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 its Black Pepper beef jerky.
This Original beef jerky is described by Trailhead as being, "Delicately seasoned and carefully marinated to bring out the true flavour of our premium beef".
Beef, water, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, beetroot powder, paprika, black pepper, celery salt, salt, smoke flavouring
The first flavors I pick up on my tongue are a saucy, beefy flavor with a touch of salt. The chewing brings on hints of soy sauce and worcestershire, along with faint notes of garlic and onion. There's a noticeable natural meat flavor that comes on.
As for Trailhead's description of being "delicately seasoned and carefully marinated" is quite true. This jerky has a light seasoning, mostly noticeable as garlic and onion, in very light amounts. The soy sauce and worcestershire are also light on flavor, but noticeable. Trailhead description of, "to bring out the true flavour of our premium beef", also stands up, because I can taste the natural meat flavors.
And, it's the natural meat flavor that largely defines the taste profile of this jerky. The soy sauce and worcestershire blend is light, but still offers enough taste, while the garlic and onion seasoning creates a faint note across the chewing. There's also a faint touch of sweet that I can barely detect, too. The smoke flavoring mentioned in the ingredients is very subtle, as well.
The meat consistency 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 Original beef jerky from Trailhead Fine Foods stands by its claims of being lightly seasoned and marinated to bring out the natural meat flavors. It's quite mild, sutable for all tolerances, but offers enough flavors to be savory. Compared to Original flavors from national brands like Jack Link's, Oberto, World Kitchens, et al, it has better flavor, and offers more natural meat flavors. But the meat consistency doesn't seem to be that much better, not really feeling meaty, or anything close to steak. If anything, the pieces appear to have no fat, and nothing stringy nor unchewable. Overall, I felt this jerky from Trailhead does good on flavor for an Original, and lives up to its claims.
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