Next in the series on Liberty Jerky is this Smoke variety. See my previous reviews of their Original, Garlic, and Spicy varieties.
Liberty Jerky is a new brand of beef jerky to hit the market, having opened business in November 2009. The company is based in Lincoln, CA. It was started by the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Ann Browne, who have been making beef jerky for over 20 years.
The name "Liberty Jerky" comes from Bill's middle name, "Liberty", a name that traces back through his family history into the 1700's.
Beef, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, liquid smoke, red pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a worcestershire sauce flavor, followed by a saltiness. A light bit of smokiness is there.
The chewing flavor starts with a slightly more defined worcestershire sauce flavor. After some chewing, I can pick up a spicy tingle, just a touch. I can also detect some black pepper towards the latter part of chewing.
For being advertised as a "Smoke" variety of beef jerky, it doesn't have a strong smokey flavor; there's only a light touch of it mostly noticeable in the first piece I put into my mouth. After eating several pieces, my taste buds seem to have adjusted to the flavor, and it's hard to identify.
The worcestershire sauce is perhaps the strongest flavor in this jerky. It's strong enough that the liquid smoke flavoring just gets lost behind it.
The Montreal Steak Seasoning has a dominant presence as well, mostly through the flavor of coriander seed and black pepper. Here and there, I can pick up some traces of dill. The black pepper eventually builds up a fairly strong aftertaste.
The soy sauce comes through very lightly, mostly through the latter part of chewing.
The saltiness in this seems moderate to high. The Montreal Steak Seasoning may actually make it seem more salty than it really is.
The natural meat flavors are hard to identify. I can pick up light bits of that flavor. It seems the stronger worcestershire and steak seasoning blot out much of that flavor. However, some pieces have streaks of fat that contribute a beefier flavor.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is largely the combination of worcestershire sauce, black pepper, coriander seed, and fair amount of saltiness. The smoke flavor is only noticeable in the first piece I ate, after that the other stronger flavors blotted it out and made it difficult to notice.
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 Smoke 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.
As a "Smoke" variety of beef jerky, at the same $2.04 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I only get a light smokey flavor in the first piece I ate, and after that the stronger worcestershire and steak seasoning took over and made it difficult to identify.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Smoke variety of beef jerky from Liberty Jerky has only a light smokey flavor, and was only recognizable in the first piece I ate. After eating several pieces, the stronger worcestershire and Montreal Steak Seasoning dominated my taste buds and made it difficult to notice the smoke flavor.
I'm sure if I ate this jerky side-by-side with Liberty's Original variety, I could taste the smokiness easily. Nonetheless, it's still hard to notice on it's own through the worcestershire and steak seasoning.
Otherwise, this jerky is pretty much like Liberty's Original variety in terms of taste and meat consistency. It's a little chewy, but still overall easy if you take your time with it, and it has a good steak-like chewing texture. But like the Original variety, it's lacking that extra dimension of flavor to push it up over the top. The addition of smoke flavor just wasn't enough for me.
For my recommended beer pairing, I'm still going with the porter. The smokiness of the roasted malt will compliment this jerky well.
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