Next up in the series on Desert Star Texas Style Brisket is this Sweet & Hot variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.
Desert Star is a brand of Prime Snax, Inc., based out of Salt Lake City, UT. They make two lines of jerky under this 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, Tapatia, jalapeno peppers, lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper, worcestershire sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a heavy sweetness, followed by some saltiness. There's a tanginess that comes through, and a peppery flavor, as well as a garlic flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with something saucy; I'm trying to decide if its the soy sauce, worcestershire, or Tapatia. Could be a mixture of all three. The saltiness is increased, and the garlic is increased also.
For being dubbed a "Sweet & Hot" variety, it's definitely sweet but not that hot. The sweetness is well pronounced and heavy. But the hot isn't there. In fact, I can't find any heat on a single piece basis. But after eating several pieces, I do feel a light burn building. On my personal hot scale, I'd rank this as a "mild-medium". But it is however spicy, in that there's a lot of spices that I can taste. Had Prime Snax named this "Sweet & Spicy", I'd say it would hold up well to that description.
This jerky is just brimming with flavor, and seems to have a high flavor complexity in that I can taste a lot of things going on. The sweetness is well evident, but there's a tangy flavor, a salty flavor, a peppery flavor, an easily noticeable garlic flavor, and that "saucy" flavor I described above. There's also a slight bit of natural meat flavor I can pick up too.
After haven eaten several pieces, that "saucy" flavor seems to emerge more as a blend of worcestershire and the Tapatia. I can actually taste both individually, but only if I analyze carefully what I'm tasting. If just snacking away mindlessly, it registers on my palate as a saucy flavor.
The flavors that seem to rise up above everything else and represent this jerky the most, is the heavy sweetness and a high degree of saltiness. All the other flavors I described above add color to those primary flavors.
The natural meat flavors show up in some pieces, and are missing in others. Where they show up, they have a slightly stale flavor, as if they aged too long. It's not rancid, just not a fresh flavor.
Overall, it's a very flavor-packed jerky, with a lot of flavor complexity and intensity, anchored by a strong sweet and salty, and colored by a palate of spices and flavorings.
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, there's a little bit of meat-like resemblance, but mostly it's mushy or gummy, depending on moistness/dryness of each piece.
There's a fair amount of fat on these pieces, being that its beef brisket. They add a flavor to this jerky. I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon. I found a fair amount of stringiness, but not as much as I did in the Original variety. 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 decent value. I'm getting a good deal 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 a good rating.
This Sweet & Hot variety from Desert Star Texas Style Brisket offers a lot of flavor, both in terms of complexity and intensity. It's mostly a heavy sweet & salty flavor, but colored by a tanginess, garlic, black pepper, worcestershire, and Tapatia. It's not really hot at all, largely just a step above mild. It's more spicy than it is hot.
Had I evaluated this jerky just on flavor complexity and flavor intensity, I'd give it a five-star rating. But I found the saltiness to get too high for my liking, and I didn't think the chewing texture was all that good. It's more mushy or gummy than it is like real meat. But I think it's definitely better than the average assortment of jerky.
If you like salty jerky, then give it try.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with something light in body to cut through the heavier sweet, and something refreshing to quench the high saltiness. Try an amber ale or blonde ale.
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