Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Walt's Beef Jerky

walts beef jerky
Walt's Beef Jerky is the creation of Walter Barber, a brand he launched in 2007, based out of Nutley, NJ. Barber is a professional butcher with over 40 years experience. He had long been making jerky as a hobby using his own marinades and seasoning blends.

Walt specializes in thin sliced jerky, smoked over real wood. He built his own smokers and actually holds a patent on his unique smoking process. Today, he has over 30 flavors of beef jerky and beef sticks.

The company sent me 5 of their flavors, but each package is small, maybe only an ounce in weight. Thus, instead of writing a separate review of each, I opted to bundle them together in one review.

Walt's Original

Ingredients: None provided

The flavor that started it all, this one is described as a "savory mix of soy sauce and spices".

What starts off is a light salt and soy sauce, with a smoke flavor billowing in next. There's a clear savory character that builds into the chewing, remaining mild in spice, bringing with it only light touches of black pepper and notes of garlic. The primary taste profile I get is largely a soy sauce, with a noticeable real wood smoke flavor, and light levels of black pepper and garlic. The soy sauce gives this a fair amount of saltiness.

These thinly sliced pieces start off feeling chewy, perhaps a little rubbery, maybe even requiring a light bit of work to get through. They do feel meaty, with a light steak-like resemblance. Lightly marbled, they don't deliver any unchewable tissues, though slight stringiness.

Mild Teriyaki

Ingredients: None provided

This is described by the company as, "Walt’s secret recipe of gourmet teriyaki and soy sauce, honey, molasses, garlic and spices, slowly smoked to perfection for that subtle, yet zesty sweet favor that hibachi aficionados can truly appreciate."

A fair amount of sweet starts off this flavor, with a subtle teriyaki profile coming into view. The molasses gives off a distinct flavor, not just the sweet alone. The smoke is more light and barely detectable. It's not really the classic Japanese style teriyaki in that I don't pick up the fermented quality that a mirin wine or sake would normally contribute, nor any of the ginger seasoning that I would expect either. On the other hand, it's definitely a unique teriyaki that's perhaps more suited towards the American palate, than the traditional Japanese. The primary taste profile seems to start with the flavor of molasses, with a light teriyaki, and a subtle smoke.

The chewing is much more chewy than compared to Walt's Original above, and more rubbery. This doesn't really chew like meat or steak, but like thin slices of boiled squid. NO stringiness detected, and nothing unchewable.

Asian Barbecue

Ingredients: None provided

The company describe this as, "flavors of soy, garlic, and sweet chili ... with a sweet twist of barbecue ... sublime Asian flavor that finishes with a zing."

What I pick up right away is a thick sweet and a subtle salt, while a faint barbecue sauce comes into view. I can detect soy sauce, but also sesame, or something lightly nutty. There's definitely a Sriracha profile going on here, with its trademark jalapeno and garlic footprint, and for this I think is where Asian name comes in. It also delivers a light bit of heat, rating a "mild medium" on our heat scale (level 2/5). I can also pick up a saucy character, comparable to Chinese-style plum sauce, lightly fruity. Otherwise, the primary taste profile is a thick sweet, with a Sriracha background, but backed up by a nutty sesame and savory soy sauce, with a light fruit and touches of garlic.

The chewing is soft and sticky, but more meaty than the Mild Teriyaki above. It has a little bit of a rubbery character at start, but tends to become more meaty into chewing.

BBQ

Ingredients: None provided

Strangely, the company literature does not have a flavor called "BBQ", they instead have, "Tangy Barbece", "Asian Barbecue", "Peppercorn Barbecue", "Chipotle Barbecue", "Sweet & Spicy Barbecue", "Habanero Barbecue" and "Sweet & Hot Barbecue". This package does not clarify which barbecue this is.

But, the first flavors I get is a thick sweet and a light bit of salt, with a subtle tomato profile. A seasoning blend seems to wander in and delivers a loose black pepper and bits of garlic. My guess is that this is the "Tangy Barbecue", but it's not really that tangy. It tastes more like a Kansas City style barbecue, with its thick sweet and its tomato sauce profile, but more mild on the seasonings, and light on the smoke. And that's really the primary profile, a classic Kansas City style barbecue sauce, but light on the seasoning and smoke.

The chewing is very similar to the "Asian Barbecue" above, soft and sticky, with a meaty texture.

Sweet & Spicy Barbecue

Ingredients: None provided

The first flavors that come through is a moderate sweet and a light red chile pepper. The salt remains faint in this, while a light level of heat starts to build. Black pepper becomes more noticeable as the chewing goes on, but the garlic remains subtle. The heat in this rates as "medium" on our heat scale (level 3/5). This actually doesn't give off much of a barbecue flavor, it's really just a standard sweet and spicy, with the spicy having more influence. There's more of beefy, natural meat flavor in this due to the greater marbleizing. Otherwise, the primary taste profile is the moderate sweet with a red chile pepper flavor, a black pepper spice, subtle garlic, over a marbleized natural meat flavor.

The chewing is much like the "BBQ" and "Asian Barbecue", soft and sticky, with a meat texture.

Verdict

These five flavors from Walt's Beef Jerky (Original, Mild Teriyaki, Asian Barbecue, Tangy Barbecue, and Sweet & Spicy Barbecue), all have a degree of real wood smoked flavor, though the Original tends to deliver more. I like the thin sliced pieces for snacking purposes, and I like the overall ease in chewing, though the Teriyaki and Barbecue varieties tend to feel rubbery and gummy. The teriyaki was interesting because it has more of a molasses flavor than a teriyaki, while the Asian Barbecue mixes in a noticeable Sriracha over a light fruit and sesame background. Still, I think the Original is better flavor for its distinct smokiness, its savory soy sauce, light black pepper seasoning, and more steak-like texture.

Rating: Good (4/5)


walt's beef jerky

walts beef jerky

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