Dusty's Snack Sticks is the house brand of R&K Snacks. Dusty's is made using R&K's own original recipes in a USDA inspected facility. It's offered in four flavors, Original, Habanero, Peppered, and Bacon.
These snack sticks are distributed across the USA, presumably with heavier concentration in the Oklahoma area, and are available in convenience stores and can be purchased online.
OriginalIngredients: Beef, pork, water, salt, contains less than 2% corn syrup solids, dextrose, natural spices, mustard, spice extractives, garlic powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, encapsulated citric acid, sodium nitrite, FD&C Red #3
Mild sausage flavor is what I initially taste with a light tangy, perhaps vinegar-like flavor coming in later. Overall, it has a classic snack-sausage flavor, much like a summer sausage, with just a faint peppery taste in the background.
The chewing is easy, with not much of a snap when biting in. Overall, it feels meaty, and I find no unchewable bits. It also handles fairly cleanly without any stickiness on my fingers.
Verdict: A basic, classic meat stick flavor, with faint black pepper, much like your traditional summer sausage. Chews easy, feels meaty, handles cleanly.
Cracked Black PepperIngredients: Beef, pork, water, salt, contains less than 2% corn syrup solids, dextrose, natural spices, mustard, spice extractives, garlic powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, encapsulated citric acid, sodium nitrite, FD&C Red #3
Starts out much like the Original, but with an increased black pepper flavor that hits right away. It has the same tangy, vinegar-like flavor that comes on later. The black pepper creates a light spiciness in the background. But otherwise, a classic summer sausage flavor with an increased black pepper.
The chewing is much like the Original, easy to chew with a meaty feel, but not much of a snap when biting in.
Verdict: I like the increased black pepper in this stick compared to the Original. Overall, this stick has more flavor because of it, along with clean handling and easy chewing.
HabaneroIngredients: Beef, pork, water, salt, contains less than 2% corn syrup solids, dextrose, natural spices, mustard, spice extractives, garlic powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, encapsulated citric acid, sodium nitrite, FD&C Red #3
Clearly a chile pepper flavor that starts out with the classic summer sausage flavor. The same tangy, vinegar-like flavor comes on later. The chile pepper flavor has something of a habanero-like taste, but it's hard to discern from other chiles such as jalapeno or serrano. The heat in this is light, considering it's labeled, "Habanero". I would rate this as "mild medium" (level 2 out of 5).
The chewing is still easy as with the other snack sticks from Dusty's, and still meaty.
Verdict: Definitely a good overall flavor with the chile pepper taste. It's rather weak on heat considering it's sold as "Habanero", and it's hard to discern the unique flavor of Habanero. This could just as well be sold as "Jalapeno" or "Chile Pepper" and still live up to its billing.
BaconIngredients: Pork, salt, water, contains less than 2% sugar, encapsulated citric acid, spices, natural smoke flavoring, sodium erythorbate, monosodium glutamate, spice extractives, sodium nitrite, FD&C Red #3
Starts out with a ham flavor instead of bacon. A lighter tangy character comes on later. There's a bit of smoke flavoring that mixes in. As the chewing goes on, it really tastes more like ham. Otherwise, it's mild flavored.
This stick actually has a little bit more snap when biting in, which I think gives a stick fresh quality. It's still just as clean-handling as the other flavors, and still overall easy to eat. I find no hard bits or unchewable tissues.
Verdict: It's a very mild flavored stick that tastes like ham instead of bacon. And that's not bad, though it certainly could disappoint bacon-lovers. Compared to the Original, this Bacon Snack Stick probably has a better flavor and chewing between the two.
Dusty's Snack Sticks provides the classic summer sausage flavor that you might expect to get from a gift-package of Hillshire Farms. The Peppered is perhaps my favorite of the four. The Bacon doesn't taste like bacon at all, but more like ham, though is still an enjoyable stick.
Overall, Dusty's is going to get you a better snacking experience than a Slim Jim or a Jack Link's, but it's not going to go above and beyond the other snack sticks in the market. It still has a mild character that target's 80% of the population, rather than trying to please the more picky meat-snacker. It's also worth noting that Dusty's Snack Sticks handle fairly cleanly, not leaving any oily or sticky residue on your fingers.
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