Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ray's Own Brand - Hot

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.Ingredients

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


The first taste that hits my tongue is a vinegar tang, followed by a touch of salt. The natural meat flavors start rolling in. The garlic seems a bit more pronounced than in Ray's other varieties. The chewing brings on a more defined natural meat flavor, while a light bit of heat becomes noticeable. The black pepper starts to build.

For being marketed as, "Hot", it's not hot at all. In fact, it's not even medium. It's a light bit of heat that I would rate as, "mild medium" on our heat scale (level 2 out of 5). To be fair, Ray's Own Brand puts all their focus into the natural meat flavors and keeps their ingredients minimal so as not to subtract from beef's natural goodness. It's really just a light touch of fiery pepper, just enough to make it interesting.

Otherwise, the primary taste profile is the natural meat flavor, tasting much like a grilled steak, or a center cut prime rib, but with lightly touched up with salt, vinegar, black pepper, garlic, and red pepper. It's not the savory "umami" style jerky marinades that many national brands rely on, but a meat-forward flavor that emphasizes beef's natural taste with just touches of seasonings.

The meat consistency is excellent. I find only strips of pure beef, with nary of spot of fat, no stringy chewing, and nothing unchewable. It's lightly moist, just soft enough to make this pull apart with the grain, yet remain chewy. It's very meaty, and chews just like a real steak. The chewing texture is perhaps this jerky's best quality.


This Hot beef jerky from Ray's Own Brand gives out just a light bit of heat, just enough to make this noticeable and interesting, without taking anything away from the natural meat flavors. It's actually the rich flavor of beef that really makes this jerky amazing, because when combined with its excellent meat consistency and steak-like chewing texture, you're left beating your chest like Tarzan and hawing like Tim the Toolman Taylor. While you're not going to get any decent amount of heat from this, don't worry because the beef is the focus of this jerky. Otherwise, the manly thick slices of meat are a total joy to sink your teeth into. Lightly moist, easy enough to rip apart, yet still chewy, it's a testament to what true artisan jerky is all about. 

Rating: Best (5/5)

Buy this online:

hot beef jerky

hot beef jerky


  1. Ray's Own Brand Hot beef jerky is my favorite! It is just the right amount of spice with out being over powering. Everyone must try this jerky, you will be happy you did!

  2. My kids love the hot beef jerky and I love buying it for them because it is such a healthy snack!