Monday, September 14, 2009 Labels: Pops-Authentic~ Pop's Authentic Snack Sticks is a brand of Jennings Premium Meats of New Franklin, MO. It's a relatively new business, based on an old family recipe passed down by "Pop Jennings", the patriarch of the family. Pop used to run a butcher shop back in the 1950s.
Their marketing firm sent these to me for review.
Pop's Authentic actually refers to these as "Handmade Artisan Meat Snacks", perhaps taking meat sticks into the realm of gourmet. I'm prepared to nibble these sticks with my pinky finger extended.
I'm evaluating three of their varieties, the Original, the Peppered, and the Habanero.
These are all a mixture of beef and pork.
The Original has a mild flavor, mostly noted by a light tanginess. I note the ingredients list shows "encapsulated citric acid", maybe that's where it comes from. There's also a mild to moderate saltiness, along with a meaty flavor, and faint garlic touch.
The Peppered variety does indeed have a black pepper flavor, but not overpowering. It shows up a lot better after having eaten the Original variety. I'm getting a decent black pepper aftertaste as well. It also has the same tanginess, saltiness, as the Original, and the meaty and garlic flavor.
The Habanero variety has a notciecable light chile pepper flavor, as well as a light chile pepper burn. I wouldn't let the word "Habanero" scare anyone however. I don't really see this as "hot". On my hot scale, I'd rank this as "mild-medium", but then again, I'm used to eating hot foods. This too has the same tanginess, saltiness, meat flavor, and garlic as the Original.
The texture of these sticks are all moderately soft, easy to bite off chunks, and easy to chew. The Peppered variety seemed to be more dry than the Original and Habanero. The skin of these sticks provide some crunch, while the sticks themselves have a little bit of snap to it as I bite off a chunk.
They're also pretty clean eating, in that my fingers don't feel greasy, wet, or sticky. There's actually still a slight bit of residue on my fingers, yet still dry enough to type away on my keyboard without having lick them or wipe them.
As for being dubbed "Handmade Artisan Meat Snacks" I do see indeed see these as better quality than the Slim Jims and the other national brands found in convenience stores. They're softer, meatier, and have more flavor.
Overall, my favorite between the Original, Peppered, and Habanero, goes to the Habanero. The flavor is actually quite good, though I'm partial chile peppers. However, the consistency and texture of the Habanero I felt was superior to that of the Original and Peppered varieties. The skin was easy to pierce through, but gave off a nice little crunch, and the meat stick itself had a snap to it everytime I bit off a piece. Yet overall, it provided a soft, moist chew.
But compared to some other gourmet brands of meat sticks like Timberline Smokehouse or House of Jerky, these sticks from Pop's Authentic seem to be pretty competitive. I'd say the Original and the Peppered are right there in the ballpark with the other gourmet brands. However, the Habanero was pretty good I think in both taste the texture, and those other gourmet would be hard pressed to top it.
You can buy Pop's Authentic Snack Sticks from their website...