I had the opportunity to sample jerky from Gary West (http://www.garywest.com) at the recent San Francisco Fancy Food Show (more reviews to come).
This jerky has probably the cleanest meaty flavor of any regular jerky I have tried yet, there is no hint of the synthetic processed taste that I often find in most commercial jerky.
They do several flavors, Traditional, Cracked Black Pepper, Cajun, and Teriyaki in their beef jerky. They also have a line of buffalo and elk jerky, which is wonderful.
Most interesting and tasty of all however is the “Silver Fork Natural” product line, with beef, buffalo, and elk all available. It uses an all natural cure, with no nitrites or artificial preservatives added. The flavor is wonderful, pure intensely meaty flavor and it really allows the marinade flavor with the salt, pepper and brown sugar to come through. I personally love the elk and buffalo, as the flavor was intense and bold, and these are meats we don’t see too often on tables in the San Francisco bay area.
While it is not a food product I eat very often, I do enjoy it occasionally (it’s something of a guilty pleasure), for the flavor and texture, and I would definitely look for this brand when purchasing jerky, especially the naturally cured versions.
Gary West is located in Jacksonville, Oregon, and they do apparently have a tasting room. Jacksonville is near the Oregon – California border, not far from Ashland, Oregon. The company also has a line of smoked meats, such as ham and turkey, which I have not tried.