Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Don Beto' Beef Jerky

don beto beef jerky
Don Beto' Beef Jerky is a brand owned and operated by Bob Otwell, based out of Corona, CA. The brand launched in March 2013.

The brand is not currently shipping, according to a note from Bob, though he notes he's been selling it locally for $4.00 per 2oz pack, as well as on eBay, based on our research. He hopes to hear what we think first, and then go from there. The reviews expressed here are based on pre-production samples sent to us from him.

All of Don Beto' Beef Jerky is labeled as "Gluten Free", "No MSG", "No Cure", "No Preservative", and "No Sodium Nitrite".


Beef, sea salt, garlic, lime juice, spices, soy, vinegar, worcestershire, teriyaki or smoke flavor except Original.


don beto beef jerky
A light smoky flavor first hits the tongue, soon bringing in a saltiness. The flavor of chile peppers comes in.  The chewing brings in some natural meat flavors, and a noticeable vinegar.

The flavors that seem to define this jerky is largely a natural meat flavor with a vinegary tang.  The light smokiness is only there initially, while the light chile pepper is there throughout.  The level of heat in this is moderate, rating as "medium" on personal heat scale (level 3 out of 5).

The meat consistency appears to be mostly lean, though a few pieces reveal small bits of fat. Otherwise, the bite-sized pieces offer no stringiness or unchewable tissues. It has a moderate chewiness, but chews just like real pieces of steak.

Overall, I love the light smokiness, even though I don't believe this contains any smoke flavor or real wood smoke. It still seems to produce the illusion of smokiness. But I also like the natural meat flavors that come out.  The vinegar is well noticeable, though not too overboard, and the chile pepper adds a nice flavor.  The aroma itself is great and creates a lot of anticipation.

Rating: Good


don beto beef jerky
The first flavor is a light sweetness, with a noticeable teriyaki. There's a light chile pepper tingle on the tongue that generates a touch of heat. The natural meat flavors come in towards the end.

For being labeled, "Teriyaki", it seems to fit the bill. I do pick up a defined teriyaki taste starting mostly with the soy sauce, but with a lighter sweet than the traditional heavily sweet Japanese-style. I also taste the fermented character from the rice wine vinegar, along with a light pungent garlic. The heat seems to sit at a light level, (level 2 out of 5).

The meat consistency appears on par with the other varieties from Don Beto', perhaps a touch more soft and tender, but still very steak-like chewing.

Overall, this teriyaki jerky from Don Beto takes a large shift away from the dominant vinegar, lime, and salt flavor of the other varieties, and offers a more defined teriyaki taste with a touch of cayenne heat. The slightly more soft and tender consistency, with a steak-like chewing, helps give this jerky a better than average rating.

Rating: Good

Apple Wood

don beto beef jerky
A smokiness fills the palate right away, bolstered by a light vinegar tang and touches of lime.  There's a chile pepper flavor that comes in.  The chewing brings out the natural meat flavors.

As an "Apple Wood" labeled jerky, it definitely offers a smoky flavor with the richness of apple wood.  When mixed with the natural meat flavors and the vinegar tanginess, it actually creates a very a decadent taste profile overall.  Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky starts with that smoky flavor, but adds on a vinegar tang, a moderate saltiness, touches of chile pepper, and a good natural meat flavor. The level of heat in this is at a "medium" level (level 3 out of 5).

The meat consistency and chewing seems more comparable to the brand's Original, chewy but still with a very steak-like feel.

Overall, I like this Apple Wood variety, particularly for its defined smoky character mixed with natural meat flavors.  The vinegar & lime tang is well noticeable, but not quite overpowering.  It's really the smoke and the meat flavors that make this a winner.

Rating: Best


don beto beef jerky
The hickory smoke flavor is the first thing that comes on, and soon followed by the vinegar and lime. Like with the other varieties, the natural meat flavors comes on in the chewing.

It certainly provides the hickory smoke flavor as advertised, and is well differentiated between the Apple Wood and Mesquite varieties. The vinegar flavor is well noticed, and tends to compete for attention against the hickory smoke. Otherwise, this jerky is largely defined by the smokiness and the natural meat flavors, but also by the vinegar. There's a moderate level of heat in this (level 3 out of 5).

