Cedar Creek Beef Jerky is a brand of Cedar Creek Enterprise, of El Dorado Springs, MO. The company makes jerky in its own USDA approved facility.
The company had been owned by a guy named Terrance M. Ebeltoft until he died just this month. He ran the business since 1990.
Cedar Creek says they make jerky in "the foothills of the Missouri Ozark Mountains", using only locally produced beef, or beef produced in the USA. They say their ovens are all homemade, and that they literally make their jerky one piece at a time.
And since Missouri is known as the "Show Me State", this jerky package has a tagline that reads, "Show me a better jerky".
Beef, soy sauce, water, worcestershire sauce, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, garlic, onion, soy sauce powder, sugar, natural smoke flavor, seasonings (spices, red bell peppers, tomato), black pepper, salt, anchovies, apple cider flavor vinegar.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a lot of saltiness, followed by a soy sauce flavor, and some worcestershire flavor. Overall, a high surface flavor intensity.
The chewing flavor produces much of the same as the surface flavor, but with some added seasonings, and maybe a touch of tanginess.
After having eaten a few pieces of this jerky, I'd have to say the flavor component that is noticed more than any other is the saltiness. It's at a high level, but I can't say that it's too high for my tolerance. But if you've been exercising all day and need to replenish your body with sodium, this may be a good snack to eat.
Otherwise, the other flavor that stands out quite well is the combination of soy sauce and worcestershire. I think the soy sauce is actually the stronger of the two, but the worcestershire is still very much noticeable.
It's hard to describe the seasonings I mentioned in the chewing flavor, but there's definitely a flavor comparable to seasoning salt that's noticeable. On some pieces, it seems to have weak chile pepper flavor, but without the burn. But that's just on some pieces, the bulk of this jerky is simply more like seasoning salt, perhaps with some garlic & onion, pepper, and what not.
Many of these pieces contain some streaks of fat, or membranous tissues, and it's here where the seasoning has a higher concentration, overtaking the soy sauce and worcestershire flavor.
When I analyze carefully at what I'm tasting, I can even detect a bitter component, perhaps from the anchovies. Otherwise when I'm just snacking away, I don't really notice it.
I don't taste any of the natural meat flavors.
Despite the ingredients list showing "high fructose corn syrup" along with sugar, and molasses, this is not heavily sweet. There is a noticeable sweetness on the surface, but it's quite light.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is a lot of saltiness, with a combination of soy sauce and worcestershire flavor, and a light bit of seasoning salt in the chewing.
These slices of whole meat, cut to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. But it's still rather flexible, almost feeling rubbery, or like shards of soft plastic. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers is very easy, and chewing seems easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling like soft plastic, like if you took a plastic margarine container and cut it up into pieces. It has a good deal of rubbery chewing resistance. It'll take some sucking and light biting to get it to break apart, and then several chews to bring it down to a soft mass. At that point, it does have a steak-like chewing texture.
Several of these pieces contain visible streaks and chunks of fat, but all of which seem to be small in size. Some pieces are completely lean. I found no streaks of gristle or tendon, and only minimal amounts of stringy sinews.
It's also very clean eating, leaving no residue on my fingers, and tiny fragments flying off to my lap or desk.
I paid $5.99 for this 4oz package at a gas station in Wrightwood, CA. That works out to a price of $1.50 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.50 price per ounce, this seems to provide a fair value. I actually get only a little bit snackability from this due to an unimpressive flavor, despite a decent meat consistency and chewing texture. That $1.50 price per ounce is actually cheaper than the mass-market brands you find at the grocery store, yet I don't see this jerky being any better.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Original variety from Cedar Creek Beef Jerky was rather salty, and that saltiness seems to define this jerky more than any other flavor component, and after several pieces it just wore me out, constantly wanting something to drink. There's also a strong soy sauce and worcestershire sauce combo, but in my opinion that combo has been used across so many other brands that it doesn't really impress me.
I did enjoy the seasonings in this, but just couldn't much of it, except for the streaks of fat and membranous tissues where the seasoning seems to be in higher concentration. I'd like to see less soy sauce and worcestershire, and more seasoning. Otherwise, no natural meat flavors to speak of, and no other flavor of any significance.
The meat consistency and chewing texture is probably this jerky's strongest points. It's easy to tear apart and chew, though chewing can take some work, but overall not bad. The chewing texture, once its chewed down to a soft mass, feels very much like a real piece of meat.
As for the tagline of "Show me a better jerky", you can start with this website. :)
For my recommended beer pairing, go with an IPA.
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