Ria's RoadKill Jerky is run by Eden Van, based out of Long Beach, CA, having launched in January 2011. Eden got started in making jerky after receiving compliments on his barbecue recipes. He uses USDA Choice top round from his local meat market. All jerky is dehydrated in a smoker. He currently sells through Facebook and eBay while waiting for his new website to finish.
According to the company, this variety was inspired by "bulgogi", a Korean-style BBQ, this recipe comes from the Korean mother of one of Eden's friends. It's not spicy, like some bulgogi can be, but more of a rich, sweet flavor. It's smoked using real apple wood.
Beef, soy sauce, sugar, pear, onion, water, garlic, apple, rice wine, salt, monosodium glutamate, black pepper, ginger, lemon juice, black sesame seeds.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderate sweetness with a light smokiness. Soon after, I pick up touches of garlic and saltiness.
The chewing brings in the natural meat flavors, while the sweetness picks up a bit. The garlic seasoning is perhaps slightly increased, along with faint fruity overtones.
For being marketed as "Korean BBQ", I'd say it holds up. It's much more mild of a bulgogi than what I'm used to tasting, at least represented in this jerky, yet it still seems to have the classic bulgogi taste profile nonetheless.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky the most is the stronger sweetness and lighter soy sauce flavor. The apple wood smoke comes through, but not as strong as the hickory wood smoked used in the company's other jerky varieties. There's a light natural meat flavor, and then a noticeable garlic and touches of fruity character.
Overall, the ingredients seem to combine into the classic bulgogi flavor, but tasting a little more light or watered down than other bulgogi-inspired jerky brands I've had. The use of apple wood smoke is clever, but doesn't generate the impressive flavor of the company's other hickory wood smoked jerky. Also, the natural meat flavors are a little less defined in this. Altogether, it's less of the real wood smoke, less of the natural meat flavors, and a bulgogi profile that's also toned down.
These are slices of whole meat, cut into thick slabs of small to medium sizes, with each slab big enough for one or two bites.
This a semi-moist jerky with a dry surface feel, maybe a faint bit of stickiness. Chewing is easy, while tearing off a bite is easy as well.
The chewing starts out feeling tender with a light bit of rubber character. After several chews, it breaks down into a meaty feel, with still rubbery chewing. But once chewed down to a soft mass, it feel like just like a steak cooked medium-rare.
I see tiny flecks and streaks of fat on some pieces, perhaps enough to add a light marbleized flavor. Otherwise, I see no gristle or tendon. I encountered a light bit of stringiness, but don't really find any unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, it's mostly clean with scant bits of seasoning stuck to my fingers, enough to rub loose.
Ria's RoadKill Jerky sells this Korean BBQ beef jerky at a price of $10.00 for an 8oz package. Shipping is flat rate at $6.45. If you bought two 8oz packages, it would work out to a price of $1.65 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.65 per ounce price, this is a good value. Compared to other brands of jerky sold in stores, this has slightly better flavor, better meat consistency, and much better chewing texture. You're basically paying bargain-bin prices for better quality jerky.
As a Korean BBQ beef jerky, at the same $1.65 per ounce price, it's a good value. I do get a flavor with a recognizeable bulgogi character, but it's more mild and/or watered down from other bulgogi brands I've tried. Still, it's priced considerably less than competing Korean-style jerky brands, and still offers a good value for the money.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Korean BBQ beef jerky from Ria's RoadKill Jerky offers a mild and light variation on the ancient art of Korean bulgogi style beef. It has the characteristic profile of bulgogi, with a good deal of sweet, touches of fruitiness, and seasoned with a blend of soy sauce and spices. Together, it's still a rather mild concoction, perhaps a half-step more mild than Japanese teriyaki.
The use of apple wood smoke in this jerky is perhaps a good choice given the Asian-style taste profile, but somehow the smoky flavor is lighter than the hickory wood smoked jerky in the company's other jerky varieties. On top of that, the natural meat flavors don't seem to come out as well either. So, while we awarded best ratings for their Original, Chipotle, Spicy, and Cracked Pepper flavors, due to the rich smokiness and natural meat flavors, I couldn't quite do that here. Moreover, the bulgogi flavoring didn't seem to reach out and grab me either.
But like their other beef jerky flavors, this still has an excellent meat consistency. Mostly all meat, with light bits of fat for a marbleized flavor, it chews tender and easy, while still chewing like real pieces of steak, which helped this Korean BBQ jerky's rating.
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