Judge and Jury: Klement’s Beef Snack Stick

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been moving from my room in the upper unit of a duplex to the floor below. The entire move could have been completed in two hours, but I’ve extended it into a luxurious, month long process.

Relocation did not start off great with a poorly timed illness that kept me home from work for two days. Conveniently coinciding with the week of the Minnesota State Fair, I was convinced that cuddling with my cat would be the best defense so that I could consume all of the on-a-stick delights the Fair has to offer. By week’s end, I was tasting again and ready to rock-and-roll with Sudafed reinforcements. However, with 90-degree temperatures, high humidity, and a body incapable of regulating heat, I ended up puking around the fairgrounds and hanging out in the medic building. I still made it 13 hours, but no gourmet-caliber Fair jerky crossed my lips.

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I looked banging, though.

Upon recovery, I got a good portion of my shit downstairs and learned that the two ladies that had been living in my new home had a fondness for stagnant air. When entering my home, my senses drifted away with the captivating odor of milk, accented with just a hint of animal. I found four different windows that still contained some insulation that had been stuffing the windows in vain since last winter, with the rest being securely locked. Though the pink foam was lovingly cut to fit each window, HOW THE HELL DO YOU MAKE IT THROUGH SPRING WITHOUT CRACKING A SINGLE WINDOW?! With due diligence, I moved the cat in, lit some incense, and made a pork shoulder, letting the delicious meat scents permeate the creamy stronghold with great victory. My war continues, but the battle was delicious.

In the middle of all of this, I have purchased no less than six Klement’s Beef Snack Sticks and devoured them with the meaningful intent to review, each with a story behind them. They were eaten in moments of great hunger and replenished for 2/$1.19 at my local Holiday three times now with no review forthcoming. Thankfully, I got down to business the other day, eating my beef stick in secret while Joe puttered in the yard.

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**This, and all future reviews, will be HEAVILY influenced by my mood and hunger status at time of review.**

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Beef stick consumption station

 Klement’s Beef Snack Stick: 4.25/5

Again, with ratings, I’m going on a 5-point scale, with scored determined based on an average of:

  • Appearance
  • Experience
  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Price (which only really matters when I find it to be a Screamin’ Deal, ©Beth Wogen)

To preface, I already have some hometown favor towards Klement’s. Based out of my hometown of Milwaukee, WI, I’ve been eating their products since I was a wee child (barring the 10 year, vegetarian dark period). Last time I visited my parents, the old man opened opened their freezer, and my eyes glistened upon seeing a box full of Klement’s Original Snack Sticks just waiting to enter my tummy. He’d picked them up from the Klement’s factory, which I can only imagine is a Willy Wonka-esque playground of summer sausage and bratwurst, stacked from floor to ceiling, with the Racing Sausages milling about, ready to introduce you to their namesake brethren. Sure, they were purchased just a day or two short of expiration, but we’re talking cured meat here and the inevitable can be postponed simply, with zero degree temperatures. Maybe smell before eating, just in case.

Get in my belly, boys.
Get in my belly, boys.

For appearance’s sake, I like the look of this stick. Like the Tillamook before, it has the cinched ends which alludes to prior linkage with it’s beef stick buddies before packaging. Rather than being dried, it has a taut skin and the stick is more like fresh sausage than a salami. Pull it out of the package, and there’s greasy sheen on the skin that leaves behind a lingering essence on the clear plastic. Short, vein-like flecks sprinkle the skin, which could be off-putting to others, though I find them to be a delightful endorsement of a natural casing.

As the name implies, this variety of Klement’s stick is all beef. When I first bought one of these with the intention of blogging about it, I was at a BP in Uptown and needed something to get me home. I put it up on the counter, and the guy ringing me up had the sound endorsement of, “That’s a pretty good gas station beef stick. There’s no MSG!” While the MSG-factor is a non-issue to me, I appreciated his excitement of my purchase. Past that, the ingredient deck is even smaller than the Tillamook Country Smoker, and I can still pronounce everything!

Now, my eating experience was greatly enhanced by eating it in secret, because I’m selfish and didn’t want to share with Joe. Earlier in the day, I had had an encounter with an off-her-rocker lady in Target, who, while wheeling her bike around the store, told me she had a good vocabulary and asked if she could pull off blue hair. We moved on to Home Depot, which apparently was solely populated with Walmart shoppers, as absolutely no one was familiar with the concept of spacial awareness. There were carts strewn about all willy-nilly throughout the aisles because Jim and Tim just happened to run into each other and had to mark the occasion by road blocking my access to the toilet seats. Then we ran into a street festival on the way to the bank, so by the time I got home I was agitated and famished. Joe went outside, and finally, I was able to find solace by Klement’s hands.

My mouth watered fiercely when I grabbed the stick from my purse, and it did not disappoint. Biting in while sitting at the table on our sun porch, I was met with just a little resistance, a snap, and then sweet, sweet reverie. While mild in flavor, there’s a good balance of spices that amount to a full and salty mouth experience. This stick’s texture is very pleasing on the teeth, as well; after the initial snap is a soft, meaty texture that’s in the family of a well made hot link.

Price-wise, this qualifies as a “Screamin’ Deal.” Found predominantly at Holidays in my neighborhood, you can pick them up at the aforementioned 2/$1.19. With the option to mix-up flavors, it’s a bargain that is too good to pass up.

Overall, I am a Klement’s Beef Stick fan. Frequently, they make it into my purse on the way to band practice, and I’ve never been let down by one of these little guys. As a mass-produced offering, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how fresh they seem to be, even while being stored on a convenience store counter. Though not my favorite Klement’s flavor, it’s a solid #2, and Klement’s Beef Sticks will remain as one of my go-to impulse purchases at my local gas station.

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