McDonald's Meats is a full service butcher shop in Clear Lake, MN, in operation since 1914. It was actually in operation before then, but under a different name.
It's a family-run business originally founded by John Leo McDonald, who passed it to his son Richard in 1954, who then passed it to his son Dave in 1989. While they run a full service meat shop and wild game processing, they claim to be known for their jerky, with 22 varieties in all, which they make in their own USDA inspected facility. The company smokes their jerky over real wood.
On the company's website, they state their jerky is "award winning", but didn't specify who awarded it. I'm curious! In addition to beef jerky, they also offer beef strips, which I'll be writing reviews for as well.
Beef, water, brown sugar, seasoning (salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, pepper, garlic powder, spice), sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste on the surface of these pieces is a light saltiness, just a touch of sweet. Overall, a very light surface flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a strong natural meat flavor and an increased saltiness, and the same touch of sweet.
For being the company's plain, basic beef jerky, it is indeed that. It's a mild flavor overall, where the seasoning flavor seems limited to just a moderate saltiness and a touch of sweet.
But it's not a light-tasting jerky, there's a dominant meat flavor that probably makes up about 50% of the flavor I'm tasting. The flavor is more comparable to that of a beef stick or summer sausage, as opposed to a grilled steak. I can also pick up a light amount of smokiness.
The other 50% of the flavor I'm getting is mostly a saltiness, which I think is at a moderate intensity. There's a smaller sweet flavor, and even more lighter garlic flavor that I notice in the aftertaste.
Overall, it's a mild, simple tasting beef jerky, with a dominant meat flavor, moderate saltiness, and light sweet.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thick, and in medium to large sized pieces.
It's a semi-moist jerky, with a semi-moist surface feel. There's a good deal of flexibility in these pieces, twisting and bending like rubber. Tearing pieces apart requires some effort, while ease-of-chewing seems moderate to labored.
The chewing texture is mostly "chewy". When I first put a piece into my mouth, it has some initial chewing resistance, and feels rubbery. When I chew, with some labor, the grains crack and the meat starts to break down into a soft mass. At that point, it feels like real meat, but still with some elastic character.
This jerky appears to be very lean, I don't see any streaks or chunks of fat, and no tendon or gristle. In the chewing, I didn't encounter anything unchewable or stringy.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a trace amount of residue from handling these pieces, but still dry and clean enough to type on my keyboard. I don't see any fragments of meat flying off as I tear pieces apart.
McDonald's Meats sells this Original beef jerky from its website at a price of $19.99 for a 16oz package. I bought three packages, each a different variety. Shipping was only $3.00. That's a total of $62.97, which works out to a price of $1.31 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.31 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability for its pleasing flavor, decent chewing texture. That $1.31 price per ounce is cheaper than the national brands of jerky found in the grocery store, but yet I think offers a better flavor and a more meat-like texture.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original variety of beef jerky from McDonald's Meats has a simple flavor consisting mostly of a meat flavor and a saltiness. I'm getting a touch of sweet, and faint bit of garlic, but overall it's mostly a combo of meat flavor and salt.
The meat flavor is more comparable to the flavor of a beef stick or summer sausage than a grilled steak. It's still a good flavor in my opinion, but for whatever reasons, it didn't "wow" me; I think it's due to this jerky's simple flavor. It's intended to be a mild flavored, basic beef jerky, which it seems to excel at.
The chewy meat consistency can tire my jaws over several pieces. Had the jerky offered more flavor complexity, I'd find it worth the while to suck on a piece first, and then chew. And while I do appreciate smoking meat over real wood, I don't taste much of that smokiness.
Compared to the national brands of jerky, it's better in taste, and a little bit better in consistency. Compared to all the gourmet brands I've had, it's average.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a smoky porter.
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