Monday, November 12, 2012

Dried and True Beef Jerky - Korean BBQ

dried and true beef jerkyDried and True is a brand of all natural, artisan beef jerky based in Venice, CA. The brand was launched in August 2012 by Matt Lauster.

Focusing on all natural ingredients and using 100% USDA Choice Sirloin, Lauster has managed to create a following in his hometown. He sells his jerky at local farmer's markets and small specialty stores in Venice. Lauster claims to have sold out at the recent 150,000+ strong Abbot Kinney Festival, also in Venice.

This Korean BBQ variety is said to be Dried and True's best selling flavor. Lauster describes it as, "savory, sweet, and just a little spicy", and is made using his own homemade sriracha sauce.


Beef, water, reduced sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, sriracha, sesame oil, garlic, onion, ginger, salt, pepper, smoked Spanish paprika, cayenne, cumin, sesame seeds.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderately sweet saucy flavor weighted more towards soy sauce but clearly mixed with other ingredients. There's also a fatty, meaty flavor noticeable.

The chewing flavor starts with a slightly more defined soy sauce, with a light natural meat flavor, and a faint tangy, seasoning in each chew. I can also pick up a light nutty flavor, perhaps from the sesame seeds.

For being marketed as "Korean BBQ", it lives up to that billing. It clearly has an asian-flavor, perhaps from the soy sauce, but I can also detect hints of ginger and garlic, and then that light nutty, sesame flavor. But when I think of Korean BBQ, I tend to think of something more spicy, and this doesn't quite have the spiciness.

It's actually more on the mild side, though I can certainly detect the complexity of ingredients. It's more like a mild Korean bulgogi than a bold, garlic, peppery flavor.

Otherwise, the flavors that define this jerky is largely the combination of sweet and soy sauce, with a light natural meat flavor. However, there's more back there, with a touch of tangy vinegar, the nutty sesame, and other light seasonings.

Considering the above, this actually comes off tasting more like Teriyaki beef jerky, but with a clearly Korean bulgogi influence. Each chew squeezes out a complex taste of ingredients, but in light amounts, keeping the emphasis on the sweet, soy sauce, and natural meat flavor.

The level of saltiness in this feels moderate. Meanwhile, there's no burn in this, registering as mild on my personal heat scale (level 1 out of 5), though I think tame palates will see this as mild-medium.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium thickness and in bite-sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel, however retaining a soft flexible consistency. Chewing seems moderately easy, fairly chewy.

The chewing texture starts out feeling chewy, with some soft, plastic resistance. A few chews into it and I get some meaty resemblance. Further along it starts to feel like real meat, and by the time its chewed down to a soft mass, it's very much like the strips of bulgogi beef you get at a Korean restaurant.

I don't see any bits of fat, gristle, or tendon on these pieces. I do encounter some striginess with some wads of unchewable tissues left over.

In terms of clean eating, it's very clean. I find no residue on my fingers.

korean bbq beef jerky

Snack Value

Dried and True sells this Korean BBQ beef jerky from its website at a price of $15.99 for a 4oz package. If you bought 4 of these packages, shipping to Southern California comes out to $5.95. That works out to a price of $4.00 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $4.00 per ounce price, it's a weak value. Even though I'm getting a good flavor, good meat consistency and chewing, that price is very high even compared to other gourmet brands. I'm able to find plenty of other competing brands with equally as good or better flavor and consistency at much less cost.

As a Korean BBQ beef jerky, at the same $4.00 per ounce price, it's a fair value. Considering there aren't many other brands offering Korean BBQ flavored jerky, it's hard to assess value. It's not a spicy style Korean BBQ, more of the mild bulgogi style, which Dried and True may be the only brand offering.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Korean BBQ beef jerky from Dried and True offers a flavor reminiscent more of Teriyaki, but clearly with influences of Korean bulgogi. You get mostly the sweet, soy sauce, and natural meat flavors, but each chew squeezes out a complex combination of tangy vinegar, seasonings, and a nutty sesame seed flavor.

It's actually a mild flavor, hardly the bold, spicy, garlic, peppery flavor that you might come to expect with Korean BBQ or the ever-famous Kim Chee. It seems suitable for all tolerances.

I found the meat somewhat chewy, slightly laborious to get through, but chewing and feeling like real pieces of meat, more comparable to bulgogi meat that you find in Korean restaurants. I also found a fair amount of stringy, unchewable tissues.

But overall, if you're interested in trying Korean BBQ style beef jerky, but you don't want something spicy hot, this is your deal.

Rating: Good

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