Next in the series on Wilderville's Country Beef Jerky is this Black Pepper Teriyaki variety. See my previous reviews of their Original, Black Pepper, and Teriyaki varieties.
Wilderville's Country Beef Jerky is a small, USDA inspected meat processor based in Grants Pass, OR.
The company was started by Jim and Sally Lawson in August 2008 with the goal of making beef jerky that tastes great and is not hard to chew. Launching the new business allowed Jim to come off the road from long haul trucking after more than 30 years. The Lawsons sell their beef jerky at farmers markets and from their website.
Beef, Marinate (water, wheat, soybeans, black pepper, salt, wine, distilled vinegar, brown sugar, onion, corn syrup, garlic, succinic acid, and sodium benzoate).
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness followed quickly by a black pepper flavor. There's a touch of teriyaki flavor noticeable.
The chewing flavor starts with more sweetness, but with a more noticeable teriyaki and soy sauce flavor. I can pick up very light amounts of natural meat flavor.
For being labeled as "Black Pepper Teriyaki", it certainly fits the bill as a Black Peppered jerky. That sharp bite of black pepper comes on almost immediately and then builds up its intensity over several pieces, and creates a strong aftertaste.
But the teriyaki part is questionable. I do taste a teriyaki flavor, but it's more like sweetened soy sauce. The overtones of flavor that normally come from teriyaki ingredients like ginger, sake, and wine don't really show up, and those are the flavors I tend to look for when determining how well a teriyaki jerky delivers.
Otherwise, the flavor that dominates this jerky is the black pepper. The teriyaki tries to be the dominant flavor, but after eating several pieces the black pepper seems to build up enough strength that it's seems to take the greater share of attention.
The natural meat flavors are very light in this, and perhaps are not as noticeable until the latter part of chewing, after the teriyaki has worn off some.
The level of saltiness in this feels like it at a medium intensity.
Overall, what you're going to notice is a strong black pepper flavor, then a sweetened soy sauce flavor playing second-fiddle.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into strips ranging from two to six inches in length, and in thin slices.
This is a dry jerky, with a faint oily surface feel. These strips are very flexible, bending all the way back on itself without cracking. Biting off chunks seems easy to do, while chewing also seems easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender. Just a few light chews and it breaks apart easily. It chews down to a soft mass with little effort, and at that point it has a meaty feel, but not really like a piece of steak. It's a little on the crumbly side.
I do see streaks of fat on a few of these strips, but they don't seem to contribute any flavor, and they don't offer up any rubbery chewing. I didn't find any gristle or tendon, and only sparing amounts of stringiness, and nothing unchewable.
In terms of clean eating, these strips leave behind light amounts of oil on my fingers, enough to require licking and wiping before touching my keyboard.
Wilderville's Country Beef Jerky sells this Black Pepper Teriyaki variety from its website at a price of $6.00 for a 3.5oz package. If you bought 5 packages, the shipping comes to $7.50 if sent to Southern California. That works out to a price of $2.14 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.14 price per ounce, this seems to offer a decent value. I get an average amount of snackability for an overall good flavor, good meat consistency, easy eating, and average chewing texture. That price is a little bit higher than what I'd end up paying for a major brand of jerky at the grocery store, but offers a little more snackability.
As a Black Pepper Teriyaki beef jerky, at the same $2.14 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I get lots of black pepper flavor, and plenty of cracked pepper bits. But the teriyaki flavor tastes more like sweetened soy sauce, and is missing those additional overtones of flavor that defines teriyaki.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Black Pepper Teriyaki variety from Wilderville's Country Beef Jerky dishes out a lot of black pepper flavor, along with a well-noticeable teriyaki flavor, and very light amounts of natural meat flavor.
But I found the teriyaki to be lacking in the finer flavors that define true teriyaki from just sweetened soy sauce. Perhaps adding more wine, vinegar and ginger into marinade might help. This jerky is quite like the company's plain Teriyaki jerky, but the addition of black pepper seems to give it a more lively taste, and creates a better balance between sweet, salty, and spicy, which is why I chose to rate it higher.
Otherwise, it has the same meat consistency and chewing texture as the plain Teriyaki, which I find to be easy to chew, though the chewing texture is a tad crumbly.
For my recommended beer pairing, I go with something heavier on malt to balance out the strong black pepper bite. Try the Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, or the Firestone Double Barrel Ale.
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