Liberty Jerky is one of the newest brands of beef jerky to hit the market, having opened business in November 2009. The company is based in Lincoln, CA.
It's owned by the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Ann Browne, who have been making beef jerky for over 20 years. Friends and family members liked their jerky so much, that they finally pulled the trigger on starting their own business.
The name "Liberty Jerky" comes from Bill's middle name, "Liberty", a name that traces back through family history to an old ancestor named Liberty Browne who was born in July 1776, the time when the United States declared its independence. Since then, descendants have been named Liberty, either as a first or middle name.
Beef, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning (salt, spices [including black pepper, and red pepper], garlic, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor, and extractives of paprika), red pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light worcestershire sauce flavor, along with a light saltiness. There's a faint spicy tingle on the back of my tongue.
The chewing flavor starts with a slightly increased definition of the worcestershire. That faint spicy tingle has increased somewhat to a slight bit of burn, with some hints of black pepper.
The flavor that seems to dominate my palate is the worcestershire sauce. It's the flavor I seem to taste more than anything else. It's at a moderate intensity, enough to where you can tell right away what it is, but not so concentrated to where it drowns out everything else.
After that, there's a spiciness that seems to take second fiddle. The black pepper is perhaps the most recognizable part of the seasoning. But here and there, I can pick up surges of coriander seed, and indeed I can see chunks of those seeds on these pieces. Even more rare, is a surge of dill flavor on a couple of bites I took.
As for that light bit of burn I reported above, this is still not hot by any means. I'd still consider this mild, though I can understand someone with little tolerance for heat might think of this as "medium". I can also see a few chile pepper seeds on this jerky.
There's also a light natural meat flavor, that tastes similar to sun-dried beef. It's light enough that you probably won't notice it while snacking away. But I can taste it while thinking carefully about the flavors I'm picking up. These piece also have small streaks of fat, and sometimes the taste of that fat is noticeable.
The level of saltiness in this seems moderate, though the other seasonings can cause this to feel saltier than it really is.
I don't really notice the soy sauce that much.
Overall, this jerky offers a nice flavor complexity centered around a worcestershire sauce base, with a trio of black pepper, coriander, dill, and a faint chile pepper burn, along with a light natural meat flavor. It's comparable to tasting a well-seasoned grilled steak that has marinated in worcestershire.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of ranging from three to six inches long.
This is a dry jerky with a dry, woody feel. They have a slight bit of flexibility, but any amount of bending will make these pieces tear apart. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy to do, and ease of chewing ranges between easy to moderate.
The chewing texture starts out feeling coarse and woody, but easily bends and compacts as I chew down. It seems to reduce down to a soft mass in about 15 seconds, and at that point it feels just like a piece of steak, comparable to one cooked well-done.
I can see some small streaks of fat on these pieces, but don't really see any tendon or gristle. While chewing, I do get a fair amount of stringiness, and sometimes I'll end up with a small wad of unchewable tissue.
In terms of clean eating, there's no residue left on my fingertips while handling this jerky, but biting off chunks does cause a fair amount of meat fragments and seasoning to fly off on my lap.
Liberty Jerky sells this Original variety from its website at a price of $5.99 for a 3.5oz bag. Shipping costs from Lincoln, CA to Menifee, CA for five of these bags is $5.70, for a total cost of $35.65. That works out to a price of $2.04 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.04 price per ounce, this seems to provide a good value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability for its good overall flavor, good meat consistency and chewing texture. The $2.04 price per ounce is comparable to what you'd pay for a national brand at the grocery store (when you add on the sales tax), but it's definitely a better jerky.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Original variety from Liberty Jerky offers an experience comparable to eating a seasoned, grilled steak cooked well-done that's been marinated in worcestershire sauce. The worcestershire is the central flavor, with much of the seasoning coming from black pepper, but with surges of flavor from coriander seed, dill, and chile pepper seed in various bites.
It has a good meat consistency for a dry jerky, still easy to eat overall, but still chewy like you'd expect jerky to be, and a steak-like chewing texture. I like the way this meat is cut, into strips and against the grain, as opposed to slab-style.
In comparison to other gourmet brands I've reviewed, this lands somewhere just ahead of the (Liberty) bell curve. It has a good flavor complexity and flavor intensity, but when you look at the flavor components, it's the taste of worcestershire sauce and steak seasoning, which is not unlike other brands I've reviewed. And since I don't really get a strong natural meat flavor, this jerky has to rely on its marinade and seasonings to set itself apart.
For my recommended beer pairing, I think the smokiness of a porter will contrast well against this jerky's flavorings.
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