Whether your day consists of paddling miles in your kayak or pounding out miles on the trails, a high protein snack is always welcomed for a boost of energy and to satisfy those hunger pangs. We all need snacks. They should be good ones. On the review block, today is the Original Beef Jerky from Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, Texas.
About Miller’s Smokehouse
The Miller family has been part of the Belton community for almost 50 years. Starting in 2008 with just a small cooler and some sausage wraps, Miller’s Smokehouse has quickly grown to become a Top 50 Texas Best BBQ Joint and a favorite stop by many traveling down Highway 35.
Miller’s offers a variety of carefully smoked meats, homemade desserts and some of the finest Texas craft beer around.
Some Back Story
Upfront, it’s important to know, I am a fan of Miller’s Smokehouse, the Miller family, and everyone associated with Miller’s. I eat at their place on Central in Downtown Belton probably four times a month and almost always get a Fire in the Bowl. No Tortilla. Extra Sauce.
As with everything I review, even the beef jerky is going to have points of improvement. Fanboy or not, we can all get better.
I have had most everything on the menu but when Zach Oldham and Dylon Miller mentioned their beef jerky my interest was piqued. I have had the snack sticks but not the jerky. And I’m a bit of a jerky snob. That paper thin, rip your molars out junk that convenience stores pass off as jerky doesn’t get to ride in my truck. That’s a no from the get-go. This review may get a little foodie but hang in there. It’ll be worth it.
About the Jerky
Miller’s Smokehouse Original Beef Jerky is first and foremost made of beef. It has salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, onion, and a handful of other spices including paprika. You buy it by the half pound and you can buy it online here: Original Beef Jerky
Miller’s Smokehouse Original Beef Jerky looks like I want beef jerky to look like. You can see the grain of the cut of meat that the jerky was made from. The jerky shows a slight glaze with accents of pepper throughout. Miller’s jerky isn’t chopped and then formed (how is that jerky anyway?) but rather cut and slowly dried with just enough heat to remove moisture but not enough to cook it. That being said, it’s not completely depleted of moisture. Here, let me show you.
So it looks good but did the taste measure up? Yeah, it did. The pepper is present but not overpowering and the onion and garlic notes have a good lingering flavor that begs you to go back for more. I ate a third of a pound of the Original Beef Jerky today while fishing in the kayak. I’d tear off a piece, put the package down and very quickly be right back at it. Luckily I remembered to take a picture before I started eating.
While the jerky has salt, it’s not overpowering. Just enough without making you rush for a beverage.
The chew is important as well. The Original Beef Jerky from Miller’s will require a decent bite aptitude to devour quickly, but if you pull off a small piece and put it into your cheek for a few seconds, the jerky will start to rehydrate and release all the pinned up flavors. After a ten second count, even small children will be able to enjoy this jerky if a robust jawline isn’t in their genetics.
Room for Improvement
The ingredients list states sugar pretty early on yet it is a little hard to find. I’m guessing it is using granulated sugar because the normal notes of brown sugar aren’t there. Or if it is brown sugar, it’s minimally included. I’d like to see a touch more sweetness to the Original Beef Jerky recipe. Nothing wild like citrus or maple but an inclusion of brown sugar or even upping the white sugar would play well with the pepper and garlic.
Since the pepper is milder than what I would call a traditional peppered jerky, I’d love to see some additional paprika to go with the suggestion for more sugar. Since paprika is typically dried red bell pepper mixed with a dash of dried cayenne, the sweetness of the red bell pepper should really ring through.
This is really good jerky. Probably top three I have ever had. I’ll be interested to see if the temptation to diversify the recipe offerings is acted upon. It’s almost rare to see just beef jerky in stores now. Everything is hatch chile, teriyaki, wasabi, duck fat, bacon jerky now it seems. But maybe that’s what sets Miller’s Smokehouse apart in all the things they do. Stick with what works and let the others play with the gimmicks.
If you want to stop by and grab some jerky, a Fire in the Bowl, or buy pounds of all the meats, go see Dirk and the gang at 300 E. Central Ave. in Belton, TX.
To check out all the stuff you can buy online, you can click here.