Montana Jerky Co. is a brand of Vandevanter Meats, Inc. based out of Columbia Falls, MT. Vandevanter Meats also does game and livestock meat processing.
The company says they use beef from young steer (not cows or bulls), explaining that it provides a more tender and pleasing jerky. They also make heavy reference to their jerky as "Grand Champion" jerky, explaining that it wins awards every year.
They make five different flavors of beef jerky, including a sixth buffalo jerky. I only have this Original beef jerky and their Hot beef jerky, which I'll review later.
Beef, salt, sugar, spices, monosodium glutamate, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smoky and salty flavor, with some oily taste mixed in.
The chewing flavor reveals an increased saltiness, and a bit of a natural meat flavor. I can pick up a light spiciness.
The overall flavor of this Original variety seems to be salt. I don't see a nutrition facts label on this package, so I don't really know what the sodium content is, but it seems to have a high saltiness. But that could also be because there isn't much else to taste in this.
After chewing a few more pieces, there's a black pepper flavor that creeps up and provides more taste interest. But still, the saltiness remains the dominant flavor.
I also don't see anything on here suggesting it was real wood smoked, or had liquid smoke added. But yet that first bite I took seemed to provide a light smoky flavor.
The natural meat flavors in this are light, and light enough to where you may not notice it all due to the higher saltiness. But some pieces did provide a stronger flavor, and I also chewed into some pieces where I could pick up an older, or slightly stale meat flavor. Just for the record, I don't see a "best if eaten by" date on this package.
There's a lot of oil on the surface of these pieces and they do add a bit of flavor and coats the inside of my mouth.
Even though sugar is listed in the ingredients, I don't really taste any sweet. Also, the garlic is hard to notice on its own.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is a high amount of saltiness, a fair amount of black pepper, and some light natural meat flavors.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of about four to seven inches long, about half-inch wide, and sliced thin to medium.
This is a dry jerky, but with an oily surface feel. The strips are very flexible, bending all the way around without cracking. Biting chunks off requires a bit of effort, but still isn't laborious. Chewing seems a little more easy, but still chewy.
The chewing texture starts out with a fair amount of chewing resistance. About 10 seconds of biting and chewing and it starts to break down. Another 15 seconds of chewing and it chews down to a soft mass. At that point, it feels very much like a piece of steak, perhaps cooked medium-well.
Most of the strips appear to be very lean, but I found some with a fair amount of fat. I didn't find any with gristle or tendon, but I did encounter some stringiness in biting off chunks and in chewing. No unchewable wads of tissues found.
As for clean eating, there's a fair amount of oil on my fingertips everytime I handle a piece. I have to lick my fingers and wipe them on my jeans.
Montana Jerky Co. sells this Original beef jerky from their website at a price of $10.00 per 8oz package. If you bought two packages, the shipping comes to $9.00, if shipped to Southern California. That works out to a price of $1.81 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.81 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability, mostly for a good meat consistency and chewing texture, and less for its flavor. That price is actually the same as what you'd pay for major brands of jerky at a grocery store, and it seems to offer the same snackability.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original beef jerky from Montana Jerky Co. is rather salty, with a fair amount of black pepper flavor and a light natural meat flavor. I think it would be more enjoyable with less salt, and perhaps that would help make the meat flavor more noticeable.
It has a good meat consistency, being chewy, but not difficult to eat, and having a steak-like chewing texture. It's rather oily to touch, if you're concerned about keeping your fingers clean. But I think the meat consistency is this jerky's best quality.
Otherwise, I wasn't able to find anything that made this jerky above average. It has a basic level of snackability, and gives you nothing special to savor or enjoy. But still seems to pass muster as a decent jerky. Compared to the other 200 brands of jerky I've reviewed, it's pretty much in the middle of the pack.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with something heavier on malt, try a brown ale, like a Lost Coast Downtown Brown, or a Newcastle Brown Ale.
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