Note: For a live taste review on an updated ingredient list, open up Blackbeard’s – Teriyaki Beef Jerky (Review #2).
In my travels, when looking for new jerky to purchase, I find New Jersey a frustrating state to find new jerky. It is not as if I have scoured the entire state, jerky just does not seem to be popular in some areas. Much to my delight in 2010, I found Ramapo Ridge jerky for sale at a convenience store in Livingston, New Jersey, which is native to New Jersey. This review will be for a 1.5 ounce/42 gram bag of sweet & spicy flavored beef jerky by Ramapo Ridge.
Ramapo Ridge jerky is distributed by Ramapo Ridge Mountain Mixes located in Clifton, New Jersey. Founded in 1996, Ramapo Ridge Mountain Mixes distributes things such as nuts, fruit mixes, candy and of course beef jerky. I inquired to Ramapo Ridge Mountain Mixes asking which private labeler manufactures their jerky. That is information they were not willing to disclose, which is respected. This jerky would therefore be classified as a stock recipe.
Ingredients: Beef, Brown Sugar, Water, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce (Water, Vinegar, Molasses, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Anchovies, Hydrolyzed Soy and Corn Proteins, Onions, Tamarinds, Salt, Garlic, Spices, Natural Flavorings, Eschalots), Monosodium Glutamate, Spices, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Sodium Nitrite Allergen Warnings: Anchovies, Soy
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
There is no nutrition facts table provided. As a result, the exact sugar and salt levels are unknown. Being a sweet & spicy based flavor, you would have to guess that the sugar level is fairly high. It would not be surprising if the salt level is high also.
This jerky does use unhealthy sodium nitrite as the main preservative, apart from salt. There are three types of MSG used here. Your standard monosodium glutamate (MSG). Then the highly processed hydrolyzed soy and corn proteins, which act as flavor enhancers such as MSG. Even worse, being hydrolyzed, they are an unhealthy form of trans fats.
There was a mixture of small and medium sized strips of jerky. These strips were sliced to a medium thickness. While advertised to have a soft and tender texture, it was a good dry texture. There were no visible signs of fat, and handling this jerky left no oily residue on your fingers.
The spiciness level was mild, but certainly noticeable. There was a sweetness without going overboard. The salt level was at a moderate to medium level. Overall, a decent tasting flavor.
In 2014, according to the Ramapo Ridge web site, a 1.5 ounce/42 gram bag costs $3.49. That equates to $2.32 an ounce. That rates as a borderline average price. Based on the bad ingredient list used, this jerky is not recommended as worth your money.
This exact plastic bag is used by multiple jerky makers. The only difference would be the label affixed on the front. The Ramapo Ridge logo is pretty decent. A picturesque logo with mountains and pine trees, where their web site states it gives the appearance that this jerky is fresh and healthy.
There are no slogans printed on this bag. There are some standard facts printed on this bag, but not necessarily about Ramapo Ridge. Facts such as “Made From Solid Strips of Beef”, “Natural Wood Smoked”, “97% Fat Free”, and “Moist & Tender”, where this jerky did not have a soft and tender texture.
Most bag categories are covered here. Missing on this bag is a blurb about Ramapo Ridge jerky, no nutrition facts table, and the jerky weight is not stated in grams. Kudos to Ramapo Ridge Mountain Mixes for supplying their phone number on the bag for customer inquiries.