The Jerky Connection.
Run by Tom Greineder, The Jerky Connection is a new business that launched last June, based out of Wrightsville, PA, boasting several flavors ranging from mild to insanely hot, including a line of jerky dubbed, "7 Gates of Hell".
The company describes this Cracked Black Pepper jerky as being, "...doused with tons of freshly cracked black pepper and marinaded to perfection", and made with, "high quality peppercorns".
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a black pepper flavor, along with a light oily flavor. A light soy sauce flavor comes in later.
The chewing brings in more of the soy sauce, but also introduces a light natural meat flavor. The black pepper increases a bit more.
For being marketed as a Cracked Black Pepper beef jerky, this certainly lives up to its billing. I'm getting a lot of black pepper flavor but having that freshly cracked flavor with all of its sharp, pungent characteristics.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky overall is the soy sauce flavor and the cracked black pepper. The soy sauce tends to stay in the front and center of the palate while the black pepper rules the back of my mouth. Finally, there's a light natural meat flavor reminding you that you're eating beef.
The natural meat flavor also includes a touch of oiliness, which I believe comes from the vacuum sealed packaging drawing the oils out of the meat. That in turns seems to activate the cracked black pepper, distributing its sharp spicy flavor throughout the meat fibers.
As for the level of heat, there's enough peppery spice to register on my personal heat scale as "medium" (level 3 out of 5).
The level of saltiness in this feels to be moderate.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium thickness, and sliced into small strips large enough to accommodate one or two bites.
This is a dry jerky with a semi-moist, lightly oily surface feel. The strips are flexible but still somewhat stiff. Chewing is a little labored, but overall tolerable.
The chewing texture starts out tender and flexible, with a light bit of resistance. It breaks down with some labored chewing, but overall not too tough. It soon takes on meaty feel, and by the time it's rendered into a soft mass, it feels just like eating a piece of steak.
I don't see any bits or streaks of fat on these pieces, it all looks to be quite lean. I don't really encounter any stringiness nor any unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, my finger tips pick up a fair amount of oily, sticky residue with bits of black pepper, requiring a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
The Jerky Connection sells this Cracked Black Pepper jerky at a price of $27.00 for a one pound bag. Add to that shipping of $6.30 out to Southern California, and it works out to a price of $2.08 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.08 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting a good flavor, a great meat consistency and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, this offers a substantially better value at a comparable price.
As a Cracked Black Pepper jerky, at the same $2.08 price per ounce, it's also a good value. I'm getting plenty of black pepper flavor, freshly cracked, with a moderate level of heat, generating something a little better than most major brands.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Cracked Black Pepper beef jerky from The Jerky Connection was made for lovers of black peppered jerky, giving plenty of spotlight to the pungent, sharp spice, but with a freshly cracked character that you can only get from a gourmet brand.
Even though there doesn't appear to be any chile pepper in this, there's enough black pepper seasoning on these strips of meat to generate a moderate level of heat, producing a light burn on the tongue and a small amount of misting on the scalp.
Otherwise, this is a rather simple tasting jerky relying on a light soy sauce marinade for taste, and a low level of natural meat flavors. For those who want a jerky with just the sharp, pungent burst of freshly cracked black pepper, this is your deal.
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