Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tillamook Country Smoker - Chili Pepper & Lime

Tillamook Country Smoker - Chili Pepper & LimeLike many other people, I didn't really know that the company who makes the "Tillamook Jerky" is different from the company that makes the "Tillamook Cheese", but it's true. Tillamook Country Smoker makes the beef jerky that many of us know about, while the cheese is made by Tillamook County Creamery.

But the two do in fact share a history. Dick Crossley, a dairy farmer whose business is part of the Creamery cooperative, decided to start a side business making beef jerky using his father's recipe. He asked the Creamery if it would be ok to use the name "Tillamook Country Smoker", and received approval. The Creamery actually sold his meat snacks in their gift shop and their catalogs, and at one time became one of the Creamery's biggest sellers.

But as the Creamery expanded its cooperative to more farms, and built a brand that was recognized worldwide for its cheeses, it decided that there wasn't enough room for a meat snack to share the name "Tillamook". A cease and desist letter was served, and eventually a court case was heard, and in the end it was the meat snack that won. Tillamook Country Smoker continues to build a name for itself as a beef jerky brand, though if you ask me, I think it still owes a lot of thanks to the Creamery for having helped build that brand.


Beef, brown sugar, water, salt, spices, lime powder, garlic powder, oregano, citric acid, sodium nitrite.


The tastes I get from the surface of these pieces is a slight sweetness, a chili pepper taste, some of the spicy tingle of the chili pepper, and a slight smoky aroma. Moving into the chewing, I get a greater a degree of sweetness, hints of that oregano, a slight bit of salt, and more of the chili pepper burn.

It's a very flavorful jerky in that there's a good concentration of flavor, as well as a complexity of flavors. The sweetness is very apparent, as is the chili pepper, the salt, slight taste of that oregano, and the smoky aroma. There's some slight garlic and black pepper aftertastes as well noticeable after several pieces.

The natural meat flavors are not be found however. I can't really identify the meat flavors in this. I do sense the smokiness, but nothing that resembles the taste of meat.

For being advertised as a "chili pepper & lime" variety, I do get a good sense of chili pepper. Not only can I feel its burn on my tongue, but I can actually taste it too. But I can't taste the lime. I don't really find anything that shows up as lime, or even as citrus, or tangy, or sour, or even fruity.

I think the taste that dominates this jerky is the chili pepper with its taste and burn. I'd rate the hot level as being medium. It's just enough to give my scalp a tingling, but not enough to produce any drops of sweat running down my neck.

The second most strongest taste in this is the sweet, both from the surface and in the chewing. It's probably more appropriate to bill this jerky as a "sweet and hot" instead of chili pepper and lime.

The third strongest taste characteristic is the salt. The salt flavor in this moderate, despite the generous 650mg of sodium showing in the ingredients list.

Overall, it's a great tasting jerky with its strong chili pepper taste and sweetness. I like the hints of oregano in the background.

Meat Consistency

This is a whole muscle jerky, cut into pieces measuring about 1 inch by 2 inches.

It's a soft and tender jerky, being easy to tear apart and easy to chew. It doesn't really provide a steak-like chewing experience, rather it chews like a chopped & formed jerky, though it's not chopped & formed. It's not really steak-like, not really like hamburger-like.

It's a fairly clean jerky, leaving nothing on my fingertips, though pieces of chili pepper seeds tend to fall off on to my lap.

Snack Value

I paid $4.99 for this 3.25 ounce package at a Riteway grocery store in Renton, WA. That works out to a price of $1.53 per ounce, putting this into the average price range.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it has a great value. It's something I'd buy again. It offers a tons of flavor, and is easy to eat. Even though it doesn't offer a steak-like chewing experience, nor offer any natural meat flavors, I found the flavorings to be good enough to make this very snackable.

As a chili pepper & lime variety, it's a fair value only because you'll get a good sense of chili pepper seasoning, but nothing at all like lime, or citrus. I might be disappointed in having wasted money on something I thought would provide some tangy lime taste, but even then it's still a tasty jerky on its own merits.


I'm giving this a good rating.

First, I found this jerky to be very snackable with its great overall flavor and ease in eating. But it also won extra points for its strong concentration of flavor, and complexity of flavors.

But beyond that there isn't any "wow factor" to push it up to that best rating. Even though it offers no meat flavors, I can overlook that if the seasoning and marinades are exceptional. I do think the flavor is strong enough to make me overlook that. On the other hand, if it could have also provided that meat taste, I might be impressed enough to give it a best rating.

It also didn't totally live up to its advertised "chili pepper & lime" variety. It was just chili pepper, but no lime.

I think a light tasting, honey blonde ale would make a great companion beer.

Rating: Good

Buy this online:


  1. Thanks for all the great reviews of Jeds Jerky!

  2. Good stuff!
    Living in Tillamook, I ship this stuff clear to Florida for Christmas gifts - by request :)

  3. The Tillamook jerky I like best are the silver dollar beef jerky. Use to eat it when I was younger and couldn't find them for about 12 years. Found them online again. The internet rocks!