Mike's Country Meats, LLC is a state-inspected beef jerky manufacturer based in Campbellsport, WI. The company has been making jerky since 2002.
It's actually been in operation since 1984 as Mike's Wild Game Processing serving local deer hunters. Slowly over the years business expanded and by 1998 they had constructed a larger facility. In 2002 they opened up their own store selling fresh cuts of meat and sausage, as well as beef jerky. The jerky business took off quickly and soon became the company's primary focus.
Mike's Country Meats offers three flavors in all, this Regular beef jerky, as well as Pepper and Hot Jamaican, which I'll be reviewing all in the coming weeks.
Note: This "Regular Beef Jerky" is also labeled as "Teriyaki Flavor".
Beef, seasoned with: soy sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, natural flavoring, onion salt, garlic salt, black pepper, spices, onion powder, garlic powder.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a well-noticeable worcestershire flavor, with a fair amount of sweetness. There's also a fair amount of saltiness too.
The chewing flavor is largely the same flavor as the surface, with maybe just a touch more definition from the worcestershire.
Considering the package is marked, "Teriyaki Flavor", even though this is sold as the company's Regular flavor, this doesn't have a teriyaki flavor to it. While I can see that there's sugar and soy sauce in the ingredients, for me sugar and soy sauce is not enough to define teriyaki. I need to taste those overtones of flavor that come from sake, mirin wine and ginger, and this doesn't have that.
Otherwise the flavor that seems to define this jerky more than any other is the worcestershire sauce. It's pretty well dominant on the surface flavor and in the chewing. There's a noticeable sweetness mixed into it, and it seems to be spiced with some extra garlic and onion, and a bit of black pepper.
I can also identify a little bit of the soy sauce mixed into the worcestershire. But the worcestershire is still the dominant flavor.
I don't really taste any natural meat flavors in this. Even trying the thicker sliced pieces, I can't say I taste anything resembling the flavors from the meat aside from the worcestershire and seasonings. There isn't any kind of smoky flavor either.
The level of saltiness in this feels like it's at medium.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is mostly worcestershire sauce, but doctored up with a significant sweetness, and with some extra garlic, onion, and black pepper flavor.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into thin slabs, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. Most pieces have a lot of flexibility, being able to bend back on itself with minimal cracking, but some pieces are more rigid and dry, cracking easily. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems mostly easy, some requiring a bit more effort. Chewing seems "chewy" and a bit labored.
The chewing texture is varied, with the more flexible pieces starting off feeling soft and pliable with a fair amount of chewing resistance. They require a fair amount of labored chewing to get down to a soft mass. And by that time, they tend to have a meaty, somewhat steak-like chewing texture.
Meanwhile, the more stiff, dry pieces start out feeling like thin, stiff plastic with a good deal of chewing resistance. They also take more labored chewing to get down to a soft mass, and by that time they don't feel at all like meat, but something mushy.
Some of these pieces have small bits of fat visible on them. The more flexible pieces tend to have more stringiness in them, while the drier, stiff pieces have very little. The flexible pieces also present some unchewable wads of tissue in just about every bite.
In terms of clean eating, it's mostly clean. I get no residue on my fingers handling this jerky, but in tearing pieces apart, I get quite a bit of meat fragments on my lap.
Mike's Country Meats sells this Regular variety from its website at a price of $12.00 for an 8oz package. If you buy three packages, sent to Southern California, the total with shipping works out to $44.00. That works out to $1.83 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.83 per ounce price, this seems to provide a fair value. Even though the flavor seems satisfying, I'm not all that pleased with the chewing texture of this, being labored and somewhat tough, and not much of a steak-like quality. And that price is in the same ballpark as the major brands of jerky.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Regular beef jerky from Mike's Country Meats offers up mainly a sweetened worcestershire sauce flavor, boosted with some extra garlic, onion, and black pepper. Even though it's also marked as "Teriyaki Flavor", it doesn't have a teriyaki flavor at all. I do pick up a bit of soy sauce, but overall this is a worcestershire flavored jerky.
The flavor is actually pleasing, satisfying and good for general jerky snacking purposes. But it's not anything I would consider unique. I don't pick up any natural meat flavors in this, it's pretty much all marinade and seasonings. Compared to the 230+ brands of jerky I've reviewed thus far, I don't see this jerky as having an above average flavor.
The chewing texture tends to be labored, requiring a good deal of chewing to get down to a soft mass. Some pieces are tough, and other pieces are actually rather easy. But overall, there are more "labored" pieces in this package. And I also found a good many pieces with stringiness and unchewable tissues.
My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a lighter bodied brown ale. I think the roasted malt flavor and lighter body will do better with the stronger worcestershire. Try the Newcastle Brown Ale, or the Moose Drool Brown Ale.
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