Cherry's Bad Ass Beef Jerky is run by Cherry Kelln of Dallas, TX. Cherry started making jerky several years ago and then after going jobless decided to make a business out of making jerky.
It's a new business, with Cherry launching an e-commerce website only last June. She also sells her jerky at various social events around North Texas and even at friends' garage sales.
This Mild variety is described by her as "ultra flavorful and slightly twangy", and admitting that it needs a better name than just "mild". She also offers a Spicy variety and a Cherryaki. I'll be reviewing all three over the next couple of weeks.
None provided, but a blog post at Thrillist says she uses a marinade base of cayenne powder, worcestershire, soy, and liquid smoke.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light meaty flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a light saltiness and a faint natural meat flavor as well a light oily flavor. It then moves on with a light tanginess that shows some signs of worcestershire sauce and a touch of spiciness. Towards the end I can pick up a light soy sauce.
For being dubbed "Mild", it's kinda tough to describe this that way unless you're comparing it to something else more hot. After eating several pieces of this jerky I am in fact getting a light burn in the back of my mouth, but it's still too light to consider this jerky as having any heat. I'd just refer to it as a spiciness.
But in terms of flavor it actually has a lot of flavor, it's just like a combination of several light flavors that manage to build up enough strength together to give this a fair amount of snackability.
If any single flavor characteristic seems to define this jerky its the tanginess in the chewing. It comes about a few seconds in and then it manages to define itself somewhat as worcestershire sauce. But before that worcestershire can define itself completely the flavor wears off and shows a bit of the soy sauce before that too wears off.
The natural meat flavors are lightly noticeble primarily in the first few seconds of chewing, just before that tanginess sets in. It resembles a well-cooked flavor, almost like overly-cooked meat.
The level of saltiness in this seems to sit between light to medium.
Overall what you're going to notice in this is a tangy chewing that stems from a light worcestershire flavor that never seems to pronounce itself fully as worcestershire. You'll get a light natural meat flavor initially, and a light soy sauce towards the end of chewing, and a light spiciness in the back of your mouth.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in medium to large slabs.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. These slabs are so dry that they're actually crunchy and brittle with no flexibility. Biting off a chunk is very easy to do, while chewing is initially easy but tends to toughen up towards the end.
The chewing texture starts out feeling light, crispy and brittle, and thereby easy to chew down to a soft mass due to this jerky's thinly sliced slabs. And once I get it chewed down to a soft mass, the meat fibers tends to compact into a tougher, and still dry chew. At this point, it can vary from feeling grainy and powdery, to feeling like an overcooked steak.
I do see a good deal of fat on most pieces and I also found significant streaks of gristle on many others. The fat actually adds a light oily flavor, and it can relieve some of the dry chewing. And due to how dry and crispy this jerky is the gristle didn't seem to create any rubbery chew.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers don't seem to pick up any residue though this jerky's brittle nature can drop some tiny meat fragments on my lap.
Cherry's Bad Ass Beef Jerky sells this Mild variety from its website at a price of $15.00 for a 4oz package. I bought three packages, one of each flavor. Add to that shipping costs of $9.00 and it brings the total to $54.00 for 12oz of jerky. That works out to $4.50 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $4.50 per ounce price, it's a poor value. I'm getting a small amount of snackability mostly for its crunchy texture and overall satisfactory flavor. But that price is extremely expensive, perhaps among the most expensive jerky brands I've ever evaluated, and I'm not getting any better snackability than the big name brands, which I can get for $1.70 to $2.00 per ounce.
Even if I subtract out the shipping costs, my purchase would still cost $3.75 per ounce, which you can see is still very high.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Mild variety from Cherry's Bad Ass Beef Jerky is a dry, thinly sliced jerky that provides an overall satisfying flavor defined largely by a tangy chewing that stems from a light bit of worcestershire. For being dubbed "Mild", it's not really that so in that there's a good deal of flavor to this jerky, and even a light spicy burn in the back of my mouth. If Cherry is in need of a better name, perhaps "Tangy".
The crispy-crunchy meat consistency seems to make for some fun snacking in general, but some pieces were too crunchy almost like eating Pringles, and in one case was so crunchy it was like peanut-brittle. And even when it does chew down to a soft mass it's still rather dry and mostly crumbly like eating sawdust and not anything like eating real beef.
I think the flavor competes well against the Jack Link's and Oberto's of the industry, but the significant quantity of fat and gristle is something I don't see very often. Perhaps that's the way Cherry likes it, and that's cool. But considering I paid $4.50 an ounce for this, I want the fat and gristle trimmed off.
And all throughout eating this I couldn't help thinking of Robertson's Real Beef Jerky, or Love's Truck Stop Jerky, it has a similar meat consistency with a similar crunchy chew and the same light natural meat flavor. Though Robertson's tends to chew more like real steak, while Cherry's tends to have more flavor.
My recommended beer pairing for this, I'd stick with a simple pale ale, like the Stone Pale Ale or the Sierra Nevada, the malt flavor should add a touch of sweet to this non-sweet jerky, while the medium hops should bring out a little more flavor.
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