Back in 2002, husband and wife Ray and Nina-Maria Cattaneo opened up a USDA facility from scratch. Ray handled the beef jerky aspect of the production process, and Nina-Marie was tasked with sales. This Ray’s Own Brand of jerky was officially launched in 2003. Within five years of very hard work and effort, sales were robust with Ray’s Own Brand being sold in countless stores. Ray’s Own Brand has since teamed up with several international brands who are taking their jerky all over the world.
Ray’s Own Brand all hand sliced jerky is advertised as sugar free, has no added nitrates, MSG free, gluten-free, preservative free, and made with sea salt. Ray’s Own Brand has an adorable gift shop on the property with their USDA building, and lots of animals for the kids to enjoy! This is the true Steak N A Bag!! Ray Cattaneo’s style! Ray’s Own Brand is distributed under the same name of Ray’s Own Brand, and they are based out of San Luis Obispo, California.
The first review on Ray’s Own Brand will focus on a 4 ounce/113 gram bag of their hickory smoked pepper flavored beef jerky. This flavor is described as going down the hickory memory lane made by Ray Cattaneo’s family tradition, it is different and exciting with its hand sliced thick cut. The bag was kindly submitted for review by co-owner Nina-Marie Cattaneo.
The cattle used are confirmed to have about 85% free range access to graze on grass, and roam about. Based on the information provided from the fine folks at Harris Ranch, the cattle qualify enough to be ethically raised. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Very Good (9/10) rating.
Admirably, there is no sugar added. The salt level is somewhat high at 450mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. However, the salt level is ignored because healthy minimally processed sea salt is used as opposed to heavily processed table salt.
This jerky is confirmed as having no sodium nitrite, or any other similar unhealthy preservatives. Instead, sea salt is the main preservative, and apple cider vinegar to a lesser degree. Commendably, this jerky has no MSG added.
Written by guest jerky reviewer Paul Rekker
When I open the bag, I smell very little, if anything. My bag consists of two medium sized, thickly cut strips of jerky. They are not necessarily soft, but are not hard either. They are just right, yet soft enough to be quite easy to chew. There is no oily residue left on your fingers.
I can actually visually see the pepper flakes on the jerky, which looks incredibly yummy!! I am a pepper fiend, and this jerky is not disappointing me.
The first flavors I encounter are salt, very mild (if any) sweet, garlic, copious and copious amounts of pepper flavor. Wow, this jerky is kicking my behind, the strong flavor of pepper is just knocking me on my *ss!! Color me vehemently impressed, this jerky is da bomb!! If I am berated to find anything wrong with this flavor, it would have to be that it does not deliver on the hickory flavor, at least not from where I’m sitting.
Otherwise, grab that peace pipe, stuff some of that jerky in there, and let’s smoke us some jerky ganga, and let’s get high on beef!! A 10/10 gentlemen, two very emphatic thumbs way way up…👍👍
Here is what Mark had to say about this Hickory Smoked Pepper beef jerky flavor from Ray’s Own Brand: “Stephane and I wholeheartedly agree with Paul. Simply put, this jerky is world class. Paul historically has challenges picking up smoked flavors, where this hickory smoked pepper flavor is at an alright smoked level. This jerky was shared between 7 people, where all of the opinions about the flavor itself were positive. The less experienced jerky reviewers inserted their personal biases into their taste ratings about this jerky being cut so thick, and the inherent nature of black pepper falling off strips. Steak N A Bag!! Here are the official ratings between the Group of Seven (Mark – 10, Paul – 10, Stephane – 10, Nolan – 9.5, Mark M. – N/A, Sid – 8.5, Ava – 7.5)”.
This non-resealable plastic bag has a label affixed to the front, and nothing on the back. The front displays some smoke swirling in the background.
A slogan printed on this bag is “Ray’s Hand Cut, All Natural”. Some facts printed on this bag are “High Protein”, “No MSG, Gluten and No Sugar Added”, “No Nitrates or Nitrites added except those naturally occurring in Sea Salt & Celery Powder”, “Minimally Processed, No Artificial Ingredients”, and “Our Beef Is Raised, Harvested & Processed in the U.S.A.”.
The only bag categories missing are the plastic bag being not being resealable, and no blurb printed about Ray’s Own Brand, or this hickory smoked pepper flavor. To the credit of Ray’s Own Brand, a toll free phone number is displayed for customer inquiries.
Order their jerky online: www.raysownbrand.com