Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jeff's Gourmet Jerky - Original

jeff's gourmet jerkyJeff's Gourmet Jerky is one of the newest brands of jerky having just launched last week. It's owned by the company of the same name, based out of Big Bear City, CA.

Jeff Richards has been making beef jerky since the 1970s perfecting his recipe year after year. His love for cooking took him into the restaurant business for over 20 years. He currently runs a consulting company called Creative Business Adventures where he helps entrepreneurs achieve success.

Jerky has been one of Jeff's favorite snack foods and in 2006 he started working on creating his own beef jerky brand.

Ingredients

Beef, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, spice, natural smoke flavoring.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a lot of sweet mixed with some saltiness. There's a well evident worcestershire sauce noticeable, and a bit of spiciness.

The chewing flavor starts with an increased mixture of spices and a bit of tanginess, some natural meat flavors, and then a continuation of the worcestershire and sweet.

If any single ingredient seems to weigh more heavily than the others, it's the worcestershire sauce. It's perhaps the flavor that you'd start with when trying to describe the overall flavor. But there's also a heavy sweet flavor that tempers the spiciness of the worcestershire.

In addition, there's a definite tanginess in the chewing, more like a light fruitiness that adds a nice bit of color to the flavor.

There's definitely a level of spiciness in this, enough to give this jerky some punch, but it's not really hot at all. Even though "chili sauce" is listed in the ingredients, I don't find much of any heat in this, though maybe a slight chile pepper flavor. It's mostly a nice blend of spices that tingles the tongue.

I can also pick up a light natural meat flavor, as well as a light fatty flavor due to some noticeable streaks of marbilization.

The level of saltiness in this seems moderate.

Overall, it's a very flavorful jerky with a good deal of flavor complexity starting with a worcestershire sauce flavor mixed with a lot of sweetness. Then there's a light fruity tanginess in the chewing, a good blend of spices, some noticeable natural meat flavors, and a moderate saltiness.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of varying from 3 to 8 inches long, and sliced to a medium thickness.

This is a semi-moist jerky, with a dry but semi-sticky surface feel. These strips are very soft, and very flexible. It's easy to bite chunks off from these strips, and chewing is very easy.

The chewing texture starts off feeling soft and tender with no chewing resistance. It seems to only take about 10 seconds before it's rendered into a soft mass. At that point, it has a steak-like feel, but very soft, not necessarily mushy though.

Most of these strips have noticeable streaks of fat, mostly as marbilized fat. I don't see any tendon or gristle, but I do get a good deal of stringiness, and some of that stringiness remains in my mouth as unchewable wads of tissue.

Even though there's a semi-sticky surface feel, it's not really that messy eating. My fingertips do pick up a faint sticky feel, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard.

gourmet beef jerky

gourmet jerky
Snack Value

Jeff's Gourmet Jerky sells this Original variety from it's website at a price of $20.95 for a 3 pack, with each package at 3oz. Add to that shipping of $6.50, and it works out to a price of $3.05 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.05 per ounce price, it's a decent value. I actually get a lot of snackability for an excellent overall flavor, good meat consistency and decent chewing texture. That price is a lot higher than what you pay for major brands of jerky in grocery stores, but it's a much better flavor and meat consistency.

Rating

I'm giving this a best rating.

This Original variety from Jeff's Gourmet Jerky starts with a clearly discernable worcestershire sauce flavor but tempered with a strong sweetness. Then there's a light fruity tanginess in the chewing along with a blend of spices that keeps the palate perked up.

And even after that, I can still pick up a light natural meat flavor with bit of fatty flavor mixed in. Overall, this jerky gave me the "wow factor" that I look for when I dish out my highest rating.

Then there's a semi-moist meat consistency that I found easy to chew, and a chewing texture that still feels like real meat, though very soft but not necessarily mushy. Perhaps the only negative I ran across is a fair amount of stringiness, in some cases leaving some small wads of unchewable tissue in my mouth.

My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a standard IPA, where the lighter body should cut through the heavy sweetness, and the stronger hops should help emphasize the jerky's seasonings. Try the Stone IPA or if you're in the Big Bear Mountain area, try Big Bear Mountain Brewing's Lil Beaver IPA.

Rating: Best

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