Friday, June 12, 2009

Choppin' Block Beef Jerky - Mesquite Smoked

Choppin' Block Beef Jerky Choppin' Block is a brand name of Robertson's Hams of Salado, TX. There's actually two different business entities using the "Robertson's Hams" name. There's this entity, which is a store in Salado, TX. And there is a manufacturer of smoked meats based in Baird, TX. The manufacturer has six franchised outlets selling its smoked meats, and Robertson's Hams of Salado, TX is one of them.

The "Choppin' Block" name is specific for that one store in Salado, TX, and is owned by that store. Choppin' Block jerky is not the same as Robertson's Real Beef Jerky. Choppin' Block jerky is not made by Robertson's Hams of Baird, TX, but by a different meat processor. There's a lot of confusion because the use of the "Robertson's" name on the Choppin' Block labels and store front.

Choppin' Block offers a wide variety of foods under its label. In addition to this Mesquite Smoked jerky, they also have a Hot Mesquite Smoked, which I'll review later, and they have a turkey jerky.


Beef, water, worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, sugar, maple sugar, black pepper, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a saltiness, followed by a smoky flavor. There's a very light bit of sweet, and I can pick up traces of black pepper, and traces of garlic. Overall, the surface has a light flavor intensity.

The chewing flavor starts with a natural meat flavor, and offers the same amount of smokiness, saltiness, black pepper, and garlic flavor.

For being advertised as a mesquite smoked jerky, I'd say it holds up to that billing. I do get a noticeable smokiness on the surface and in the chewing. But it's still light overall. As for tasting like mesquite smoke versus hickory, or alderwood, I can't really say as I still haven't developed a knowledge for of smoke woods.

The flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is the natural meat flavor. It seems to vary between light and medium in intensity. The smokiness is mixed into that flavor.

The saltiness overall seems medium in intensity.

The black pepper is noticeable mostly in the background and as an aftertaste, and particularly after having eaten several pieces. I do notice a little flavor on the forefront.

The garlic remains light and only noticeable in the background.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is the initial smoky flavor, with an immediate saltiness, off the surface of these pieces. You'll then notice the natural meat flavors, with a light black pepper and garlic seasoning.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium thickness, and in strips varying between 6 to 12 inches.

This is a dry jerky, very dry. They crack apart with a little bending. They're sliced with the grain, and as a result the wider strips can be difficult to bite off. For the most part, it's not that bad. Chewing seems to vary between moderate and tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling very hard. It takes several bites and chews before it gets to a soft mass. By that time, it feels rather steak-like. But all that tough chewing tends to tire my jaw muscles.

The pieces themselves appear to be very lean, I found no visible streaks of fat, and no tendon or gristle. I didn't really find much in the way of stringy sinews or anything unchewable.

It's very clean eating, finding no meat fragments flying off, and my fingers picking up no residue.

Snack Value

Robertson's Hams of Salado, TX sells their Choppin' Block jerky at a price of $12.95 for an 8oz bag. I bought three bags, each a different variety. Add to that shipping costs of $11.50, and it comes to a total of $50.35. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.10.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.10 price per ounce, it seems to present a fair value. I'm finding an moderate amount of snackability for its good overall flavor, and steak-like chewing texture, albeit a tough chewing texture. If you can get this at the store, and not pay the shipping, it's a good value.

As a Mesquite Smoked variety, at the $2.10 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I'm getting enough of the smoky flavor to notice and enjoy, both on the surface and in the chewing.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This Mesquite Smoked variety from Choppin' Block provides a good overall flavor, with a smoky, light natural meat flavor, and a blend of salt, garlic, and black pepper seasoning. Good enough that I had trouble deciding between an average rating or a good rating.

But the the tough chewing is largely why I chose to keep it at average. After awhile, my jaws grew tired and I find myself pausing after each strip.

It's actually a great jerky to let hang out of your mouth. I found myself wanting to keep about an inch in my mouth and let the rest hang out like a stalk of wheat. But the problem is there's not enough to surface flavor to enjoy that way, and even the chewing flavor varies from light to moderate in intensity.

Between this Choppin' Block jerky and the Robertson's Real Beef Jerky that I reviewed earlier, both seem to be opposites. Choppin' Block has a better flavor, but tough chew, while Robertson's has a weaker flavor, but easier chew.

My recommended beer pairing for this, try a lighter bodied, pale ale.

Rating: Average

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