Big Vic's Smokies is the creation of Jodie and Brad Main of Freeburg, IL. It's a new business that's just barely off the ground.
Brad was raised on his grandparent's farm, which had been in the family for over 150 years. The smoke house located on that farm has been there ever since, where sausage and smokies have been prepared.
Long a treat for family and friends, they produce about 600 pounds of these slow-cooked meat sticks each year, and have many others begging them to make more.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a well pronounced smokiness, and a slight saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with a bit more saltiness, and slightly increased smokiness. Seasonings start to come in, particularly a noticeable black pepper, and perhaps a touch of garlic. I can pick up a light natural meat flavor, including some fatty flavor mixed in.
But if any one flavor defines these smokies, it's the smokiness. The aroma of smoke wafts out of the package as soon I cut it open, and it increases intensity as I bring it up to my mouth. Then that burst of smoke flavor hits my mouth when I bite off a chunk and stays with me all through the chewing.
There's something of a breakfast sausage flavor to these slender sticks of meat that seem to differentiate them from their major name brand counterparts. It's like tasting the real meat, the real smokiness, the real spices, as opposed to the oily, slimy stuff you find in a Slim Jim.
As for the saltiness, it feels to be at a low to moderate level.
There's a slight bit of heat coming from these smokies, and it seems to be the black pepper.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is something close to a breakfast sausage, but with a dominant smokiness, a light saltiness, a moderate black pepper bite, and a light natural meat flavor.
These are meat sticks of average width, cut into lengths of about four to six inches.
It's mostly a semi-moist chew, perhaps a little more on the dry side than moist, with a slightly oily surface. Biting off chunks is easy to do, while chewing is similar, mostly easy, but can be a little tiring after eating several sticks.
The chewing texture starts out with just a touch of initial chewing resistance, but easily breaks down into a soft mass. The casing on these sticks creates a little bit of a snap and crunch when biting off chunks, but doesn't seem to add anything chewy. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it feels somewhat crumbly, but still having a meaty texture.
Being these are meat sticks, I don't find anything hard, crunchy, papery, or stringy inside. It's mostly meaty.
As for clean eating, there's a very fine oily film on my fingers but not enough to require a licking or wiping before touching my keyboard.
Currently, there is no price established for Big Vic's Smokies.
I'm giving this a good rating.
Big Vic's Smokies has a great smoky flavor that tastes like real wood smoke, and seems to go beyond the standard liquid smoke flavoring that many meat sticks rely on. And they have a homemade flavor that resembles something of breakfast sausage, with a touch of garlic and a noticeable bite of black pepper.
The chewing seems excellent for a meat stick, easy to bite off chunks, not slimy or greasy, but meaty. If you love meat sticks, you'll love the meat consistency and chewing texture of Big Vic's.
But beyond the real wood smoke flavor, and the satisfying homemade character, I'm still missing that one additional "punch" to push this up to a best rating. They still have a plain quality that I can't seem to set aside, even though I still find them irresistible.
My recommended beer pairing for this, try a malty, red ale. Go with Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale, or Lagunitas' Imperial Red.
Where to buy:
- Contact Jodie and Brad Main, (618) 789-0751, firstname.lastname@example.org