Trail's Best is a brand of Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC based out of Chandler, MN. The brand has been around since 1938, appearing first as a country store, and then evolving into a line of meat snacks.
Monogram Meat Snacks is a large meat processor making jerky, meat sticks, and sausage for a wide variety of brands. Here on Best Beef Jerky, I've reviewed their private labeled jerky for brands like Winchester, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Beam, Frank's Redhot, and others.
In fact, this particular Peppered variety appears to be the exact same jerky as the Peppered variety of Jeff Foxworthy that I reviewed last August.
Beef, water, brown sugar, contains 2% or less of salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, dextrose, spices, soy sauce, natural smoke flavor, sodium erythorbate, flavorings, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smoky flavor. After sucking on a piece for about 10 seconds, I can get a very light saltiness. Overall, the surface flavor is very light, and very simple.
The chewing flavor starts with a decent amount of natural meat flavors, an increased saltiness, and moderate amount of black pepper flavor.
For being billed as a Peppered jerky, this does indeed offer a black pepper flavor. I'd rate it as a medium intensity, where I can definitely taste it in each bite, but it doesn't quite overpower.
But I think the primary flavor of this jerky is actually the natural meat flavors. It seems to have a slightly more dominant flavor than the black pepper. The meat flavor has a very "processed flavor", with a light smokiness to it, but still recognizable as a meat flavor.
There's quite a bit of saltiness in that meat flavor, and what I'd rate as the second-strongest flavor of this jerky. It seems to have a medium-to-high intensity.
The black pepper has the third-strongest flavor.
The soy sauce listed in the ingredients is slightly noticeable if you're looking for that flavor, but otherwise goes unnoticed.
Overall, what you're going to taste is a salty meat flavor, with a good deal of black pepper.
This appears to be a chunked & formed jerky, with small pieces of whole meat formed together with black pepper bits mixed in. They come in small pieces, large enough for one to two bites each.
It's a semi-moist jerky, with a small amount of flexibility before cracking open. There's also a fair amount of oil covering the surface. Tearing pieces apart somewhat easy to do, and chewing seems easy.
The chewing texture starts feeling stiff, with a slight bit of rubbery resistance, but a small amount of sucking and light biting causes it to break down easily. Once chewed down, it takes on a steak-like chewing texture, similar to a steak cooked medium. I didn't find any crumbly, mushy, or gummy quality. And being a chunked & formed product, I don't find any hard bits of bone or cartilage.
The meat seems mostly lean, though the oily surface makes me wonder how much fat was mixed into this. Here and there I do feel some chewy strands of tissue, but overall it's not really bad at all.
The oily surface does leave a thin layer of residue on my fingers, but tearing pieces apart doesn't spread much meat fragments on to my lap or desk.
I paid $6.29 for this 3.65oz package at a Sol Foods store in Springdale, UT. That works out to a price of $1.72 per ounce. Keep in mind that Springdale is a tourist town serving Zion National Park, and prices there are always higher than in other towns.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.72 price per ounce, this jerky seems to offer a fair value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability, in that it has a satisfactory flavor, it lives up to its Peppered advertisement, and it's somewhat easy to eat. The $1.72 price is somewhat high for a chunked & formed jerky, but still seems to be at the upper limits of acceptance for a lightly snackable jerky as this.
As a Peppered jerky, at the $1.72 price per ounce, it seems to be a good value. I'm getting a lot of black pepper flavor, but not too much to where it numbs the taste buds. I've seen similarly peppered jerky from other brands cheaper than this, but there's always other negatives that brought those brands down. If a peppered jerky is all you're interested in, this is a worthy buy.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Peppered variety from Trail's Best offers a lot of black pepper flavor, which is what you'd expect from a jerky labeled as "Peppered". In that sense, it provides a layer of satisfaction and snackability for those who crave peppered jerky.
But it still comes off as rather ordinary in taste. The meat flavor has a very "processed" flavor, not a natural flavor. Aside from black pepper, it's mostly just salt being the seasoning. Based on that, I don't really get a lot of snackability out of it. I can eat it and be ok with it if presented to me, but it's not something I'll buy with my own money.
My recommended beer pairing, try a brown ale.
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