Last year I wrote a review for Cedar Creek Beef Jerky, reviewing their Original variety. Recently the company sent me samples of their Hot, Teriyaki, and Peppered flavors. However, they sent me only 1oz of each flavor, while my Submission Guidelines asked for a minimum of 1.75oz to 2oz in order to write a detailed review.
So with just 1oz of each flavor, I'm going to put more focus on the Taste, and try to do what I can with the Meat Consistency.
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky is based out of El Dorado Springs, MO. The company makes jerky in its own USDA approved facility. Since I wrote the Original review last year, the company had been officially operating as "Cedar Creek Enterprise", but has since dropped that name.
Beef, soy sauce, water, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, chili powder seasoning, soy sauce powder, sugar, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, seasonings (spices, red bell peppers, tomato), red pepper, anchovies, apple cider flavored vinegar, lemon juice, black pepper, oregano, caraway.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a worcestershire flavor with some moderate saltiness. After some sucking, I can pick up some seasoning, and maybe just a hint of spicy heat.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined chile pepper flavor, along with some soy sauce, and a light natural meat flavor.
For being labeled, "Hot", I'm not really finding it all that. There's a light bit of heat in there, but not enough to call it "hot". On my personal hot scale, I'd rank this at a mild-medium (level 2 out of 5), though I tend to have a higher tolerance for hot foods.
The flavor ingredient that seems to dominate this jerky seems to be the worcestershire sauce, which I pick up immediately upon putting a piece into my mouth, and then stays until about half-way through the chewing. At that point, the soy sauce tends to take over. Those two pretty much represent 50% of the flavor.
About 25% comes from a light natural meat flavor and a touch of that liquid smoke. It's more comparable to a cooked meat flavor, like a well-done cooked steak.
The other 25% is a decent showing of chile peppers, and then a light touch of seasoning, which seems to be a mostly a mix of garlic and onion.
There is, of course, the saltiness, which seems to have a medium-high flavor intensity.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is largely the worcestershire sauce initially, and then finishes with the soy sauce. But you'll pick up some natural meat flavors, some chile pepper flavor with a light burn, some garlic & onion seasoning, and a medium-high saltiness.
These slices of whole meat, cut to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. This doesn't quite have the rubbery, soft plastic appearance as the Original variety, but looking more like real pieces of meat. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers is very easy, and chewing seems easy.
The chewing texture starts out with some initial chewing resistance, but not quite as rubbery as the Original variety. It also seems to chew down more easily than the Original. Once down to a soft mass, it tends to chew just like a real steak.
Several of these pieces contain small visible streaks of fat. Some pieces are completely lean. I found no streaks of gristle or tendon. But I did encounter several unchewable wads of tissue.
It's somewhat clean eating. My fingertips remained free of residue, but I found some fragments of meat and chile peppers falling on my lap.
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky sells this Hot beef jerky at a price of $36.00 for two pounds. The shipping is included. That works out to a price of $1.13 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.13 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability due to a satisfactory flavor, easy eating and good chewing texture. Compared to what you'd pay for a major brand of jerky at a grocery store, that price is a lot cheaper, while the snackability seems to be comparable.
As a Hot beef jerky, at the same $1.13 per ounce price, it's a fair value. It's not really "hot", but it does offer a low level of spicy heat, along with a light chile pepper flavor. Still, compared to "hot" offerings from the major labels, you're getting a comparable amount of heat, but at a much lower price. But if you like REALLY HOT beef jerky, then paying $36.00 for two pounds of this stuff is not advisable.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Hot variety from Cedar Creek Beef Jerky doesn't quite stand up to being "hot", at least not to the standards of what most hot beef jerky lovers would want. I imagine it might be hot for folks who like to tempt fate with an order of seasoned fries, but I'm guessing this has to be toned down to meet the tolerance of 80% of snackers.
Compared to the company's Original beef jerky, this seems to be a better jerky in that it has a better meat consistency. This stuff doesn't have that rubbery-plastic feel, and also chews more like real meat. The flavor is also better with the addition of chile peppers.
But overall, I don't really find much in this jerky that I would consider above average. It's a satisfying flavor, a good chew, but I'm just not finding anything in it that would consider above average.
My recommended beer pairing for this would be malty pale ale, try a Firestone Double Barrel Ale.
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