Ralphs is a grocery store chain located throughout Southern California. They offer their own store-branded jerky.
The company is owned by The Kroger Co., and is aligned with the entire Kroger family of stores, including Kroger itself, King Soopers, Frys, Food4Less, Fred Meyer, Turkey Hill, and the list goes on and on.
Like most grocery stores, Ralphs doesn't make its own products. This jerky was manufactured by Mirab USA, one of the largest private labelers in the meat snack business.
Beef, water, sugar, salt, garlic powder, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, black pepper powder, apple cider vinegar, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium erythorbate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweet, a light bit of saltiness, and with some sucking I get a faint tangy flavor.
The chewing flavor is pretty much the same, in the same intensity.
Overall the flavor I seem to detect the most in this jerky is this light tangy flavor, perhaps coming from the apple cider vinegar. It doesn't overpower, but it's flavor is there centerstage on the surface and all the way through the chewing.
After that it's the black pepper I taste on the back of my tongue and in a light aftertaste.
The light sweet I reported is also a significant flavor, but tends to wear off midway through the chewing.
I taste no natural meat flavors.
The saltiness seems to be at a moderate intensity.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is a light tangy vinegar flavor from start to finish, with a black pepper flavor in the back of your mouth, and a light sweet that's significant initially but wearing off into the chewing.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces. There's a considerable amount of tiny bits and chunks.
This is a semi-moist jerky, with a damp feel on the surface, and a fair amout of flexibility. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems to be easy, and chewing is very easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender, and chews down to a soft mass fairly easily with little rubbery resistance. Once down to a soft mass, it has a fibrous feel, but feels too soft and mushy to be steak-like. It's similar to pot-roast.
I don't really see any pieces with bits or streaks of fat, though I found one piece with a nice sized streak of gristle. For the most part though, I don't encounter much in the way of unchewable tissues.
Handling these pieces is somewhat clean, no residue on my fingers except for a very light stickiness, and no meat fragments falling on my lap or desk.
I paid $4.99 for this 3.25oz package at a Ralph's grocery store in Menifee, CA. That works out to a price of $1.54 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.54 per ounce price, this jerky provides a weak value. I'm not really getting much of any snackability out of this, mainly due to a lackluster flavor, though it's easy to eat. The $1.54 price per ounce is actually cheaper than other mass-market jerky brands found in the grocery store, but I can't get any snackability from this.
I'm giving this a dog treats rating.
This Original variety from Ralphs just didn't impress me, mainly for its flavor. It's mostly a light tangy vinegar flavor, with some initial sweetness, and a black pepper aftertaste. I just couldn't get myself worked up to eat more of this stuff. Once I wrote the Taste and Meat Consistency portions of this review, I stopped eating and threw the rest to my dogs.
The meat consistency is good overall, being easy to eat, with very little unchewable wads of tissue, and a decent chewing texture, feeling meaty, but not quite like a steak, and closer to pot roast.
It's great that stores can offer their own branded products at a lower price, but I don't want lower quality. And that's largely what I'm seeing in this.
My recommended beer pairing for this, an IPA.
Rating: Dog Treats
Where to buy:
- At any Ralphs Grocery Store