Daniel got started in beef jerky about 14 years ago when he got a dehydrator as a wedding gift. His first batch didn't work out so well, so he dabbled in a variety of recipes. Through much trial and error, he developed this Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki, which he made for himself and his friends. It wasn't until last year that he set up a website and started selling his strips of meat joy online for the world to experience.
Beer Drinkin' Dan's offers three flavors in all, this Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki, a Mountain Maple (which I also have to review later), and a Chinese Ginger.
USDA beef, honey, soy sauce, black pepper, garlic
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong sweetness, and a sharp, well-noticed black pepper flavor. The garlic is just lightly noticeable.
The chewing flavors start with a little bit of a honey flavor, and a moderate saltiness. A medium level burn from the black pepper builds up.
For being marketed as, "Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki", this jerky seems to hold up fairly well. It's definitely sweet, very sweet, just like the package says, "It's like meat candy". But it also has a strong black pepper flavor, very sharp, as evidenced by the chunks of cracked black pepper on these pieces. But I'm having some difficulty picking up the teriyaki part. It doesn't taste at all like the traditional teriyaki sauces I've come to expect from Japanese restaurants, nor offers any kind of Asian touches. Instead it tends to taste more sweet than anything else, with some moderate amounts of saltiness. To me, it's more like sweetened beef jerky than teriyaki.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky overall is the heavy sweetness followed by a strong, sharp black pepper bite. There's maybe a touch of garlic noticeable, a light bit of a honey flavor in the chewing, and a moderate level of saltiness.
There's a good deal of burn from the strong black pepper. I'd rate this as medium-hot on my personal heat scale (level 4 out of 5).
I can't seem to pick up much natural meat flavors.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into small slabs and sliced thin.
This is a dry jerky with a sticky surface feel. The slabs are quite flexible and pliable. Biting off a piece seems easy to do, while chewing seem to be "chewy", somewhere between easy and tough.
The chewing texture starts out with a little bit of initial chewing resistance, but easily breaks down. It tends to chew crumbly in the process, and somewhat gummy from the heavy sweetness. The gumminess seems to make the chewing a little laborious. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it doesn't really resemble at all like a piece of steak, it's mostly a crumbly/gummy consistency.
I see only small deposits of fat on some pieces but otherwise no gristle or tendon. There's a light amount of stringiness in the chewing, but otherwise no unchewable tissues encountered.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a fair amount of stickiness along with an occasional chunk of black pepper.
Beer Drinkin' Dan's sells this Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki from its website at a price of $22.00 for a one pound bag. Add to that shipping fees of $5.10 flat rate, and it works out to a price of $1.69 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes at the $1.69 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a good overall flavor, with a good meat consistency, though a crumbly/gummy chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in grocery stores, it's considerably lower in price, and considerably better in overall snackability.
As a "Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki" beef jerky, at the same $1.69 per ounce price, it's also a good value. It clearly delivers on the sweet and the black pepper flavors, but seems lacking in the teriyaki. It's not exactly the kind of teriyaki I've come to expect from Japanese restaurants, tasting more sweet than anything else.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Sweet Black Pepper Teriyaki variety from Beer Drinkin' Dan's Beef Jerky offers up a lot of sweetness and a lot of black pepper flavor, particularly a sharp, fresh cracked black pepper that'll make any pepper person proud. It doesn't really come off as a teriyaki beef jerky in my opinion because it doesn't seem to offer much of the components found in traditional teriyaki cuisine, such as the tangy chewing, or the pungent overtones of ginger. It doesn't really express any amount of Asian flare.
If anything, it has more of an American-style goodness, reminiscent of steak-houses, country fairs, BBQ cookoffs. It's really an explosion of sweetness and sharp, black pepper spice, which in itself is quite tasty. I liked the noticeable honey flavor too. I wished I could taste more of the natural meat flavors.
The chewing felt rather gummy from the heavy sweetness but also rather crumbly from the drier, thin-sliced consistency. It didn't really feel like real meat when I chewed through this. However, I didn't encounter much stringiness and nothing unchewable, which made for a better overall experience.
I think a good beer pairing for this is a standard brown ale, such as the Big Sky Moose Drool or the Lost Coast Downtown Brown.
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