texas Style Brisket I'm reviewing here is the company's newest line, having been produced for about a year now, but is just starting to hit stores nationwide.
Prime Snax also owns other brands including Arizona Jacks, Chipper, and Nature's Snack. They also make jerky for other companies including Perky Jerky.
Beef brisket, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper, worcestershire sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sweet flavor, followed by a light tanginess. Slowly, some black pepper comes into view. With some sucking, I notice a saltiness, and light soy sauce flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a light natural meat flavor, with some fatty flavor mixed in. There's also an increased sweetness, and a bit more tanginess.
I'd say the flavor that dominates this jerky is the sweetness, easily noticed at the moment I put a piece into my mouth. There's a peppery flavor that's quickly noticeable as well, but I wouldn't describe it as strong.
The natural meat flavors tend to show through fairly well in some pieces, and in others are hardly noticeable. Generally, it seems to be the drier pieces that have the noticeable meat flavor, while the moist pieces are more intense with sugar and pepper. And being this is beef brisket, there's a fair amount of fat on these pieces and that fat definitely adds its flavor.
I also want to say that there's a light bit of smokiness to this, though the package nor the ingredients say anything about smoke flavor, or having been smoked.
I also reported a tanginess to this, which perhaps comes from the lemon juice. It's not going to make your mouth pucker, but it seems to add a nice bit of interest to the overall flavor that makes me want to keep eating more.
The soy sauce and worcestershire are not well noticed. Between the two, I'd say the soy sauce is the stronger flavor, providing mostly a saltiness, but a faint bit of soy flavor too.
The level of saltiness in this tastes moderate, even though the nutrition facts shows a high volume of sodium.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a well-noticeable sweet, with a fair amount of black pepper, a light tanginess, and sporadic bursts of natural meat flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small strips. There are a lot of crumbled bits in the bottom of the bag, and I want to say about 1/4 of this package's contents are these bits.
This a semi-moist jerky overall, though some pieces are dry. Most of this jerky has a semi-moist surface feel, while some others feel dry. The drier pieces still have a lot of flexibility, bending all the way around without cracking. Tearing pieces apart is easy to do, and chewing is easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and very pliable. It doesn't take much chewing before it's rendered into a soft mass. And by that point, it doesn't feel much like real meat at all, it's kinda gummy. The drier pieces have the same soft, pliable start, and chew down just as easily, and still have a little of the gumminess, but has some meaty texture to it. Nothing in this however, chews like a steak.
There's a fair amount of fat on these pieces, being that its beef brisket. They add a flavor to this jerky, but not a spoiled flavor. I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon. I did, however, encounter a good deal of stringiness, which seems to be consistent with all beef brisket jerky I've had. I also felt some unchewable wads of tissue left over in the chewing.
In terms of clean eating, it seems to be mostly clean. I get just a faint bit of residue on my fingers, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard.
Prime Snax sells Desert Star Texas Style Brisket beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.99 for a 3oz package. If you bought four packages, and had them mailed to Southern California, they'll tack on shipping of $5.00, for a total of $28.96. That works out to a price of $2.41 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.41 price per ounce, it seems to provide a fair value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability for its good overall flavor, but mediocre meat consistency. That $2.41 price per ounce is considerably higher than the major brands found at grocery stores, but offers the same snackability when you weigh the flavor against the meat consistency.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original variety of Desert Star Texas Style Brisket Beef Jerky offers a tasty flavor, marked by a significant sweetness, a good amount of pepper, a light tanginess, and some bursts of natural meat flavors here and there. The flavor alone keeps me reaching for more.
But this beef brisket meat consistency seems to be lacking. It has a gumminess to it, at least that's what I keep thinking every time I chew a piece. I know brisket shouldn't chew like steak, it should be soft and moist. But it should at least feel like meat. And this jerky just doesn't have much meaty texture or consistency. I think the gumminess comes from the thick layer of sweetness.
I can't helping comparing this to Perky Jerky. Both this Desert Star and Perky Jerky are made by Prime Snax, and the ingredients list for the two appear to be identical, with Perky Jerky having the additional guarana. But I recall Perky Jerky being more intense with flavor, a similar sweetness, but more pepper, more worcestershire, more soy sauce, more tanginess, more garlic, more everything. This Desert Star is like Perky Jerky at half the flavor intensity.
My recommended beer pairing for this, I'd go with a simple brown ale, light in body to cut through the sweetness, and a moderately smoked malt flavor to compliment the light meat flavor. Try a Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing, or a Newcastle Brown Ale.
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