It all started in the 70’s when Jeff Richards purchased a dehydrator from a county fair. Jeff’s mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all gourmet cooks. Many of the jerky recipes used today were refined for three decades. With more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, Jeff was ready to launch his jerky brand but wanted a reliable business partner. Through social media, Jeff reconnected with an old trusted friend Mike Aggarwal who himself had more than 25 years of experience in the food industry. In 2010, at the ages of 55 and 62, this Jeff’s Famous Jerky brand was launched with an old-fashioned handshake. Impressively, to date, over 1,000,000 bags of jerky have been sold. Jeff’s Famous Jerky brand is distributed under the name of Jeff’s Famous Foods, Inc., and they are located in Mission Veijo, California.
The next review on Jeff’s Famous Jerky will focus on a 2.75 ounce/78 gram bag of their Black Pepper & Sea Salt flavored beef jerky. This flavor famously won a six week long, elimination style, 64 brand beef jerky competition, where it doesn’t get any better than that. The bag was kindly submitted for review by co-owner Jeff Richards.
Ingredients: Beef, Brown Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Worcestershire Sauce (Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce Base (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor, Sulfiting Agent), Salt, Citric Acid), Chili Sauce (Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup Powder, Garlic, Salted Chili Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Concentrated Pineapple Juice, Shallot, Garlic Powder, Acetic Acid, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Paprika Oleorskin), Balsamic Vinegar, Seasoned Rice Vinegar (Rice Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt,
Brown Sugar), Liquid Smoke, Spices. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
The beef used here is guaranteed to be ethically raised 98% of the time, meaning free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. There is not a 100% guarantee offered because sometimes the beef used cannot keep up with the demand. These cattle are not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to roam about. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Very Good (9/10) rating.
We have a busy liquid marinade here comprised of a decent soy sauce, a fair Worcestershire sauce, a decent chili sauce, super healthy balsamic vinegar, a decent seasoned rice vinegar, and liquid smoke. It is disappointing to see that the Worcestershire sauce used the highly processed unhealthy sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to lose a rating.
While we debate this claim, the sugar level is only 1 gram of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is a quite high at 560mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less per 28 grams of jerky. However, the salt levels are ignored because healthy minimally processed sea salt is added.
This jerky does qualify to have no sodium nitrite used, or any other similar unhealthy preservatives. Instead, salt is the main preservative used. Admirably, this jerky qualifies to have no MSG added.
Written by guest jerky reviewer Stéphane Leclerc
I was originally on the fence with Jeff’s Famous Jerky Black Pepper & Sea Salt Beef Jerky, as I was somewhat questioning the sweetness amongst other things of this jerky. I’ve revisited a second time a couple of hours later and then, I finally saw the light. This jerky is bold, interesting and loaded with flavor. I love the little spicy kick and the bold and unapologetic black pepper brings it over the top.
This jerky comes across a bit on the sweet side at first and it is all well and good. I really appreciate this fruity type of sweetness, as it marries very well with the abundant black pepper and it creates a very tasty flavor profile. This is an excellent beef jerky, the aroma is pleasantly fragrant and the richness and bold flavor are undeniable.
I originally had a little bite at first and then I devoured the rest a couple of hours later. I am peaking down at my empty bag and I am feeling a little sad and heavy hearted. I find this jerky very addictive and I could probably plow through a few bags no questions asked.
These strips are a mixture of small to medium in size and they are sliced to a medium thickness. The texture is on the dry side and requires a reasonable amount of effort to chew. This cut of beef is a step above the average jerky cut of beef and Jeff’s Famous Jerky calls it a proprietary cut of beef which is somewhat puzzling to us.
As per Mark: “The first flavors detected are the advertised salt and black pepper. The flavor profile gets more complex with a perfect ratio of soy and Worcestershire sauce and it further develops into a fruity pineapple like flavor with a slight but noticeable kick from the chili sauce.”
As I chew another strip, this complex flavor profile tastes absolutely divine. I was initially apprehensive and disappointed to see an abundance of spices (mostly black pepper) fallen off and lying at the bottom of this bag. Thankfully, the black pepper level was still plenty sufficient and I scooped some of these spices from the bottom of the bag to accentuate the flavor even more.
While the black pepper distracts from the natural beef flavor, there is still a rich beef flavor present. The saltiness level does not go overboard and it’s also at a reasonable level. The black pepper level is at a moderately strong level and you can push that level over the ledge by adding more black pepper from what is left at the bottom of the bag.
While this flavor easily delivers on the black pepper and salt flavors, it’s the great marinade in the background that steals the show. Jeff’s Famous Jerky should take a well-deserved bow, where this award winning black pepper & sea salt flavor knocks it out of the park. It’s just a darn shame this flavor is not sold at my local convenience store.
Paul eloquently stated: “I am swimming in an ocean of delectable beef jerky, I am well inundated with my two favorite spices, a pleasant saltiness and massive amounts of pepper. I’m in flavor heaven and I rate this jerky a most enthusiastic 10/10.”
Well, there you go folks! We are all on the same page and we wholeheartedly award Jeff’s Famous Jerky Black Pepper & Sea Salt Beef Jerky an enthusiastic and excellent (10/10) taste rating.
This white resealable plastic bag has a label affixed to the front, and nothing on the back. There is a stamp displayed stating that this flavor is Mildly Spicy. Five stars are also displayed meaning that Jeff’s Famous Jerky has received 5 star taste ratings in the past.
There are no slogans printed. Some facts displayed on the bag are “Award Winning”, “Super Premium”, and “Natural Smoke Flavor Added”.
The only bag category missing is a blurb printed about Jeff’s Famous Jerky, and this Black Pepper & Sea Salt flavor. To the credit of Jeff’s Famous Jerky, there is a toll free phone number provided for customer inquiries.
Order their jerky online: www.jeffsfamousjerky.com