Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Luther's Smokehouse - Old Fashioned Beef Jerky

luther's smokehouseLuther's Smokehouse is a smokehouse located in LeRoy, KS, owned and operated by Martin Luther. Luther started out running a slaughterhouse, but in 1974 he added beef jerky to his list of products.

It was the construction of a nuclear power plant in Burlington, KS that made his jerky famous. Construction workers bought up tons of the stuff and word of his jerky spread around. Today, Luther focuses primarily on jerky and ships the stuff nationwide. His jerky store has since expanded to a convenience store and restaurant, becoming one of the popular attractions in LeRoy.

Luther makes all of his jerky at his own USDA inspected facility.

A letter included in his package to me said that he's now ready to retire and is looking for someone to buy his business.

Ingredients

Beef, salt, black pepper, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, followed by a light saltiness, and a meaty flavor too.

The chewing flavor starts with a slightly increased smokiness, a more defined natural meat flavor, and a touch more saltiness.

Considering how simple the set of ingredients are, this jerky is still rather flavorful. It seems to be a one-two punch of smokiness and natural meat flavors that define the overall flavor, with the saltiness providing a light seasoning.

The natural meat flavors also includes a little bit of a fatty flavor where some small streaks of fat are visible.

The black pepper is not really noticeable individually, but seems to add just a bit of color to the overall flavor.

Overall, what you're going to taste is a smoky, natural meat flavor, with a light saltiness.

Meat Consistency

These are strips of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in lengths of ranging from three to seven inches.

This is a dry jerky with a dry, though slightly oily surface feel. It retains a little bit of flexibility if bent, but will soon crack open. Biting off chunks can require some gnawing, while chewing is labored.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff with a fair amount of chewing resistance. The first several chews are tough and then it starts breaking down, yet still requires some work to get down to a soft mass. And once chewed down to a soft mass, it tends to feel steak-like, like one cooked well-done, though a little dry, and a tad crumbly.

These strips appear to be mostly all meat, with some small streaks of fat on about half of them. I didn't see any gristle or tendon. However, the chewing revealed some unchewable wads of tissue and some stringiness.

As for clean eating, it's largely clean. I find no residue on my fingertips, though some very tiny bits of meat falling on my lap as I bite off chunks.

old fashioned beef jerky

old fashioned jerky
Snack Value

Luther's Smokehouse sells this Old Fashioned Beef Jerky at a price of $10.00 for an 8oz package. If you bought two packages, the shipping comes to $8.95, for a total of $28.95. That works out to $1.81 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.81 per ounce price, this jerky presents a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability from its overall good flavor, though rather chewy meat consistency. Still, that price is at or below what you'd pay at the grocery store for major brands of jerky, yet it clearly offers a better flavor.

Rating

luther's smokehouse beef jerky nutritionI'm giving this a good rating.

This Old Fashioned Beef Jerky from Luther's Smokehouse might have a short list of ingredients, but it's anything but plain. It's actually packed with flavor, mostly coming from a nicely smoked natural meat flavor, with a bit of a fatty flavor where some small streaks of fat are present, along with a light to moderate saltiness.

The company promotes this Old Fashioned Beef Jerky as comparable to the jerky made by pioneers and settlers who traveled across the west during the old days. And based on eating this, it could very well be. It puts all the focus on the simple goodness of smoked meat which reminds me why I originally made beef jerky my snack food of choice.

If anything, this jerky tends to be very chewy, requiring some laborious chewing to get down to a soft mass. For that matter, it's probably ideal for diet and fitness buffs, containing no added sugar, listing zero fat, and only 52 calories per 1oz serving. I imagine the chewing will burn off about half those calories.

But despite it's simple flavor, and chewy consistency, it's hard for me to deny that smoky natural meat flavor, making this jerky difficult to resist.

My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a double IPA. I think the stronger hops will really bring out the smoky meat flavor. Try the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, or the Pliny the Elder.

Rating: Good

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