Mama Shew's Gourmet Beef Jerky appears to be run by Sheryl Shew of Longview, WA, at least that's the name that came up when I placed an order.
According to the product literature, the recipe for this Original Black Pepper beef jerky has been in the family for years and "Mama" decided to start selling it to the public, and now does her selling through an eBay store.
Since then she's branched off to several flavors, including a Sesame Garlic that I'll be reviewing later.
The first thing I taste from surface of these pieces is a light saltiness, with what also tastes like a buttery flavor as well, and a light natural meat flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a lot of natural meat flavors, and then followed by garlic and more saltiness. There's just a touch of black pepper noticeable in the back of my mouth.
For being dubbed "Original Black Pepper", I can pick up a light black pepper flavor initially in the back of my mouth. But after eating a few more pieces, it gains a little more strength and builds up an aftertaste that carries through each piece. It really only adds some bite to the overall flavor and not really take any spotlight for itself.
Otherwise the flavor that seems define this jerky is the natural meat flavors. It's very prevalent, and it has this "buttery" flavor mixed into it, as well as a medium-to-high level of saltiness. The flavor of the meat seems comparable to a fried steak, in fact it reminds me of those of "Van Camp's Buttered Beef Steaks" that all the stores used to sell in the 1970s.
The garlic is also quite noticeable in this.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is a strong natural meat flavor with a buttery characteristic to it, and a medium-to-high level of saltiness. The black pepper is easily noticeable though not necessarily strong, and finally a garlic flavor that's hard to miss.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in bite sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a dry but slightly oily surface feel. They still have a good deal of flexibility but will crack a little. Chewing seems moderately easy.
The chewing texture starts out with a fair amount of initial chewing resistance, but is no more chewy than most brands of jerky. It seems to chew down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds and by that time it feels pretty much like a real steak, comparable to one cooked medium-well.
I can see some tiny streaks of fat on some of these pieces, while the others appears to be fat-free. I don't see any gristle or tendon, but found a fair amount of stringiness. I didn't encounter much unchewable wads of tissue.
As for being clean eating, my fingertips pick up a fine film of oil but not enough to require a licking and wiping. I don't find any fragments of meat or seasoning on my lap.
I paid $8.99 for two packages of Mama Shew's jerky, which included 4oz of this Original and 4oz of the Sesame Garlic. Shipping came out to $4.80, bringing the total to $13.79. That works out to a price of $1.72 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.72 per ounce price, this presents a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for a great overall flavor, good meat consistency and good chewing texture. That price is about what you'd pay at the grocery store for the major brands of jerky, and yet this Original Black Pepper offers way more snackability.
As an "Original Black Pepper" beef jerky, at the same $1.72 price per ounce, it's a decent value. I'm getting a fair amount of black pepper flavor, but only after having eaten several pieces. Each individual piece doesn't provide much black pepper flavor, but once you get going with this, it'll build up to a decent amount of flavor.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Original Black Pepper variety from Mama Shew's Beef Jerky gave me the "wow factor" with its strong natural meat flavor, a flavor that incorporates a buttery characteristic that reminded me of how my mom used to fry steaks in the pan with a chunk of butter.
You also get an easily noticeable seasoning combination of salt, black pepper and garlic which doesn't overpower the natural meat flavors, but compliments them nicely.
The bite sized pieces make it easy to snack on, while the chewing is "chewy" but not unlike most brands of jerky. And then add to that a texture that feels just like eating a piece of steak. For you folks who like dry, chewy jerky, Mama Shew's is a good one to try.
My recommended beer pairing for this, the roasted malt from a simple brown ale should go well with the meat flavor. Try the Moose Drool Brown Ale or the Lost Coast Downtown Brown.
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