Continuing the series on Mountain Ranch Jerky is this Original Peppered Beef variety. Read my reviews of their other flavors.
Mountain Ranch Jerky is a brand of Mountain Ranch Smokehouse located in Fruitland, UT. The company is mostly known for its jerky products, but also smokes hams and turkeys, and makes meat sticks too. They also have a restaurant where you can get yourself a burger or steak.
Mountain Ranch claims that all their jerky is cut by hand, and smoked over real mesquite wood. They make jerky in their own USDA inspected facility.
Beef, salt, hydrolyzed corn, soy/wheat gluten protein, onion/garlic powder, spice, black pepper, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, followed by a saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with a garlic & onion seasoning flavor, which includes a stronger saltiness. There's a light amount of natural meat flavors.
For being advertised as an "Original Peppered" beef jerky, there's a black pepper flavor noticeable in this, but not overwhelming. I'd put it at a moderate amount. But it also depends on what part of these pieces you take a bite from. Some parts are heavily peppered, and others have hardly any. All the black pepper flavor comes where you get a heavy sprinkling of pepper.
Otherwise, the dominant flavor of this jerky is actually the garlic & onion seasoning. It's not until I start chewing that this flavor bursts open and takes over my tongue. The black pepper only adds some bite to the overall flavor.
The natural meat flavors do make a showing in this Original Peppered variety, but not nearly as dominant as it is with Mountain Ranch's Original variety. It has some smokiness mixed in.
The level of saltiness in this seems on the high side, but not too much.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is largely the garlic & onion seasoning, with a high degree of saltiness, some smoky natural meat flavor, and a light bit of black pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky, but having an oily surface feel, perhaps due to the vacuum packaging drawing the oils up to the surface. The pieces have a bit of flexibility, but easily crack apart with little bending. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers is easy to do, and chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, but can be easily bent and chewed down. It takes about 15 seconds before it's rendered into a soft mass. At that point, it feels just like chewing a steak, cooked well-done, but not quite as dry.
I can see some streaks of fat on one of the slabs, while the other appears fat free. I didn't encounter any gristle or tender, or wind up with any unchewable wads of tissue, but I do feel a fair amount of stringiness.
As for clean eating, handling this jerky leaves some sticky oils on my fingertips, enough that I have to lick and wipe them off before touching my keyboard. I also get some bits of black pepper flying off as I tear pieces apart.
Mountain Ranch Smokehouse sells this Original Peppered beef jerky from its website at a price of $5.99 for a 3.5oz package. I bought six packages, each a different variety, with $2.99 shipping, which brings a total of $38.93. That works out to a price of $1.85 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.85 price per ounce, it seems to be a good value. I get a fair amount of snackability due to an overall good flavor, though not as much natural meat flavors as I found in the Original variety. But it has a good meat consistency and chewing texture. That price is the same as what you'd pay for major brands of jerky at the grocery store, yet it seems to provide better snackability.
As an "Original Peppered" beef jerky, at the same $1.85 price per ounce, it's a fair value. Overall, I only get a light amount of black pepper flavor despite the heavier sprinkling of pepper.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Original Peppered beef jerky from Mountain Ranch Jerky is comparable to their Original beef jerky in that it offers largely the same overall flavor but with some added black pepper. It's largely based around a garlic & onion seasoning. However, where this gives you some added black pepper flavor, it seems to have less of the smoky natural meat flavors found in the Original.
The amount of black pepper flavor in this jerky is actually at a light amount. It may not be enough for some of your peppered jerky lovers. But I managed to get some decent flavor from those parts of the slabs heavier with the sprinkling.
And like with Mountain Ranch's other flavors, this jerky has a good meat consistency being chewy, but not too much, and having meaty, steak-like chewing texture.
Overall this jerky has some good flavor and chewing, but nothing that's going to "wow" you or excite you.
For my recommended beer pairing, something fruity should contrast this jerky's sugar-free nature. Try some of the apricot ales out there such as the Pyramid Audacious Apricot Ale, or the Cascade Apricot Ale.
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