Next in the series on Cedar Creek Beef Jerky is this Peppered variety. See my previous reviews of their Hot beef jerky and Original beef jerky.
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky is based out of El Dorado Springs, MO. The company was started in 1990 by Terrance M. Ebeltoft who died last year. It's now owned by his wife, and ran by his wife's son. The company makes jerky in its own USDA approved facility, uses home made ovens.
Cedar Creek says they make jerky in "the foothills of the Missouri Ozark Mountains", using only locally produced beef, or beef produced in the USA. The company claims they, "literally make their jerky one piece at a time.
Beef, water, wheat, soybeans, salt, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, soy concentrate, liquid smoke, sugar, black pepper, vegetables (onion, garlic, shallot), chili pepper, anchovies, red bell pepper, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, spices and flavoring, celery seed, tomato.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a soy sauce flavor with a moderate amount of saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined soy sauce flavor, a touch of sweet, and some black pepper. There's also a light natural meat flavor noticeable.
For being labeled as "Peppered", it does have an easily noticeable black pepper flavor, but not a strong one. It seems to be enough of a level where I can taste it throughout the chewing, and leaves behind a noticeable aftertaste.
But I'd have to say the soy sauce is the dominant flavor of this jerky, pretty much sitting front and center as soon as I put a piece into my mouth and lasting all throughout the chewing. The black pepper only adds a splash of color behind it.
The natural meat flavors show through in this, unlike what I found in the company's Original variety, where I didn't find any. Perhaps since Cedar Creek is now under new management they may have made some changes, I don't know for sure. I can actually pick up a little bit of a fatty flavor too, which seems to create more of that "beefy" flavor overall.
The level of saltiness in this feels high, but still not quite to the point of being too high for my tolerance.
The seasonings listed in the ingredients lists are not as noticeable as they were in the company's Hot variety that I reviewed last week. It seems to be mostly salt and black pepper that I taste.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is mostly the soy sauce, with a high saltiness, some black pepper, and a light natural meat flavor.
These slices of whole meat, cut to a medium thickness, and in small pieces.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. The pieces have some flexibility but will crack open with some bending. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy, and chewing seems moderate.
The chewing texture starts out with a fair amount of initial chewing resistance, but it doesn't really require any heaving chewing to break down. It seems chews down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds, and at that point it tends to feel just like a real steak.
Several of these pieces contain small visible streaks of fat. Some pieces are completely lean. I found one piece with a streak of gristle, but no 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 pepper bits falling on my lap.
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky sells this Peppered 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 Peppered beef jerky, at the same $1.13 per ounce price, it's a decent value. It's has a fair amount of peppery flavor that seems to last all throughout the chewing, but it doesn't really dominate. Peppered jerky from Jack Link's or Oberto seem to provide more peppery flavor, though at a higher price. But overall, I think this one from Cedar Creek provides a good balance of pepper.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Peppered variety from Cedar Creek Beef Jerky provides an easily noticed black pepper flavor that seems to last all throughout the chewing, but yet doesn't overwhelm you. It's actually the soy sauce that provides much of the flavor in this jerky, and its associated saltiness feels somewhat high.
There's also a fair amount of natural meat flavor in this, and even a touch of fatty flavor, to help round out an overall satisfactory taste. Combined with a decent chewing texture, and somewhat easy to eat consistency, it's a good contender against the major brands of peppered jerky.
But overall, I still don't find anything in this that would make me consider it above average. It has a nice flavor and a nice chewing experience, but nothing that really strikes me as being good or great.
My recommended beer pairing for this, stick with a lighter bodied brown ale, like the Newcastle Brown Ale, or the Lost Coast Downtown Brown.
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