Next in the series on McDonald's Meats are these Smokey Dried Beef Strips. See my previous review of their Original Beef Jerky.
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. The business was handed down from father to son to grandson. The company offers 22 varieties of jerky, smoked over real wood, and made in their own USDA inspected facility.
These beef strips are different from their beef jerky due to the cut of the meat of course. But the ingredients are the same as the beef jerky I reviewed early. However, the different cut of meat can also alter the flavor of the meat, as well as the consistency & texture.
Beef, water, brown sugar, seasoning (salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, pepper, garlic powder, spice), sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong smoky flavor followed by a saltiness, and just a faint bit of sweet.
The chewing flavor starts with a strong meat flavor, with a bit more saltiness, and the same bit of sweet.
Like with their beef jerky, these beef strips have a strong meat flavor as the central flavor. The meat flavor is very comparable to their beef jerky, but I want to say it has more of a natural meat flavor, and less of the meat-stick or summer sausage flavor that their beef jerky has. I think the thicker pieces of meat tends to retain the natural flavors more than the slab-style cut of McDonald's Meats beef jerky.
I also want to say that these beef strips have a stronger smokiness than the beef jerky. I'm sure McDonald's Meats smokes both the beef jerky and the beef strips, but for whatever reasons, I tend to notice the smokiness more in these strips.
Beyond the meat flavor and smokiness, I'm tasting the same moderate saltiness, the same light touch of sweet, and the same faint bit of garlic that I reported in the beef jerky.
Overall, these Smokey Dried Beef Strips are very much comparable to the company's Beef Jerky, but with a little more of a natural meat flavor and a little more smokiness.
These are slices of whole meat, cut into strips in lengths ranging from 3 to 10 inches, and in thick widths.
These are moist strips of beef, with a wet surface feel. They are very flexible, bending like rubber without cracking apart. The strips are cut with the grain, hence you're biting against the grain when trying to bite off a chunk. And biting off chunks varies from easy to labored. Chewing seems easy to moderate.
The chewing texture starts off with a soft rubbery feel. Some light chewing will cause it down break down and but still has a jerky-like chewiness to it. It seems to chew down to a soft-mass fairly easily and quickly enough. At that point, it chews and feels like a real piece of steak, comparable to one cooked medium-rare.
I can see some small flecks of fat on some strips, but nothing in large amounts. I don't really see any tendon or gristle, and I don't feel any unchewable wads of tissue in my mouth. But I do feel a good deal of stringiness, which may just be something that comes with the territory when you're dealing with thick cut strips like these.
In terms of clean eating, there's a lot of moisture on these strips and requires me to lick my fingers and wipe them on my jeans. But no bits of meat or seasoning flying off as I take bites.
McDonald's Meats sells these Smokey Dried Beef Strips 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, this offers an excellent value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for it's great flavor and it's great meat consistency and texture. That $1.31 price per ounce is cheap compared to national brands of jerky found at the grocery store, yet these beef strips offer greater snackability.
I'm giving this a good rating.
These Smokey Dried Beef Strips from McDonald's Meats offers a strong, yet tasty, natural meat flavor, with a good deal of smokiness. Technically, it's the same set of ingredients as their Original Beef Jerky, but the thick cut strips of beef seems to give off a better meat flavor, and I want to say these have a stronger smokiness.
The way these are cut into strips as opposed to the slab-style cut of their beef jerky seems to increase the snackability, making it easier bite off smaller chunks. And just the fact that I'm getting thick chunks of whole meat seems to satisfy the meat lover in me.
As I continued to eat on, my enjoyment increased, and strip-after-strip I kept reaching for more, craving that strong smoky natural meat flavor and thick chunks of moist beef. My mind drifted off to think "this is five-star material!" But there was still another side of me that wanted an extra "oomph" of seasoning, just some additional flavor complexity to balance the carnal craving with culinary appreciation.
But then again, these Smokey Dried Beef Strips would be excellent dipped into BBQ Sauce!
As for my recommended beer pairing, since these strips seem to have a good deal of smokiness, I'd go with an IPA, particularly the Alesmith IPA, the Russian River Pliny the Elder, or the Stone Ruination IPA.
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