KC's Old Style Beef Jerky is produced by KC's Old Style, Inc., out of Vancouver, WA. According to the brand's website, it's staffed by a small four-person business headed by a guy named KC Mittleider.
It's not clear to me where this meat was inspected and handled. The packages are not marked with a USDA Establishment Number, and after searching through the USDA Establishment Directory, I couldn't find anything that matched on the name. The package only says that it was made in Orchards, WA, which happens to match the business' address. I'm left wondering if KC manufactures this jerky out of his home? I put a call into him to get more information, and left a message. I haven't heard back yet.
According to the company literature, they smoke their jerky with a blend of Hickory and Northwest Alder, and then run it through a flavor tumbler.
100% USDA beef, brown sugar, salt, worcestershire, soy sauce, onion & garlic powders, teriyaki glaze.
What I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a moderate sweetness from the glaze, a smoky flavor, a faint bit of garlic, and slight bit of black pepper. In the chewing, I pick up a good deal of natural meat flavors, some saltiness, and some black pepper.
When I chew a piece immediately after putting it into my mouth, I pretty much get all the same flavors in the same degrees, with the exception of the natural meat flavors being slightly less noticeable.
This jerky has a moderate level flavor intensity, mostly as that sweet off the surface, and then the natural meat flavors in the chewing.
As a teriyaki variety, I don't really get any teriyaki flavor. What I taste is a good deal of sweet off the surface, and some saltiness in the chewing. I don't really find the soy sauce flavor. The ingredients list doesn't mention the wine/sake and ginger components of teriyaki, it only says "teriyaki glaze", so I don't know if they're in there. I don't really taste them.
Perhaps the flavor that dominates this jerky overall is the natural meat flavors. I can taste a good deal of smokiness in there as well. It has a smooth, mellow flavor that comes out best if you suck on a piece first before chewing. The flavor reminds me of the meat in beef stew.
As for containing no preservatives, Much of this seems to have a fresh taste, though I'm noticing others with more of an aged flavor, and then few pieces of meat that tasted like they were starting to turn. For the most part, I've been able to eat through most of this jerky feeling like it's fresh. There were just those few slightly "turned" pieces that caught my attention. The smokiness actually does a pretty good job to cover much of this up. I'll note that the expiration date on this package is Apr 19 2009, just a few months away from when I bought it.
I think the second-most dominant flavor of this jerky is the sweetness. The sweet glaze on the surface of these pieces actually dominates the taste buds early on. But as soon as the glaze fades away, I can still taste some sweetness in the chewing.
I'm giving the saltiness as the third-dominant flavor. It's not a strong flavor, but definitely there, maybe somewhere between light and moderate.
The black pepper is also noticeable, but mostly as an aftertaste. I do get a burst of peppery flavor when my teeth bite into a pepper corn, and in those instances it rises above the salty and sweet flavors.
The worcestershire noted in the ingredients list is noticeable, but it doesn't offer any dominating flavor, just in light amounts. I taste it in the chewing only.
Finally, I can pick up some faint garlic notes, and a get a faint garlic aftertaste.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, often times just chunks of meat, similar to stew meat, in mostly bite sized pieces. Some pieces may require biting in two.
It's a moist jerky, though not as moist as the photos depict. That's mostly the glaze on the outside. But biting into a piece does show that this is better classified as a moist jerky. Most pieces are bite sized and don't really require biting off, or tearing apart. The chewing seems fairly easy.
Much of the chewing texture seems quite steak-like. What I notice is the chunkier pieces tend to chew just like a steak, while the thinner pieces tend to have a rubbery texture for the first several chews, and then eventually starts feeling steak-like.
The glaze on these pieces is rather thick and will leave a good deal of stickiness on my fingers requiring some finger licking before touching anything else. Aside from that, the moisture seems to keep any small meat fragments from falling on my lap or desk.
Some pieces do have bits of fat on them. I also found some pieces containing some kind of chewy membranous tissue, or maybe tendon, the remained in my mouth as an unchewable wad. But no sign of any gristle.
I paid $6.00 for this 4 ounce package of teriyaki from KC's website. That works out to a price of $1.50 per ounce, putting this into the average price range. But there was a shipping fee of $5.49, and I actually bought three different flavors in total (12 ounces). That all comes out to a price per ounce of $1.96, just on the border of average and expensive.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.96 price, it's a good value. I got a great deal of snackability mostly for its smoky, natural meat flavors, tender, juicy chewing, and moderate level flavor intensity. I was definitely reaching for more and more and needed to slow down so that I had enough pieces left to write the "Meat Consistency" section.
As a teriyaki variety, at that same price, it's a poor value. I just don't get the sense I'm eating a teriyaki flavored jerky. I can taste plenty of sweet, but I think that's about it. I don't really find the soy sauce, and I don't pick up the tanginess and bitterness of the wine/sake and ginger.
I'm giving this a good rating.
The mellow smooth flavor of the meat, along with its smokiness, is what you're enjoying in this jerky. You'll even taste hints of the worcestershire in there, and some sweetness. And while most of this jerky was still fresh tasting, there's some of it with an "aged" flavor, to put it in a good way. It's only a few others that seemed to have a more "turned" taste that caught my attention.
And for the most part it has a good chewing texture, and you'll enjoy the softness and moistness of these pieces.
I just don't get any teriyaki flavor from this, and so I don't see it as holding up to its advertised billing.
My recommended beer variety for this, a light tasting cream ale, or honey blonde ale.
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