The meat consistency and chewing is much like the Original, chewy, but still with a very steak-like feel.

Overall, the smokiness makes for a great tasting jerky, but the vinegar tends to be too strong in this, and makes it difficult to enjoy the smoky richness.

Rating: Good


don beto beef jerky
The mesquite smoke flavor comes on right away in unmistakable amounts. The vinegar is prominent in this as with the other brands, but the mesquite still tends to stay noticeable. There's also the same chile pepper flavor, and the same medium level of heat.

For being labeled, "Mesquite" it lives up to its billing. I'm getting plenty of mesquite smoke flavor, enough that it lasts throughout the chewing. Otherwise, this jerky is largely defined by a combination of vinegar and mesquite in equal amounts, along with a noticeable saltiness and a medium level of heat.

The meat consistency and chewing is much like the Original, chewy, but still with a very steak-like feel.

Overall, the smokiness is a tasty element in this jerky, thought lighter than the other varieties, and is soon lost when the stronger vinegar takes over. Otherwise, it tastes much like the other smoke varieties.

Rating: Good


don beto beef jerky
A light saltiness, vinegar, and touches of jalapeno chiles are the first flavors I taste. The chewing brings on a touch more jalapeno flavor, while the heat picks up. The natural meat flavors come in towards the end.

As a Jalapeno variety, this jerky offers a well-noticed jalapeno flavor and a fair amount of heat. The heat rates as "mild medium" (level 2 out of 5). There's still a vinegar flavor in the background, but it's light. The natural meat flavors come through lightly towards the end, along with a little bit of fat flavor too.

The meat consistency and chewing texture is much like the Original and smoke varieties, but perhaps a little more dry. Chewy, but still retaining a steak-like chewing texture.

Overall, this Jalapeno beef jerky offers up a noticeable jalapeno flavor and a light bit of heat. It has a simple flavor much like other varieties from Don Beto, but a little less vinegar, yet manages to incorporate the natural meat flavors and offers a meaty, steak-like chewing.

Rating: Good

Pepper n Vinegar

don beto jerkyA light saltiness and vinegar are noticeable right away, while the black pepper comes on strong and takes over the palate. There's more of a natural meat flavor noticeable in this compared to the other varieties, and overall has more of a natural beef jerky taste.

As a "Pepper n Vinegar" beef jerky, it's holds up well to it's name. I get a lot of black pepper flavor, with a sharp, crisp spiciness, along with a light but noticeable vinegar tang. Compared to the other varieties, the vinegar feels lighter and provides what I think is the right amount to create the tangy, lively chewing without letting it overpower the other flavors.

There's a moderate level of heat in this from the black pepper, enough to register on my personal heat scale as "medium" (level 3 out of 5).

According to the company, this variety uses ground Malabar black pepper, and uses less salt and vinegar, and fewer ingredients as a whole, compare to their other varieties. I think that allows the natural meat flavors to come through.

The meat consistency and chewing texture feels a touch more tender than the other varieties, and retains that steak-like chewing texture.

Overall, this Pepper n Vinegar is probably my favorite from Don Beto' Jerky, mainly because it's a lot less aggressive on the vinegar, and the lighter ingredients tends to bring out the natural meat flavors. But it's also because the black pepper used in this is very crisp and sharp and dishes out some amazing flavor. This jerky also has a more fresh, natural flavor than the company's other varieties. I also find it easier to chew than the company's other varieties, and that in turn creates more snackability.

Rating: Best

Altogether, Don Beto' Beef Jerky uses a prominent vinegar ingredient, which itself is a great for creating tangy chewing. In some of the varieties, it overpowers the key ingredients, in others it seems to enhance the overall flavor. I like the Pepper n Vinegar variety the best, but the smoke varieties of Mesquite, Hickory, and Apple Wood are also favorites.

This jerky does offer a great meat consistency, offering a nice jerky chewiness with a steak-like chewing texture.

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