Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wild Joe's Beef Jerky - Lemon Pepper

Wild Joe's Beef Jerky - Lemon PepperLemon pepper is one of those flavors that works really well with meat, but for some reason you don't seem to find much of it in jerky. That tangy citrus flavor mixing with the spicy bite of black pepper is one of my favorite seasonings on a grilled rib eye steak.

This variety of Lemon Pepper beef jerky is from Wild Joe's Beef Jerky, a brand produced by the company of the same name, based out of Cincinnati, OH. It's a family-run business that's been around since 1990, focusing on thin sliced jerky, free of preservatives.

Recently, the company took on a new business partner, freeing up Joe Lachenman, the founder, to spend more time on marketing. Maybe in the next few years, we're going to see a cartoon-like image of Joe himself battling out with Sasquatch and some dorky "alpha male" for store shelf space.


Beef, water, soy sauce, smoke flavoring, garlic powder, black pepper, coated with lemon pepper seasonings.


The tastes I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a strong salty soy sauce flavor, and a decent amount of smoky aroma. Moving into the chewing, I get some natural meat flavors, more saltiness, faint traces of garlic, and some black pepper aftertaste.

For being labeled a "lemon pepper" variety, I'm trying to find something that resembles lemon, be it a tangy flavor, or a citrus flavor, or even a fruity flavor. I'm not sure I really taste it here at all.

What I do get instead is a strong soy sauce flavor. In fact, I'd call that the primary flavor of this jerky. And with the soy sauce flavor, there's also a good deal of salty flavor.

The meat flavors seem to have the second most dominant taste, but still not a strong taste, but enough there to be enjoyed. And the meat seems to have a fresh taste, despite this jerky having no other preservatives, aside from that in the soy sauce.

I'd throw it to a combination of the black pepper and garlic providing the third most noticeable flavor. Both have tastes that sit in the background.

Overall, it's a jerky packed with heavy flavor, but mostly as a salty soy sauce flavor, and some meat flavors. I don't really see this at all as "lemon pepper", or even as a peppered variety, it's light on peppery taste, though I guess technically you could still say it's peppered.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin to average, and in small to average sized pieces.

It's dry jerky, very dry, but still retains a bit of flexibility. It will, however, crack if bent far enough, and for that matter it's easy to tear off a bite-sized piece, and moderately easy to chew.

It provides a chewing experience that seems to resemble a real steak, once it hydrates in your mouth.

It's also a clean jerky, leaving no residue on my fingers and nothing falling onto my lap. It's also very lean, finding no sigificant pieces of fat, tendon, or gristle, though one piece has some good marbilization going.

Snacking Value

Wild Joe's sells this lemon pepper variety from its website at a price of $9.00 for a 3.5 ounce bag, which works out to a price of $2.57 per ounce, putting it in the expensive price range. You can also buy it in an 8 ounce bag for $1.88 per ounce, which gets it down into the average price range.

I'd say it offers a good snacking experience with its strong flavor and meat-like chewing satisfaction. For myself, it gets to be too salty over several bites and because of that this loses some snackability. If you can buy it at the $1.88 per ounce price, I think you're getting some snacking for your dollar, provided the saltiness doesn't bother you.

As a lemon peppered jerky, I don't think you're going to find any value beyond the soy sauce and meat flavors. I'm not finding any kind of tangy/citrus/fruity flavor that gives me that lemony joy. Though, I do get a fair amount of black pepper taste.


I'm giving this an average rating.

Overall, it's still a jerky loaded with flavor, if a strong soy sauce taste is what you're after. Though, this jerky does provide some natural meat flavors as well, but it's just not strong enough to be the primary flavor. For the most part, I see this lemon pepper variety as being similar to the brand's original variety.

It doesn't rank higher with me mainly because I find it rather salty for my personal preference, and it doesn't stand up to its advertised flavor.

But it's still not a bad jerky, providing a great steak-like chewing experience, and some meat flavors.

For my beer recommendation, I'd go with a honey blonde ale to help counter the saltiness.

Rating: Average

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