Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ray's Own Brand - Hickory Smoked Peppered

rays own brand beef jerky
Ray's Own Brand is a line of beef jerky produced by the husband and wife team of Raymond Cattaneo and Nina Marie. The business has been around since 2003, based out of San Luis Obispo, CA.

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 makes their own beef jerky at their facility in SLO. Ray oversees the individual batch processing, while Nina Marie directs all business operations.

The Cattaneo's jerky business benefits from a growing interest in "artisan jerky" across the central coast of California, an area long known for its wines and cattle ranches.


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


The first taste I get is a light black pepper spice mixed with a moderate level of smoke. The natural meat flavor drifts in with a faint bit of salt. The chewing brings on a more rich natural meat flavor mixed with a light vinegar tang. The black pepper increases a bit more while hints of garlic linger.

For being labeled as "hickory smoked peppered", I do get an easily noticeable wood smoked flavor that tastes like this was genuinely smoked over hickory wood as opposed to being doused with smoke flavoring. And it also has a noticeable black pepper flavor, not too overpowering, but just enough to be noticed and felt.

Otherwise, the primary taste profile is the natural meat flavors, with a light wood smoke and black pepper, and just touches of salt, garlic, and vinegar.

The meat consistency is amazing. Practically pure beef with no fat to be seen, no stringiness despite the thick cuts, and nothing unchewable. It's definitely chewy, but not hard or tough. You can rip off strips with the grain easily enough, and it delivers a very meaty chew. By the time you get it chewed down soft, it feels just like a real steak.

This Hickory Smoked Peppered beef jerky from Ray's Own Brand scores points for its emphasis on beef's natural goodness, with its thick strips of pure beef, with no fat and no stringy chewing. It emphasizes the rich full flavor that makes beef such a manly staple and it chews just like a real steak. The hickory smoke and black pepper remains just strong enough to enjoy but light enough to let the taste of beef remain the star of the show. I love the real wood smoked flavor in this, as opposed to liquid smoke flavoring, and I love that it's still easy enough to chew, yet remains chewy the way jerky should be.

Rating: Best (5/5)

Buy this online:

hickory smoked peppered beef jerky

hickory smoked peppered beef jerky


  1. I am a Cal Poly Rugby player and Ray's Hickory Peppered Jerky taste like a peppered steak it is so thick and flavorful! It keeps us going strong all practice long.

  2. Just tried buying some and your prices are now out of date. The shipping at this retailer is very high making it very expensive overall.