Friday, August 29, 2008

Ray's Own Brand - Hickory Smoked Original

rays own brand beef jerky
Ray's Own Brand is a line of beef jerky produced by the business of the same name, based out of San Luis Obispo, CA. It was started by Raymond Cattaneo and wife Nina Marie in 2003.

The Cattaneo's beef jerky business follows their successful barbecue service, Cattaneo BBQ Service, which they've been doing since 1971 across the central coast of California. Ray's grandfather was William Cattaneo who started Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky, and since the age of 9 has been working in the meat smoking trade.

Ray's Own Brand is a husband & wife operation with Ray overseeing the individual batch processing, with Nina Marie directing all business operations. They make their own beef jerky at their own facility.

The valleys around the California central coast have long been known for its cattle ranches and vineyards, but only recently began enjoy some popularity for its artisan jerky.


Beef, water, cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, garlic, celery powder.


A light smoky flavor comes in off the top, followed by a touch of salt, and a light natural meat. The chewing brings on a more defined natural meat flavor with a noticeable smoke. Light amounts of vinegar tanginess follow their way in, along with hints of garlic.

For being advertised as a hickory variety, there's a fair amount of smoke flavor noticeable both on the surface of these pieces and inside the meat itself. It doesn't overpower the meat, however, and instead gives the natural meat flavors the lead role. It's just enough smoke to notice and enjoy.

Otherwise, the primary taste profile is a rich natural meat flavor, very much like a grilled steak, but also comparable to a prime rib. The hickory smoke is noticeable from the start and throughout the chewing, but clearly a supporting flavor. Hints of salt, garlic, and a light vinegar round out the added flavorings.

The meat consistency is excellent, slices of seemingly pure meat, cut into thick strips with the grain. The meat pulls apart easily enough, and chews with a fair amount of chewiness, yet still easy and lightly moist. Once chewed down soft, it feels just like eating chunks of real steak, not crumbly, not mushy, but like pure beef. I don't see any fat on these slices, nor encounter any stringiness.


This Hickory Smoked Original beef jerky from Ray's Own Brand is all about the beef. It has a great balance between a thick, manly, beefy slices, with that campfirey goodness of steak flavor and hickory smoke. While these slices are cut thick, they are not tough. They do have a nice jerky chewiness, yet remain easy enough for most people to get through. The hickory smoke flavor really brings out the beef character, yet doesn't overpower the palate. I love how the seasonings and flavorings are kept at low levels, just enough to give the meat some taste interest while keeping the focus on the beef itself.

Rating: Best (5/5)

Buy this online:

hickory smoked beef jerky

hickory smoked beef jerky


  1. Great blog! You should definitely try Tilamook sweet teriyaki. That is some amazing stuff.

  2. This beef jerky is so flavorful I just can't get enough of it! I love Ray's Own Brand!

  3. Thank you so much for all your work in describing and listing these beef jerky products! My family is on a special diet and my oldest LOVES beef jerky. Finding a high quality jerky with out all the extra fillers and ingredients has been very hard! But now we have a winner!!