Friday, July 31, 2009

Sograte Beef Jerky - Black Pepper

Sograte Beef Jerky Next in the series on Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky is this Black Pepper variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.

Sograte is based out of Lubbock, TX. The company was founded by Cary Franklin. The business originally started out with Cary and his brother-in-law entering a BBQ competition in 2005, where they took four of the top ten positions in five different categories on their first try. Today, they run a BBQ catering service. The beef jerky is their primary retail product.

The beef jerky is not marinated but just salt cured, then smoked over a live hickory fire, and then seasoned.


Beef, salt, sugar, paprika, spices, black pepper, monosodium glutamate, garlic. Sprayed with potassium sorbate.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor and some saltiness. With some continued sucking, the black pepper flavor comes in well. Overall a lot of surface flavor.

The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, an increased saltiness, an increased black pepper, and a continuation of the smokiness.

For being labeled a Black Pepper variety, it definitely holds up to that claim. I get a lot of black pepper flavor, both from the surface of these pieces and in the chewing. It produces a strong aftertaste.

The flavor that seems to get the most attention in this jerky, however, seems to be the smoky natural meat flavor. The smokiness has a strong flavor, and it's probably stronger than the meat flavor itself. But it seems to help bring out the meat flavor more. Overall, it's hard not to notice the smoky meat flavor.

The black pepper is very easily noticed, and strong, but still seems to sit in the back and sides of my mouth, while the smoky meat flavor sits on the center of my tongue.

The saltiness is also a strong component, which like the other ingredients, tends to build its strength after eating several pieces. It seems to be at tasty level if eating just one piece, but it can become overwhelming for me after several pieces.

There's also a spiciness to this that becomes more apparent after eating several pieces; you won't notice it on just one piece. It's perhaps created by the strong black pepper flavor, and perhaps in combination with some other spice. It presents a light burn, registering a "mild-medium" on my hot scale.

Overall, what you're going to taste is a strong flavored jerky anchored by smoky natural meat flavor, with the black pepper adding a good bite, surrounded by a well-noticed saltiness.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips ranging from 3 to 6 inches in length, about 1/2 to 1 inch wide, and sliced medium to thick thickness.

This is a dry jerky, dry enough that some pieces present a little bit of crunchiness. There were some thick pieces I found to be hard and tough, while most of the pieces were actually easy to bite off and chew.

The chewing texture starts out feeling dry and woody. With some sucking and light biting they break down, with the thicker pieces taking longer, and the thinner pieces quite quickly. Once chewed down to a soft mass, this jerky has a steak-like feel, comparable to one cooked well-done.

It's quite lean, with no visible signs of fat, however I found one piece where I got a taste of some fat though it wasn't visible. I encountered no tendon or gristle, and no stringy sinews.

In terms of clean eating, the black pepper and other seasonings tend to pick up on my fingertips, and they also tend to fall on my lap and desk, as do some tiny meat fragments.

beef jerky

beef jerky
Snack Value

Sograte sells this Original beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.00 for a 3oz bag. You can get 6 bags for $28.00. Shipping fees work out to $4.95 flat rate, or free shipping if you spend over $50.00. So if you bought the 6 bags, it would end up at $32.95 total. That works out to a per ounce price of $1.83.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.83 price per ounce, this seems to provide a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability through a good overall flavor, good chewing texture, and somewhat easy to eat consistency. The $1.83 price per ounce is only slightly more than what you'd pay for the mass-market brands at the grocery store, but I think you'll get far more snackability.

As a Black Pepper variety of jerky, at the same $1.83 price per ounce, it seems to be an excellent value. I'm getting a lot of black pepper flavor, but in a jerky that still seems to put the smoky natural meat flavor center stage.


I'm giving this a best rating.

This Black Pepper variety from Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky does a good of emphasizing the natural meat flavor of beef adding a strong smokiness. It's actually quite the same as Sograte's Original variety, but adds that extra component of black pepper to help round out the overall flavor.

And like the Original variety, this one's also quite salty. It seems to be fine actually if eating one or two pieces, but it builds up intensity after eating several. However, I still thought smoky natural meat flavor combined with that helping of black pepper was enough to overlook the heavy saltiness.

The meat consisteny overall is pretty good for a dry jerky, it's largely still easy to eat, except for a few thicker slices that I found to be tough. Most of these pieces managed to combine an easy chew with some crunchiness which I find increases the snackability a little. And for those pieces that were tough, this jerky still has a lot of surface flavor that I didn't necessarily feel as if I needed to chew right away.

For my beer recommendation, I'd go with something lighter tasting, like cream ale.

Rating: Best

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  1. I disagree with the review posted here. I ordered a few bags of Sograte, the Black Pepper, Teriyaki, and two other varieties.

    I found this jerky to be very difficult to eat because the meat was so tough. When I could find an edible piece, I found it to be overly salty.

    Varieties like Texas Heat and Chili Lime were overly seasoned and also difficult to eat.

    I would rate this brand as "average" at best and would not recommend it.

    For a dry jerky there are many other brands that produce better jerky than this.

  2. This jerky has MSG!!! How can you rate this "best" with MSG?

  3. I love Sograte products and I will tell you I am very picky about the flavor and Sograte Jerky products are amazing.. Everyone I have introduced to Sograte Jerky have agreed it is so good it is addicting.. They can't put it down and before you know it the bag is gone leaving you wanting more ... Two Thumbs up Sograte keep up the good work..

  4. if you had to pick one what is your all time favorite beef jerky