Stewart's Meat Market is a fixture at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, offering up batches of smoked beef jerky, buffalo jerky, and sausage.
The company began in 1929 by Emmett Stewart and was carried forward by his daughter Dorothy, whose recipes are still used by the company today. Stewart's Meat Market is now run by Dorothy's son and daughter-in-law.
Stewart's doesn't sell any of their products online. You have to visit one of their outlets, either the main store in Yelm, WA, the Pike Place Market in Seattle, or the Farmer's Market in Olympia, WA.
This particular "Famous Beef Jerky" is the company's original variety. They also do Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Maple, Alder Garlic, and Teriyaki.
Beef top round, seasoning salt, sugar, soy sauce, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a distinct smoky flavor, with a moderate amount of sweet. There's an oily flavor and a moderate saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with a well-noticed natural meat flavor, having a little extra smokiness. The saltiness picks up a notch, and I want to say there's a light vinegar flavor.
The flavor that seems to define this jerky overall is a smoky, natural meat flavor, with a well-noticed saltiness. It's not a strong saltiness, but perhaps because there aren't any other overpowering flavors, the saltiness seems to show through. On top of that, there's a light sweetness, mostly noticeable just as you put a piece into your mouth.
Towards the latter part of chewing, I seem to pick up a light touch of vinegar. Albeit the ingredients list doesn't show that, perhaps something in the seasonings, combined with the soy sauce, gives it that effect.
The natural meat flavors are easily noticeable in the chewing, offering their rich smokiness, along with a touch of an oily flavor.
Overall, you're going to notice a rich smoky, natural meat flavor, with a moderate saltiness, a touch of sweet towards the beginning, and a touch of vinegar towards the end. It's not hot by any means and perfect for those who don't like spicy foods.
These slices of whole meat, sliced into medium sized slabs, and sliced medium to thick.
This is a dry jerky with a moist surface feel. The slabs have a moderate amount of flexibility, and will crack open with some degree of bending. Biting off chunks seems fairly easy to do, and chewing is moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out with a light bit of initial chewing resistance, but doesn't put up much fight and quickly breaks apart. Only a moderate amount of chewing is needed before it chews down to a soft mass. At that point, it feels like chewing a real steak, one cooked well-done.
It can see a fair amount of fat streaks on these slabs, though I don't see any gristle. I do encounter a good deal of stringiness and I do find some rubbery, unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, my fingers pick up a lot of sticky, oily residue, enough to require a licking and wiping before touching my keyboard.
Stewart's Meat Market sells this jerky at the Pike Place Market in Seattle in what appears to be an 8oz package for $10.00, and no sales tax. That works out to a price of $1.25 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.25 per ounce price, this is an excellent value. I'm getting a great flavor combined with an overall good meat consistency and chewing texture. This is priced much lower than the major brands of jerky sold at grocery stores, and yet offers so much more snackability.
I'm giving this a best rating.
It's a fairly simple jerky when you consider the ingredients, but packs a wonderful rich, smokiness with a well-preserved natural meat flavor. Add in some touches of sweet along with a light vinegar flavor towards the end, and it adds enough interest to make this jerky tantalizing.
But it's that smokiness that really pops, just as if you roasting a chunk of beef over a campfire. I love the initial burst of sweet that quickly steps aside and lets that smoky, natural meat flavor come in.
And the chewing texture is excellent for jerky, still easy to bite off and chew. The meat consistency is mostly good, though a good deal of stringiness and some unchewable tissues. But overall, the flavor will really win you over.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a simple brown ale, such as the Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing, or the Newcastle Brown Ale.
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