Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Pony Express Jerky - Meat Sticks

pony express meat sticks
Pony Express Jerky is a brand owned by Pony Express Enterprises based out of New Holland, PA. The brand was started in 2009 by Ted Cundiff, a veteran of the meat snack industry. Cundiff originally launched Wild Bill's Beef Jerky in 1983, a brand that was bought up by Monogram Foods in 2009.

Pony Express is manufactured in its own USDA inspected facility in New Holland, right in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. The company offers a retail location in Blue Ball, PA.

Their line of meat sticks are pork-based and includes several flavors. We have three flavors plus one pickled sausage.

Premium Smokey Snack Stick

Ingredients: Pork, seasoning, water, potassium sorbate, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, modern cure, beef collagen casing

The first flavor I get is a light salt, with a touch of garlic and black pepper coming in later. The meat flavor comes out pretty well into the chewing. There's a nice "snap" to this stick when biting off a piece. Despite the "Smokey" name, there's not much smokiness to the flavor. The overall flavor is mild, mostly a meaty profile with a light salt and faint black pepper. The collage casing easily chews down.

Pepper Jack Cheese Snack Stick

Ingredients: Pork, American Cheese, seasoning, water, potassium sorbate, garlic powder, paprika, modern cure, black pepper, beef collagen casing

The first flavor is a light cheese, with a light meat coming into the chewing. Like the flavor above, it's also very mild in flavor. The Pepper Jack is lightly peppery, and will take a few chews before you start to feel it on the back of your tongue. The stick doesn't quite have the same snap as the Premium Smokey Snack Stick, but still offers a crisp bite. The collage casing easily chews down.

Premium Honey Ham Stick

Ingredients: Pork, uncured bacon ends, light brown sugar, honey granules, Hambase, water, potassium sorbate, black pepper, garlic powder, modern cure, stuffed into a smoked beef collagen casing

The first flavor that comes in is a sweet, honey ham flavor, followed by a mild smokiness. This stick bites off with a nice snap and offers a crisp feel. Considering the bacon ingredient, this actually does have a bacony flavor, more like the Black Forest style. The collagen casing itself has a sweet flavor, aside from the meat itself. Of the three snack sticks reviewed here, this is definitely the best tasting and best chewing.

Pickled Sausage

Ingredients: Pork, seasoning, liquid smoke, water, granulated sugar, crushed red pepper, light brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, potassium sorbate, modern cure, paprika, black pepper, garlic, red #40

The first flavor is a noticeable vinegar with the cayenne coming on strong. There's touches of sweet here and there. This pickled sausage has a light meat flavor, but mostly is dominated by the vinegar and cayenne. The chewing is soft, but still has a crisp bite like its cousins above. The chewing reveals red pepper seeds that feel like bits of bone or other hardened tissues. The heat registers on our scale as "Mild Medium" (level 2 out of 5). Compared to other brands of pickled sausage, this is more mild flavored, not quite as hot or vinegary, but still keeps with tradition.

Verdict


Meat sticks and sausages offered by Pony Express all have a fresh character due to the crisp "snap" they impart in biting off pieces. They all offer a light to moderate meat flavor, which is great considering meat sticks tend to lose that flavor. I absolutely loved the Premium Honey Ham Stick for its great bacon flavor, sweet smokiness, and its crisp bite. Kids will certainly love them just because they're made with bacon and tastes like bacon.

Rating: Good

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