We originally reviewed two flavors from Trailhead back in June 2012, the "Hot Smoked Chipotle" and the "XXX Naga Jolokia", the latter scored a 5-star rating from us. Since being purchased by Jason in 2013, the company underwent a rebranding, and has since won the coveted, "Great Taste Award of 2015" for this Black Pepper beef jerky.
Trailhead describes this as, "The finest blend of herbs and spices finished with the finest cracked black pepper corns give a multiple level flavour experience."
Beef, Water, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Pineapple juice, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Beetroot powder, Black pepper, Brown sugar
The first flavors I pick up on the palate are a lightly salty, faintly saucy taste. The chewing brings in the touches of soy sauce, and light amounts of black pepper. There's also traces of garlic and onion detectable.
For being marketed as, "Black Pepper", this jerky seems to live up to the claim. I do taste black pepper in moderate levels. I get its sharp, pungent spice along with its peppery bite on the tongue, and its aftertaste in the back of my mouth. It's not an overpowering flavor, nor a strong one, but in a very well balanced level, enough to make it dominant, but still allowing the other flavors to come through.
Otherwise, the primary taste profile of this jerky is the black pepper, with a light soy sauce, and even lighter amounts of garlic and onion. The natural meat flavors are there, but more difficult to detect than the company's, "Original" flavor. The black pepper definitely makes this jerky spicy, rating as "mild medium" on my personal heat scale (level 2 out of 5).
The chewing texture seem to be better than the "Original". It's not as crumbly, though still initially chewy, and somewhat tough. After several chews, it breaks down and becomes more meaty, almost steak-like. The pieces still appear to be all meat, with no fat, no stringiness, and nothing unchewable noted.
seems good in that these pieces appear to be all meat, with no fat visible, and nothing stringy or unchewable noticeable. But the chewing texture seems crumbly, and not at all like real pieces of steak. It starts a little tough and chewy, but quickly breaks down into meat crumbles instead of the fleshy, fibrous character of grilled steak.
This Black Pepper beef jerky from Trailhead Fine Foods dishes out a balanced amount of black pepper flavor while still allowing for some of the other ingredients to show through. Even the natural meat flavor is still lightly noticeable. Compared to other brands of black peppered jerky I've reviewed, however, it only seems to travel a couple ticks beyond the bell curve in terms of overall flavor. For the most part, it's a good taste, that lives up to its advertised ingredient, and even gives off a clean, natural snacking experience. But yet, still tastes comparable to many other black pepper beef jerky brands. The chewing texture seems more steak-like than the company's "Original" variety, and is actually quite meaty, with no fat, stringiness, or unchewable tissues, and in that regards, is better than many other national brands found the USA.
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