Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky - Peppered Thick Cut

Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky is a brand of Cattaneo Bros., Inc. of San Luis Obispo, CA. The brand started out in 1947, founded by William Cattaneo, as a beef jerky manufacturer and stayed the course ever since. The business today is run by a different family, not related to the original Cattaneo founders, and headed by Mike Kaney.

The brand includes three different lines of beef jerky, their "thin cut", a "cowboy cut", and this thick cut. Each of those cuts have their own variety of flavors. They also do turkey jerky and meat sticks.

See my previous review of their Original variety.

Their jerky is found in stores throughout central California.


Beef, vinegar, water, salt, spices, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a tangy vinegar flavor, followed by some saltiness. In the chewing flavors, the first thing I notice is a stronger saltiness, and a continuation of the vinegar flavor. There's also a very light meat flavor.

For being labeled as a "Black Pepper" variety, there's not much black pepper flavor after having eaten a couple pieces. I do see some black pepper sprinkled on these pieces, but I only get a faint flavor. I then tried a strip of meat from the piece in the close-up photo below, which appears to have more black pepper, but still didn't get much of a black pepper flavor.

Otherwise, it seems the dominant flavor of this jerky is that vinegar flavor. It provides a light tanginess, similar to the vinegar from a bag of "salt & vinegar" potato chips. In fact, this jerky is perhaps better described as "salt & vinegar" because the saltiness is also a dominant flavor. But I'd probably rank the saltiness as being medium in intensity.

The natural meat flavors are very light. They're perhaps so light, that during most snacking, you won't really notice it.

Overall, all you're going to taste in this is the vinegar and salt flavor, which is noticeable on the surface, as well as in the chewing. You won't really taste any black pepper.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thick, and in small pieces.

This is a dry jerky for the most part, but in some cases it has a slight bit of moisture. In other cases, it looks more like oil. Overall, the pieces are tough, requiring a good deal of effort to tear apart, and requiring an equal amount of effort to chew.

The chewing texture starts out feeling hard, like a piece of tire rubber. With 15-20 seconds of sucking, I can soften it up enough to chew. And then it takes about 15 seconds until I can get chewed down to a soft mass. At that point, it feels quite like steak, perhaps cooked well-done. But each piece is filled with chewy sinews, or membrane, that leave behind unchewable wads of tissue in my mouth.

These pieces all seemed to be free of any visible chunks of fat, with no tendon or gristle. They didn't leave behind any residue on my fingers, but they did drop some black pepper on my lap.

Snack Value

I paid $6.99 for this 4oz package at a Copenhagen Liquor store in Solvang, CA. That works out to a price of $1.75 per ounce

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $1.75 price per ounce, it seems to provide a fair value. I get a decent amount of snackability for its good flavor, though it's rather tough to eat. This price is perhaps at the upper-most limits of what I'd be willing to pay considering what value I'm getting back.

As a black peppered variety, also at this $1.75 price per ounce, it's a poor value. I'm just not getting much of any black pepper flavor. Even though I can see the black pepper on these pieces, there just isn't any flavor in any noticeable amount.


I'm giving this an average rating.

Like with the Original variety, this jerky has a good flavor as a "salt & vinegar" flavor, but it's just rather tough to eat, making it more difficult to snack on.

What particularly hurts this Black Pepper variety is that it doesn't really provide a black pepper taste. In that sense, it fails to provide the snackability that a black peppered jerky is supposed to provide. But by taking away the black pepper flavor, what you have left is the Original variety of Cattaneo's. And since I gave the Original variety an average rating, I'm assigning this variety the same rating.

I can always look past the toughness of this chew, but only if I can get an exceptional flavor. This jerky has a good flavor, but not an exceptional one. I didn't really find a whole lot of natural meat flavors, and the salt & vinegar flavor is good, just not out of this world.

My recommended beer pairing for this, a raspberry or cherry lambic.

Rating: Average (3/5)

Buy this online:


  1. Wow your so full of bull its not even funny. You can have all of the sweet crappy jerky in the world I will still be eating this jerky as I have for 30 plus years. Its real meat flavor not "light meat flavor". This jerky is the best I have ever had, not dolled up with garbage soy sauce or sugary crap. This is honest to goodness cowboy style jerky THE REAL DEAL.

  2. I agree either this guy got a bad batch or he's full of crap... I've seen what he rates average and compared to those beefs this one blows it away... Alien fresh aint got nothing on OG Cattaneo bros