Mountain Trail Beef Jerky is a homemade brand owned by John Murphy of Prospect Heights, IL. Murphy sells his jerky through his own eBay store, as well as through local bars and farmers' markets.
His product literature says he smokes his jerky in his backyard in a smoker he built, and that making jerky has been a hobby of his for 12 years now. He has five flavors (teriyaki, red pepper, black peppered, habanero, and honey smoked), along with three meat cuts to choose from (Tradional cut with the grain, Cross-cut against the grain, and Jerky Stix). All flavors have a teriyaki base marinated for 24 hours.
The following review is based on jerky that I purchased from his eBay store. Along with this Honey Smoked Traditional Cut, I also have his Black Peppered Traditional Cut, and his Black Pepper Jerky Stix to review in the coming weeks.
Beef, teriyaki sauce, onion & garlic powder, black pepper, salt, sodium chloride, sodium nitrite, other seasonings.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smokiness plus a sweetness. There's a light oily flavor, and then a light saltiness coming in afterwards. Finally, a faint honey flavor shows up.
The chewing flavors start with a more defined honey flavor, a slightly stronger sweetness, and something of a buttery flavor.
For being labeled as "Honey Smoked", it seems to fit that bill. I do taste a honey flavor. It's not just a sweetness, which there's plenty of, but the actual flavor of honey as well. And the smokiness is noticeable on the surface of these pieces, particularly with the first piece I tried. After that first piece, the smokiness tends to become more difficult to notice, but I can still pick it out if I think hard about what I'm tasting.
The honey flavor, along with its sweetness, seems to generate much of the flavor of this jerky. There's a "buttery" character to this jerky that's also dominant, and makes me wonder if butter or butter flavoring was used.
The teriyaki marinade is not very well noticeable, in that I don't really taste the unique flavor of teriyaki, aside from a sweetness.
I don't taste any natural meat flavors either, aside from a light oily flavor, as well a light fatty flavor on some pieces with fat streaks.
The saltiness in this feels light.
The garlic & onion powder is not very noticeable, nor is the black pepper.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is mostly a sweet honey flavor and a buttery flavor, with a light saltiness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into thin slabs, and in medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a lightly oily surface feel. These slabs are very flexible, being able to bend all the way back on itself without any cracking. Tearing strips off of these slabs with my fingers seems easy to do. Ease of chewing seems somewhat tough, quite chewy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff but pliable, like soft plastic, and with a good deal of initial chewing resistance. After several chews, it starts to break down. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it doesn't feel much at all like real meat. It still has a chewy, plastic-like feel, just more soft.
Most of these slabs have visible streaks of fat which add a fatty, beefy flavor. I don't see any gristle or tendon. I didn't encounter any stringiness, and no unchewable wads of tissue.
As for clean eating, handling these slabs leave my fingertips with a light film of oil, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard. I don't find any meat fragments falling off as I tear strips off.
Mountain Trail sells this Honey Smoked Traditional Cut from its eBay Store at a price of $10.95 for an 8oz package. I bought two packages, of which shipping comes to $7.00. That works out to a total of $28.90, which comes to a price of $1.81 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.81 price per ounce, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability for an overall satisfactory flavor, decent meat consistency and an "ok" chewing texture. That price is pretty much the same as what you'd pay for a major brand of jerky at the grocery store, and this jerky seems to provide a comparable snackability.
As a Honey Smoked variety, at the same $1.81 per ounce price, it's a good value. I do get a well noticeable honey flavor as well as a lot of sweetness. I also get a light smoky flavor, though it tends to get lost in the chewing.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Honey Smoked Traditional Cut from Mountain Trail Beef Jerky delivers pretty well on the Honey with a well-noticeable honey flavor and sweetness, but less so with the smoky part having just a light smokiness most noticeable on the surface flavors. There's a nice butter character to the flavor, though no natural meat flavors to enjoy.
This jerky ends up tasting rather bland due to a light saltiness, and very little seasoning to notice. Perhaps a touch more salt, and bit more black pepper would help add a nice contrast to the warm, fuzzy honey, sweet, and butter flavor.
As it is, the toughness of this Traditional Cut requires a fair amount of chewing and yet I'm not rewarded for my efforts with any bold flavor. I'm sure Mountain Trail's Cross-cut would be easier to chew, and perhaps that's what you might want to try.
I think a good beer pairing for this is a simple IPA, where the lighter malt shouldn't conflict with this jerky's sweetness, and the stronger hops should help intensify it's overall flavor. Try the Stone IPA or the Sierra Nevada Torpedo.
Buy this online:
- No longer in production!