Rite Aid is a well-established chain of drug stores covering the entire United States, and it too sells its own brand of beef jerky.
But as with other retailers, it doesn't make its own. This stuff is made by Mirab USA, the largest beef jerky private labeler. Many months ago I talked to a public relations person at Mirab to confirm that the beef jerky they make for one retailer is the same beef jerky they make for another. The answer was "yes", but that they offer four grades of jerky, and each customer gets one of the grades.
Rite Aid appears to be getting the chopped & formed grade, which by the way is the same grade that it's chief rival, Walgreens, is getting. I've reviewed Walgreens Beef Jerky before, though not this original variety, and sure enough this stuff from Rite Aid looks exactly the same.
Beef, water, sugar, salt, garlic powder, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium erythorbate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.
The tastes I pick up from the surface is a slight smoky flavor, and a moderate level sweet flavor. In the chewing, I get good deal of salty flavor, a black pepper flavor, and a meat flavor.
My initial thoughts on this stuff, is, well, blah! While I did say "meat flavor" above, it's not the same meat flavor one might expect in a whole muscle style of jerky, it's more like something you'd find in a meat stick. On top of that, it's not a strong flavor, quite slight. There is a decent amount of flavor intensity, but mostly as a salty taste.
I think that salty taste is pretty much the dominant flavor element of this jerky; it's what seems to rise above all other flavors. But it's not quite "too salty", it's probably somewhere between moderate to heavy in the taste intensity department.
The second most dominant flavor in this jerky is the smoky flavor. While the third most dominant is the black pepper aftertaste.
The sweet flavor I get from the surface is a strong taste component, but only if you suck on a piece first. Otherwise, if you chew a piece immediately, the sweet flavor tends to fade behind the other flavors.
I can also pick up a slight garlic aftertaste as well.
This jerky also leaves a strange feeling in my mouth after having swallowed several pieces. It's as if there's something in the ingredients that leaves my tongue, teeth, and lining in my mouth with a rough, abrasive feeling.
It also leaves a strange, chemical-like, aftertaste.
This appears to be a chopped & formed jerky, formed into medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
It's seems to be quite moist, but I think that's rather deceptive. The pieces feel moist, but when I tear a piece apart, it appears to be more on the dry side. In terms of ease in tearing, it's hit or miss. These pieces seem to have chunks of meat, tendon, gristle, and who knows what. So, you might be tearing across a strip of tendon and find it difficult to tear.
The chewing texture is bad. It doesn't feel like meat when I chew this stuff. It tends to feel like mush, except for when I hit a piece of tendon or gristle, and then I get something really chewy, or somewhat crunchy.
In terms of cleanliness, my fingers pick up a slight bit of sticky from the surface of these pieces, and some of that sticky gets on my hand as I reach into the bag. But I don't find any bits of jerky falling on my lap.
I paid $4.99 for this 3.85oz package at a Rite Aid in Menifee, CA. That works out to a price of $1.30 per ounce, putting this into the average price range. Note that this package has a sticker on it that says, "FREE 10% More". These packages are normally 3.5oz.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a poor value. I find the taste of this stuff to be bad. I can't handle eating anymore of it. Not only does is it have a bad taste, but I don't like the aftertaste it leaves behind, and I don't like the "afterfeeling" it gives my mouth.
Not only that, but Rite Aid seems to be pricing this jerky higher than its competitor Walgreens. Walgreens sells this same jerky under its "Steakhouse" brand at a price of $0.83 per ounce.
I'm giving this a dog treats rating.
Simply put, the taste, the chewing texture, and the aftertaste is all bad. And then, there's that strange feeling my mouth feels after I've eaten several pieces. I actually feel hesitant to give this stuff to my dogs.
In fact, I challenge the president of Mirab USA to eat several bags of this stuff in one sitting.
It's all about marketing, visibility, pricing, and attractive graphics.
A good beer to have with this is something with lots of flavor, like an IPA.
Rating: Dog Treats
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