Lando's Jerky is run by Alex Landers of Chicago, IL. He says he's been making jerky for years and started selling it to his co-workers. Since then he's set up an eBay store and is now selling it to everyone.
All of his jerky is made fresh to order using USDA choice grade angus from his local meat market, marinates for 24 hours, and then finally slow-cooks and smokes it for 6 hours.
I bought two flavors to review, this Hickory and the Garlic Pepper. Alex also has two other flavors, Inferno and Sweet & Spicy.
None provided, however his product literature says all his flavors are made with base ingredients of teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, black pepper and garlic powder.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a saltiness which quickly defines itself as soy sauce flavor, but with a touch of sweet.
The chewing flavor starts with a more defined soy sauce, and a slight bit more sweet. There's also a faint touch of seasoning noticeable back there.
For being labeled as "Hickory", I don't really taste any hickory smoke in this, or at least nothing that comes out and really defines itself as a smokiness. If I didn't know that Alex was smoking this I wouldn't be able to tell.
Otherwise the flavor that comes through in this the most is the soy sauce. But there's also a lightly noticeable sweetness that perhaps comes from the teriyaki sauce, and I think I can even taste some of the teriyaki itself too. But it's really the soy sauce that is most noticeable over any other ingredient.
The seasoning in this very light. Bits of black pepper can be seen on these pieces but they add only a light flavor. The garlic doesn't have any kind of pronounced flavor, but I can tell it has an influence on the overall flavor.
The natural meat flavors are overall light. Some of the thicker strips did provide a more noticeable flavor however. The heavy layer of oil on the surface seems to add more flavor than the meat itself.
The level of saltiness in this feels about medium-high.
What you're going to taste in this jerky is largely a soy sauce flavor mixed with a lighter teriyaki sweetness, along with a light black pepper and lighter garlic. You'll also notice an overall light natural meat flavor, and a fair amount of oily flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips of medium thickness, and in lengths ranging between 2 to 10 inches.
This is a dry jerky with an oily surface feel. The strips are able to bend a full 180 degrees without cracking mostly because the grains run lengthwise. Biting off chunks requires a little effort in biting and tearing, while chewing feels chewy and varies between easy and somewhat tough.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff with a fair amount of chewing resistance. Chewing is a little labored at first, but it seems to chew down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds. At that point, it feels pretty much a real steak, comparable to one cooked medium-well.
I found small streaks of fat on some of these strips, but most strips appear to be free of fat, gristle and tendon. I did find a fair amount of stringiness, but not really all that bad. I didn't encounter any sizeable wads of unchewable tissues.
These strips are also quite oily to the touch and require me to lick and wipe my fingers before touching my keyboard. But I find no fragments of meat or seasoning falling off.
Lando's Jerky sells this Hickory variety at a price of $13.95 for an 8oz package. I wasn't charged for shipping. That works out to a price of $1.74 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.74 price per ounce, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability for an overall satisfying flavor, good meat consistency and great chewing texture. Considering that price is about the same as what you'd pay for the major brands of jerky at a grocery store, I think you're getting a comparable or slightly better snackability.
As a Hickory beef jerky, at the same $1.74 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I'm not really getting any hickory flavor or any sense that this was smoked.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Hickory beef jerky from Lando's Jerky didn't provide me with enough hickory flavor that I could notice or easily detect. It did however provide a flavor that I think is better than the original varieties of the big national brands, but in comparison to the 200+ brands of jerky I've reviewed thus far, I still don't see it as above average.
While it's an overall satisfying flavor, I don't really find much in this that makes it exceptionally good or substantially different than the other brands. For the most part, it seems to be a soy sauce flavor that I get with a medium-high saltiness. There's a natural meat flavor in this, but it tends to be light in the thinner strips, though more noticeable in the thicker. In some cases I tasted the heavy surface oil more than the meat.
The meat consistency and chewing texture are perhaps this jerky's best qualities. It has the chewiness you expect in jerky, though maybe slightly more chewy. But it has a chewing texture that feels like a real steak. Just be prepared to do a lot of finger licking.
I think a good beer pairing for this is a light brown ale, go with a Newcastle Brown Ale or the Moose Drool Brown Ale.
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