Next in the series on 4D Acres Emu Jerky is this "with Cranberries" variety. See my previous review of their "with Raisins" variety.
4D Acres is an emu ranch in Louisburg, KS, owned and operated by Mike and Dee Martin. The jerky that 4D Acres sells are all chopped & formed, with 3% beef. Aside from their raisin and cranberry varieties, they also offer one with jalapenos, but I didn't order any of the jalapeno.
When I saw this "with Cranberries" variety, I immediately thought of the Tanka Bar (I reviewed last year), which is chopped & formed buffalo meat, but with whole cranberries. I couldn't taste much of the cranberries in the Tanka Bar, so I was curious how this emu jerky compared.
Emu, dried cranberries, 3% beef, sugar, salt, spices, sunflower oil and garlic powder.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a well-noticed smoky flavor, followed by a light sweet, faintly fruity flavor. There's a wee bit of saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, and a stronger dose of that tangy fruity flavor. There's also a light spiciness in the background.
Can I taste the cranberries in this? Well. yes and no. I don't taste the actual cranberry flavor, not like you'd get from a can of cranberry sauce, but I do get a tart, fruity sensation, much more than the Tanka Bar. It's not as tart as straight cranberry sauce or cranberry juice, but it's clearly noticeable, and does indeed make a noticeable impact on this jerky.
However, the natural emu meat flavors still seem to be more dominant, with the cranberry providing a tangy, fruity color. I'm not a good judge of emu meat, but this jerky seems to have more of a cooked meat flavor, like a dry, well-done cooked steak. There's also a good deal of smokiness in the meat.
The light spiciness I reported is still there in the background. I'm not sure I can identify what it is, but it's not hot by any means. This jerky is still "mild" on my hot scale. It just adds a small amount of bite to the flavor.
The saltiness in this seems light-to-moderate.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this primarily is the natural emu meat flavors, with a well-noticed smoky flavor. The cranberries are noticeable, adding a tart, fruity color to the meat flavor, but not really tasting like cranberries.
This a chopped & formed jerky, pressed into strips of about 3/4 inch wide, and about 6 inches in length.
It's a dry jerky, with a dry feel. They break apart quite easily with just a light amount of bending. Chewing seems easy as well.
The chewing texture starts out feeling kinda woody, with no rubbery resistance. This jerky breaks down to a soft mass quickly and easily enough, but still feels dry in my mouth, like dry turkey breast. The chewing texture at this point feels crumbly, but still rather fibrous.
I do find two or three hard bits of matter in each strips, perhaps bone, cartilage, who knows what.
In terms of clean eating, it's very clean. I get no residue on my fingers, no fragments falling on to my lap. And no greasiness, unlike a lot of other chopped & formed products.
4D Acres sells this Emu Jerky with Cranberries from their website at a price of $10.00 for an 8oz package. I bought two packages, this one plus the other with Raisins. Add to that shipping costs of $3.85, and it brings a total of $23.85. That works out to a per ounce price of $1.49.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.49 price per ounce, this seems to provide a fair value. I'm getting low level of snackability out of this, due to a satisfactory flavor, but a dry, crumbly chewing texture. Even though that $1.49 price per ounce is cheaper than most mass-market jerky you'd find at the grocery store, this Emu Jerky with Cranberries doesn't quite provide the same level of satisfaction.
But if you specifically enjoy emu jerky, and want some cranberry flavor, it's a good value at $1.49 per ounce. I do get some natural meat flavors, and I do pick up a tart, fruity flavor. But you still have to deal with that dry, crumbly texture.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Emu Jerky with Cranberries from 4D Acres provides some natural emu meat flavors, with a well-noticed smokiness, and the addition of cranberries adds a nice tart, fruity taste. In comparison to their "with Raisins" variety, I definitely prefer this cranberry version. However, I'm still not getting enough snackability from this.
I think that's largely due to the dry, crumbly chewing texture. It's easy to bite off a chunk, and easy to chew, it's just dry and crumbly. I can enjoy this jerky for about 1 or 2 strips, and afterwards I start losing interest. But I think the use of cranberries instead of raisins makes this tolerable enough that I could still eat through the whole package and be ok with it.
Overall, the flavor of this jerky is ok, it's satisfactory at best. I think emu burger patties might make a better chopped & formed product, however.
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