Sunday, July 20, 2014

Klemke's Sausage Haus - Beef Jerky

klemke's beef jerky
Klemke's Sausage Haus is a local favorite among residents of Slaton, TX. Founded by Rod and Judy Klemke in 1993, much of their business lies in meat processing for hunters and farmers, but their jerky and sausage have grown in demand throughout West Texas.

Rod's grandfather came from Germany. As a child, he grew up in the meat business, learning how to skin and prepare meat. In 1987, he started Slaton Packing Company, and then in 1993 launched Klemke's Sausage Haus. In 2006, he bought a second packing plant in Wolfforth. The couple also run a Barbecue restaurant in Slaton.

Klemke's offers four varieties of beef jerky, their Original, a Teriyaki, a Jalapeno, and a Blazin' Hot (which we don't have for review). They also offer two varieties of turkey jerky which we'll review later, as well as a Pork Jerky.

Original

klemke's beef jerky
Ingredients: Beef, water, salt, flavorings, monosodium glutamate, sugar, sodium nitrite. Sprayed with potassium sorbate.

The first flavor to hit the tongue is a light saltiness. The chewing, however, brings on a good saltiness, a noticeable black pepper, and touches of sweet. There's a light natural meat flavor.

The flavors that seem to define this jerky is largely combination of salt and and a spicy black pepper. After that, the natural meat flavors make a noticeable showing, mostly towards the end of chewing. Then there's faint bits of other seasonings, perhaps garlic, and very faint touches of sweet. Overall, it's an old fashioned jerky flavor, offering up the classic flavor combination of salt and pepper with touches of seasonings.

The meat consistency is very lean, and it chews like real strips of steak. It's quite dry, and quite chewy, however. Otherwise, not stringiness and no unchewable tissues.

Rating: Good

klemke's beef jerky
Jalapeno

Ingredients: Beef, water, salt, jalapeno pepper flakes, flavoring, monosodium glutamate, sugar, maple sugar, sodium nitrite. Sprayed with potassium sorbate.

The first flavor I pick up is a light jalapeno flavor, and touches of salt. The chewing brings on more jalapeno pepper definition, and a little bit more salt. There's perhaps a touch of sweet and I think faint bits of garlic. The natural meat flavors are identifiable towards the end.

What largely defines this jerky is a light but noticeable jalapeno pepper flavor and a moderate level of salt. This is far less salty than the Original, and no black pepper that I can taste. Despite being made with jalapeno peppers, it isn't hot. In fact, it's less spicy than the Original. Overall, I'd consider this mild.

The meat consistency is very lean, and it chews like real strips of steak. It's quite dry, and quite chewy, however. Otherwise, not stringiness and no unchewable tissues.

Rating: Good

Teriyaki

klemke's beef jerky
Ingredients: Beef, water, sugar, worcestershire sauce solids, honey powder, salt, spices, vinegar, black pepper, natural smoke flavor, onion powder, celery, spice extractives, sodium nitrite. Sprayed with potassium sorbate

A light smokiness hits the tongue first, followed by faint touches of sweet and salty. The chewing brings in a bit more saltiness, along with light amounts of seasonings, perhaps most notably a garlic and onion.

Being labeled, "Teriyaki", this has no teriyaki flavor that I can identify. It's actually more of an old fashioned beef jerky taste, largely from a saltiness, with a touch of smoke flavor, and some lighter amounts of seasonings, like garlic & onion. I can faintly taste the worcestershire.

The meat consistency feels a bit more pliable compared to the Original and Jalapeno, but still overall dry and chewy. It's not quite the steak-like chewing of the Original and Jalapeno, and I feel some stringiness.

Rating: Fair

Verdict: Overall, Klemke's Sausage Haus seems to have a better beef jerky with its Original and Jalapeno varieties. I think I gravitate towards the Jalapeno for its chile pepper flavor and light saltiness. They're still rather simple in flavor, and I would have liked to taste some smoke flavor. Otherwise, they offer excellent meat consistency and good chewing textures, creating overall excellent snacking. The Teriyaki, however, didn't taste like teriyaki at all. It was more of an old fashioned, American-style flavor, and a little less steak-like chewing.  Even at that, I didn't find the Teriyaki all that interesting.

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