"Just Right" Beef Jerky, and their Jalapeno Beef Jerky
Willow Creek Meats is a federally inspected livestock processing plant located a few miles outside of McCook, NE. They also operate a retail meat counter and of course, make beef jerky and beef sticks.
The company launched in February 2008 when owners Scott Carlin and Cal Siegfried bought the business, which had then been known as Butler's Beef Acres, from Scott's parents, Harold and Theresa Carlin. Overall, the business has been around since 1964.
Beef, water, salt, corn syrup solids, spices, dehydrated garlic, silicon dioxide, sodium lactate, sodium nitrite, FD&C Red #3, encapsulated citric acid.
There's a noticeable smoky flavor when you bite into these sticks, followed by a light saltiness, and a tanginess. A lightly seasoned natural meat flavor, along with a just a tad bit of spice comes through in the chewing.
I can also pick up a touch of sweet.
These sticks have a far cleaner taste in my mouth than compared to the major brands of sticks, and feel less oily in my mouth.
The level of saltiness in these sticks remains at a moderate level.
Despite two to three times more thick than competing brands of meat sticks, these "Just Right" Beef Sticks maintain a soft, moist chewing texture comparable to something between a Vienna sausage and a standard beef frank. Very easy to bite off, I could chew down an entire stick faster than competing brands as well.
The chewing texture feels very meaty, I didn't find any bits of hard, crunchy, or bony material.
The casing doesn't quite give off a crisp snap or crunch, but still manages to retain a touch, and is easy to bite through and chew.
My fingers still get a little bit of moist stickiness handling these things, but not so much as to require a licking and wiping.
Willow Creek Meats sells these "Just Right" Beef Sticks from their website at a price of $5.00 for an 8oz package (which should equate to four sticks). Add shipping of about $6.00, and it boils down to about $1.38 per ounce.
For general purpose meat stick snacking, at the $1.38 per ounce price, this offers a good value. I'm getting a good overall flavor, soft, moist chewing, in thick, meaty stick. Compared to competing brands found in grocery stores, this offers a better value overall.
These "Just Right" Beef Sticks from Willow Creek Meats bursts with a smoky, tangy, seasoned meat flavor with just a touch of spice, in a soft, moist, easy chew. Combined with its extra-thick size, each stick delivers an impressive snacking experience, putting competing brands to shame.
But while I felt these are impressive in size and meat consistency, I didn't assign the highest rating because the flavor didn't quite have that "wow factor" that I look for. Don't get me wrong, the flavor of these sticks are pretty good, better than most brands of sticks. I liked the smoky flavor and the tanginess, but I didn't feel those characteristics set it far and above other sticks.
Overall, meat stick snackers would do well to order up several of these and take them along on their next road trip or hike.
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