Vermont Beef Jerky Co. is a brand recommended to me by a regular reader and follower of this blog's Facebook page.
The company is based in Orleans, VT and makes jerky in their own USDA inspected facility. They make four varieties including this Original, as well as a Maple & Spice, Hickory Smoked, and a Teriyaki. All but the Teriyaki are said to be hickory smoked.
In addition to the Original, I also have the Maple & Spice to review next week.
Beef, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, flavorings, mustard powder, red pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smoky flavor followed quickly by a light saltiness, and a faint bit of soy sauce.
The chewing flavors start with a more defined soy sauce flavor, and then a bit of the worcestershire flavor becomes noticeable. The saltiness picks up a bit more.
For being the company's Original flavor, this has a mild flavor that seems to be defined mostly as soy sauce, and then lesser on worcestershire. The soy sauce is noticeable quickly as I start chewing, but the worcestershire takes a little longer to notice, perhaps as the soy sauce wears off.
The other noticeable flavor is the saltiness, which seems to sit at a medium level in the first couple of pieces, but seems to build up strength over several more pieces and eventually it gets to where it's almost the strongest flavor.
For being hickory smoked, the smokiness is light, mostly detectable on the very first piece I eat. After several pieces, it's more difficult to notice, though I can still notice traces of it when I think hard about what I'm tasting.
The natural meat flavors are difficult to notice. Some pieces seem to give out more flavor than others, but still, they are mostly hidden by the stronger soy sauce and saltiness. Some pieces contain small pieces of fat which adds a noticeable fatty flavor.
The mustard powder is largely not noticeable except for a faint bit of pungency off the surface flavors. The red pepper is not noticeable at all.
Overall, what you're going to notice is a soy sauce flavor which eventually gives way to a lighter worcestershire flavor. There's a considerable saltiness, and just a touch of smokiness.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small bite sized pieces, with about half the pieces being very small.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. They have a pliable, soft plastic-like flexibility. Chewing seems to be chewy, but not tough, still somewhat easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling like soft pliable plastic with a fair amount of chewing resistance. With some chews it finally breaks apart and then quickly chews down to a soft mass. At that point it feels very much like real meat, and rather steak-like.
Some pieces have small bits of fat on them, but I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon. Because these pieces are cut into small and very small pieces, I don't really pick up any stringiness and found no unchewable wads of tissue.
In terms of clean eating, it's very clean with no residue on my fingertips and no bits of meat fragments falling on my lap, also due to the bite-sized pieces.
Vermont Beef Jerky Co sells this Original variety from their website at a price of $4.00 for a 4oz bag. I bought four bags in all, which includes two of this Original and two of their Maple & Spice. Shipping costs came out to $5.00 for a total of $21.00. That works out to $1.31 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes at the $1.31 price per ounce, this jerky offers a decent value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability for a satisfactory flavor and good meat consistency. It's only because it's priced considerably less than a Jack Link's or an Oberto brand that it's a decent value, otherwise the flavor, meat consistency, and snackability are comparable.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original variety from Vermont Beef Jerky Co. provides an overall decent flavor mostly through a soy sauce and a lighter amount of worcestershire, and then a medium to high level of saltiness. There really isn't much else to taste in this; there are light touches of natural meat flavor, and then a fatty flavor where a chunk of fat is visible. Considering the package is labeled "Hickory Smoked", there's very little smokiness to taste.
The flavor of this jerky just doesn't provide any excitement for me. The flavors of soy sauce mixed with worcestershire is utilized by many other brands, except this one doesn't offer anything else to set itself apart from those brands. It seems to have enough flavor to keep me snacking away, but there's nothing to this that makes it above average.
The bite sized pieces make it convenient to snack, but it seems about half the contents of this packages are very small, to the point where they're like bits, and I'm having to pour them into hand to eat at once.
I think a good beer pairing for this is a lighter bodied, more refreshing brown ale, like a Newcastle Brown Ale, or a Moose Drool Brown Ale.
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