Lowrey's Big Beef is a brand belonging to Oh Boy! Oberto, having purchased it from Curtice Burns Foods in 1995. I'm not sure how long the Lowrey's brand has been around, but it seems like it's been around forever.
This "Cattleman's Cut" appears to be a whole muscle jerky, quite different from the chopped & formed stuff that comes in a can which Lowrey's is known for.
Looking at this jerky, it appears to be exactly the same as the peppered variety from Oh Boy! Oberto, the same meat consistency and the same aroma. The ingredients are exactly the same as the Oberto peppered, though the nutrition facts are slightly different. My guess is that this Cattleman's Cut is a cheap way for Oberto to extend the Lowrey's Big Beef line by relabeling its Oberto jerky. No doubt that if you've already had Oberto jerky, you've already had this Cattleman's Cut.
Beef, brown sugar, dextrose, sugar, corn syrup, natural smoke flavor, flavorings, water, vinegar, molasses, sodium erythorbate, caramel color, sodium nitrite, citric acid.
The flavors I pick up from the surface of these pieces starts with a moderate level smokiness, and quickly a moderate sweetness becomes very evident. In the chewing, it starts with a salty flavor, a faint natural meat flavor, and followed by some black pepper.
My initial thoughts after eating a few pieces, is that this stuff indeed tastes just like Oberto peppered.
Overall, the flavor that seems to dominate my taste buds when I eat this jerky is the black pepper. But I don't consider this having a heavy black pepper flavor, it's probably moderately peppered. It's mostly a flavor I taste in the chewing, and then after several pieces that flavor stays in the back of my mouth.
The saltiness is probably the second-most dominant taste component, but it's also something I only get in the chewing, and just like the black pepper it builds up an intensity over several pieces. By the time you get half-way through the package, that saltiness tends to knock the edge off the other flavors.
That third-strongest flavor component is probably a toss-up between sweetness and the smokiness. The sweetness is pretty much confined to the surface flavor, and is something you'll notice mostly when sucking a piece before chewing. Or, if you chew a piece right away, the sweetness will mix into the chewing flavor. But it eventually wears off. The smokiness is very similar, except it seems to last throughout the chewing.
That natural meat flavor is there, but I only seem to notice it when I suck on a piece first for about 10-15 seconds, and then chew. But it's a light flavor.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to an average thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces. There's probably a full ounce of bits and crumbles in the bottom of the bag.
This seems to be mostly a dry jerky, but still having a slightly moist feel. I found a couple pieces, including one larger piece, to be more moist and soft. Overall, the pieces break and tear apart with minimal effort, and they seem to chew fairly easily.
The chewing texture in this review sample has a very meaty, fibrous quality. After chewing a pieces several times, it seems to have a steak-like feel to it, but a softer, easier chewing feel. There is a tad bit of mushiness in this, mostly noticeable in the first several chews of a piece. That mushiness seems to wear off and leaves me with that steak-like chew. Even the few moist and soft pieces have a steak-like chewing texture, though even more soft chewing.
In terms of clean eating, this jerky tends to drop tiny fragments of meat when tearing pieces apart, and will drop a good deal of black pepper too. But it doesn't leave any residue on my fingers.
I didn't find any visible pieces of fat in this jerky, and no chunks of gristle or tendon. I didn't even find any unchewable wads of tissue remaining in my mouth. It all seems to be pretty lean chewing.
I paid $2.80 for this 3.5oz package at a Big Lots! store in Murrieta, CA. That works out to a price of $0.80 per ounce, putting this into the cheap price range.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $0.80 per ounce price, this presents an excellent value. I'm getting a moderate-to-good level of snackability, mostly from its good taste, and great chewing texture. Being easy to eat also helps make this snackable.
As a black peppered jerky, also at the $0.80 per ounce price, it's an excellent value as well. I mean, for this low of a price, you're getting a good deal of black pepper taste, particularly in a jerky that seems to have good overall taste and even better texture.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This peppered Cattleman's Cut variety is quite enjoyable and quite snackable, but I didn't find the overall flavor to be above average. Had I gotten more of the natural meat flavors, I think I would have rated the flavor higher. But even without the natural meat flavors, it's still a good tasting jerky, with it's dominant black pepper flavor, and the salty, sweet, and smoky flavors helping out.
But I think the meat consistency and chewing texture was enjoyable enough to help push this jerky up to a good rating. It was free of any chewy connective tissues, easy to chew, easy to tear apart, and better yet provided a good chewing texture. It all helped to create a lot of snacking satisfaction.
But having eaten many bags of Oberto jerky in my time, I can't help wondering if I may have found a unusually good sample of jerky. It could be that the next bag of this peppered Cattleman's Cut could be much more dry, and more crumbly. Nonetheless, I found this particular review sample to be quite enjoyable.
A good beer variety with this is a simple brown ale.
Where to buy:
- Big Lots! Store