Any doctor will tell you a healthy diet consists of two crucial things: beef, and jerky.
And thus we turn to companies like Oberto to provide us with the delicious — Ron Swanson would even say, “life-sustaining” — food.
Oberto was founded in Seattle, Wash. almost a century ago, and has dominated the West Coast ever since. I spent my childhood in Washington and Oberto was always a staple in my home. It surprised me when I moved to Washington, D.C., that not many people had heard of the brand.
It’s time to change that, and thankfully, Oberto was kind enough to send me a couple (and by a couple I mean a lot) of boxes of beef jerky to taste-test. What better way to spend a Monday?
Packaging is important, and Oberto does it well. An athletic theme is obvious, with pictures of various sports on the front and back of the white and orange packaging. A small transparent area gives you enough of a glimpse to get your taste buds salivating. The resealable top is a nice touch, if you somehow manage not to eat the whole bag in one sitting (I won’t be needing it). The back has a call to excellence, challenging all jerky aficionados to “tear open a bag” because “We’ve got work to do.” Eating all this jerky counts as work, right?
I dove into my favorite flavor first: Oberto Teriyaki Beef Jerky.
Sweetness hits your nose immediately after opening the bag. Refreshing, since teriyaki jerky can sometimes have a syrupy smell. Some people may like that– I don’t. Oberto has a gentler aroma than other teriyaki jerkys, like Jack Link’s Teriyaki Beef Jerky. Undertones of soy remind me of the Chinese food I’ve been waiting all day to order, and a grumbling stomach reminds me of the next step– eating!
Each piece is conveniently bite-sized, so I spend less time ripping giant hunks-o-jerky into little hunks-o-jerky, and more time eating.
My least favorite part of beef jerky is often the gewy feel. Bottom line: I like to munch on snacks while I work on my computer, and if I have to wipe my hands after every bite of jerky, that’s a problem. The last thing I want is to get jerky grease all over my keyboard, but lucky for me that isn’t a problem with Oberto Teriyaki Beef Jerky. I like that its appearance and feel are notably drier than other jerkys I’ve tried. I’m able to pick up a piece, eat it, and write this review without soaking each key. It is a touch crumbly, but I’ll take that over grease any day. It also tears apart very easily, which is nice because while ripping jerky apart like a dog with a chew toy is fun, it’s not the hottest look.
Oberto strikes a nice balance in feel: a happy medium between hard and stale vs. gewy and greasy.
The first bite is pure cattle deliciousness.
True to its gentle smell, Oberto’s teriyaki flavor comes on slowly. Salt, soy and mouth-watering sweetness take their time enveloping you. A nice side-effect of the delayed taste is that I spent more time chewing each piece. Not only does that make your beef jerky last longer, but it’s better for digestion! (Unlike most jerky enthusiasts, I care about these things).
I noticed some fluctuation in flavor intensity between the pieces, but they were all wonderful. It has a moderate amount of chewiness to it. I think it could use a touch more, but it’s nice to not feel like I’m chewing gum.
My conclusion? Oberto may have switched up its logo a couple years ago, but Oh Boy! is this jerky fabulous.