In 2009, both Woehrle and Stout grew tired of their day jobs and sought to launch a business venture together, and thus was born Kings County Jerky Co. The pair got a big boost when they finished 2nd place out of 150 contestants in the Rooster Design "Next Big Small Brand" competition, earning a big hit from the crowd.
The company focuses on humanely-slaughtered, grass fed beef. They use all natural ingredients, no MSG nor preservatives.
Beef, water, tamari, cider vinegar, molasses, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, cloves.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a lightly smoky, slightly sweet flavor, which soon ushers in a salty, garlic flavor. The paprika is noticeable, along with a faint soy sauce flavor.
The chewing flavor starts with a light natural meat flavor, with a slightly more defined soy sauce.
Considering this is the company's "regular" beef jerky, it's anything but ordinary. From the first taste, it has enough flavor variety just on the surface to make you want to suck on it for a few seconds before chewing. There's a light smokiness and sweetness reminiscent of a BBQ, and a just a subtle spice and tanginess to perk up the palate.
The flavors that seem to define this jerky primarily starts with the smoked paprika I believe, but giving way quickly to the sweetness of molasses, and then the saltiness of the tamari. There's a touch of the garlic and onion seasonings, and the light natural meat flavors. There's even little bit of a fatty flavor mixed in.
The clove listed last in the ingredients can be detected, but only barely. I can sense its presence but can't really pick it out with any clarity, yet can still enjoy its influence.
Overall, this Classic variety has a very balanced taste between the seasonings and marinade where nothing really overpowers, but collaborates into an enjoyable flavor unique from other brands.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium thickness, and in small to medium sized slabs.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. They have a fair amount of flexibility, but more of the dry fibrous kind and not the rubbery, plastic kind. Biting off chunks can require a little bit of tearing and gnawing for some thicker pieces, and mostly easy on the thinner pieces. Chewing seems similarly easy/tough.
The chewing texture offers a fair amount of initial chewing resistance, and can make the jaw muscles feel labored on the thicker slices, but overall fine. As it chews down it starts to feel like real meat, and once down to a soft mass, tends to feel like real steak, cooked well-done.
The pieces have some visible spots and streaks of fat, though they don't seem to make much impact. I do see some tiny specs of fat on a few. I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon, but I did find a fair amount of stringiness throughout these pieces. Otherwise, no unchewable tissues.
In terms of clean eating, it's mostly clean, just a light dusting of seasoning remained on my fingertips.
Kings County Jerky Co. sells this Classic variety from its website at a price of $8.99 for a 2oz package. If you buy 6 packages, shipping comes to about $10.00 (based on the box they sent me). That works out to a price of $5.33 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $5.33 per ounce price, it's a fair value. It has a great flavor, good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, it's far more expensive, though much better in flavor in consistency, yet it's hard to say the quality justifies the price.
I'm giving this a best rating.
This Classic beef jerky from Kings County Jerky Co. seems to offers up a unique, distinguishable flavor from the hundreds of other gourmet jerky brands I've reviewed, mostly through its use of unique seasonings. I like the smoky flavor of the paprika, and the subtle clove in the background. The light sweetness and subtle spice whispers the word "barbecue" as I chew.
The chewing can be somewhat tough with the thicker slices, and stringy as well. Otherwise, the other pieces seemed just fine. While the natural meat flavors tasted light mostly, it was enhanced by a light fatty flavor that ran throughout, creating the experience of eating real beef.
The pricing, however, is quite high. There are many other jerky brands that have earned my top rating and yet are priced at half the cost. But, if you'd like to try something unique, different, made from grass-fed beef, and you don't mind paying the extra bucks, give it shot.
My recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a porter, particularly the Anchor Porter, or the Sierra Nevada Porter.
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