Ozark Mountain Jerky Co. is a brand of Frickenschmidt Foods based in Lockwood, MO. The company started in 1988 by Allen Frickenschmidt, who oversees operations, while his family members handle all the other duties.
In 2008, the company stepped up from state inspection to USDA inspection. That allowed the company to go national with its products, and spurned the launch of their Ozark Mountain Jerky brand, and its accompanying online store. Frickenschmidt Foods still does most of their business in custom slaughter and processing for hunters, farmers, and small businesses.
Ozark Mountain Jerky offers only two varieties at this time, Original, and Peppered.
Beef, water, salt, sugar, dextrose, brown sugar, liquid smoke, spices, sodium, erythorbate
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, and a light bit of sweet. I can also pick a up bit of saltiness. It's a moderately-intense surface flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, a bit more saltiness, and about the same smokiness. There's also a light tasting "sauce" flavor, and a light peppery flavor.
After eating several pieces, the flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is the natural meat flavors. It has a slight cooked flavor, as well as an aged flavor. There's also bits and streaks of fat on most pieces, and that seems to contribute a flavor too. There's also a fair amount of smokiness in the meat flavor.
The saltiness seems to be among the stronger components also. I'd consider it at a moderate intensity for the most part, but I found the softer pieces to be more salty.
I'm getting a well-noticed black pepper aftertaste through eating several pieces.
I noted a saucy flavor above, which seems to be comparable to a watered-down au jus sauce.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a natural meat flavor having a somewhat cooked flavor, with a fair amount of saltiness, and smokiness. You'll also pick up a bit of black pepper, and a light saucy flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, where pieces vary from soft and flexible to hard and brittle. But there seems to be more of the latter than the former. Pieces seem to tear apart fairly easily, while chewing varies from easy to tough.
The chewing texture for most pieces starts out feeling stiff and dry, with a fair amount of toughness. With some labored biting and chewing, it chews down to a soft mass, but it never really takes on a steak-like texture. Instead, it's more crumbly than anything else. Some pieces are more soft, and tend to provide a more steak-like chew, but they're few and far in between.
Most pieces have some visible chunks or streaks of fat, some large some small. I actually found one small piece of jerky that was all fat, and another that was 50% fat. I found a couple pieces with some thick streaks of gristle. It appears the company doesn't take any effort to remove fat, based on the liberal amounts found in here.
This jerky is somewhat clean eating. No residue picking up on my fingers, but I do see some meat fragments sitting on my lap.
Frickenschmidt Foods sells this jerky from its website at a price of $18.00 for 1 pound (4 4oz bags). I bought 2 pounds, in two different varieties. Add to that shipping costs of $8.50, and it works out to a total of $44.50. That equates to a price of $1.39 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.39 per ounce price, this jerky seems to provide a decent value. I don't actually get a lot of snackability from this, due to an "ok" flavor, but a tough dry chew. However, the $1.39 per ounce price is actually cheaper than the mass-market brands you find in the grocery store. All in all, you're getting a snack value that equals the lower price.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Original variety from Ozark Mountain Jerky Co. seems to provide a flavor at a satisfactory level. I didn't find the flavor good, but it not bad either. There's some natural meat flavors in this to enjoy, some smokiness, saltiness, and some black pepper.
On the other hand, the tougher meat consistency, and crumbly chewing texture is largely what turned an average-level flavor into a "fair" rated jerky. Had it provided an easier eating experience, and more steak-like chew, I could enjoy what flavor it offered. On top of that, this jerky seems to have more fat than most jerky brands.
Overall, I just didn't get enough snackability out of this jerky, due to an average rated flavor, in a tough, crumbly chew, which is why I couldn't give it rating above "fair".
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a brown ale.
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