Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Western's Smokehouse - Big'un Snack Sticks

westerns big'un snack sticks
Western's Smokehouse has been in business since 1978, when it was founded by Sam Western, a man who built a career as a butcher. Originally starting as a local meat market, Western's Smokehouse struck it rich when it introduced it's first meat stick, "Western's Hot Dogs".

Renaming them to "Snack Sticks", the company expanded to meet demand by building a larger facility. Production of snack sticks remains as the company's primary focus today.

These "Big'un" Snack Sticks are essentially the same as the company's normal sized snack sticks we reviewed last week, even the same ingredients, but are double the length, and double the weight, for those who need something more visually impressive. Note however, this Big'un line includes a Jalapeno flavor, not available in the normal line of sticks.

Original

Ingredients: Beef and pork, water, salt, corn syrup solids, encapsulated citric acid, spices, mustard, dehydrated garlic, natural smoke flavor, sodium nitrite, beef collagen casing

The flavors that come on immediately is a light salt and tanginess, with a noticeable meat flavor. The chewing brings on the spices, mostly a garlic with some touches of black pepper, and an increased salt. I can even detect a bit of cayenne, and it seems to generate a light bit of heat, rating no more than "mild medium" on our heat scale (level 2 out of 5). There's a tangy vinegar-like profile along with hints of smoke. As the company's Original offering, it has a great balance of spices, meaty flavors, and tangy chewing. The chewing itself has a firm consistency, meaty, with a faint snap in each bite. I found nothing unchewable, and no hard bits of tissue. It's all meat.

Bar-Be-Cue

Ingredients: Beef and pork, sugar, water, salt, encapsulated citric acid, spices, dextrose, onion and garlic powder, natural smoke flavoring, molasses powder, natural spice extractives, sodium nitrite, collagen casing

The initial flavor is a faint salt and sweet. The chewing brings on a touch more sweet, along with a light tanginess. It's not really a barbecue flavor, at least nothing like a Kansas City, or a Memphis, or even a Georgia style. If anything there's a faint tomatoey flavor, and the usual light smokiness, but that's it. It's comparable to the company's Original, but much less spicy and a little less salty. The stick itself is more soft, similar to the Original, but still has the same meaty chewing with a light snap.

Jalapeno

Ingredients: Beef and pork, water, jalapeno peppers, salt, corn syrup solids, encapsulated citric acid, spices, mustard, dehydrated garlic, natural smoke flavoring, sodium nitrite, beef collagen casing

The initial flavor is a light salt, with a touch of vinegar and pickled jalapeno pepper. There's also a noticeable smoke in the background. The chewing brings on more of the pickled jalapeno pepper flavor, while a light natural meat comes in. There's a noticeable level of spiciness, registering as "mild medium" (level 2 out of 5) on our heat scale. This is a more soft stick than the other flavors, with only a light snap in each bite. But otherwise, tastes meaty and chews meaty.

Verdict

Like with the company's normal sized Snack Sticks, this Big'un variety from Western's Smokehouse is largely the same flavor, though they tend to be a bit more tender and easier to chew, perhaps due to the larger size. They all have a meaty chewing, with no stringy, hard, or unchewable tissues. They're all meat inside, and all offer a light to moderate snap in each bite off the stick. I like the clean handling of each variety, and they even leave behind a clean feel inside the mouth. The Original flavor is clearly the best of the bunch, offering a great balance between salt, spices, sweet, and smokey. If these larger, double-the-length sized sticks have any advantage over the normal sized sticks it's just price. These 2.0 ounce sticks actually cheaper per ounce over their 1.0 ounce cousins.

Rating: Good (4/5)


big'un snack sticks

westerns snack sticks


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