Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mountain Trail Beef Jerky - Black Pepper Traditional Cut

mountain trail beef jerkyNext in the series on Mountain Trail Beef Jerky, is this Black Pepper Traditional Cut variety. See last week's review of their Honey Smoked Traditional Cut.

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. John smokes his jerky 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 last week's Honey Smoked Traditional Cut, I also have his Black Peppered Jerky Stix to review next week.


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 faint smokiness, and a touch of sweet, and a light saltiness.

The chewing flavors start with a bit more saltiness and a weak soy sauce flavor. The black pepper starts showing up further into the chewing.

For being marketed as a Black Pepper variety, the black pepper flavor seems light on the first initial piece, but after some chewing the flavor starts coming in, and by the time I've had a few more pieces, a well-noticeable black pepper aftertaste lingers.

The teriyaki marinade is not very well noticeable, in that I don't really taste the unique flavor of teriyaki, aside from a very light sweetness. The soy sauce in the teriyaki is lightly noticeable.

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. There's also a lightly noticeable buttery flavor.

The level of saltiness in this feels medium.

The garlic & onion powder is not very noticeable.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this the most is a black pepper flavor followed by a medium level saltiness. After that it's touches of soy sauce, sweet, and a buttery flavor.

Meat Consistency

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 chewy, but somewhat easy.

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 feels very much like a real piece of steak, cooked well-done.

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.

black pepper beef jerky

peppered beef jerky
Snack Value

Mountain Trail sells this Black Pepper 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 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 Black Pepper variety, at the same $1.81 per ounce price, it's a good value. I do get a lot of black pepper flavor that builds up after several pieces, comparable to what you'd get in the major brands of jerky.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This Black Pepper Traditional Cut from Mountain Trail Beef Jerky delivers a reasonable amount of black pepper flavor, enough to satisfy the black pepper jerky lovers out there. But aside from that, I don't find anything else exciting about this other than a moderate saltiness. There's no natural meat flavors and very little smokiness to detect.

Compared to the Honey Smoked Traditional Cut I reviewed last week, this Black Pepper seems a little better due to a more steak-like chewing texture. I think the heavier sweetness of the Honey Smoked made the chewing more gummy or plastic-like, and may have even made it a tad more tough. This Black Pepper is easier to chew.

But when compared to all the other black peppered jerky brands I've had it still comes off as a rather ordinary jerky.

I think a good beer pairing for this is a brown ale. The heavier malt flavor will pair well with this. Try the Lost Coast Downtown Brown, or the Big Sky Moose Drool.

Rating: Average

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  • No longer in production!


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