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February 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Oh, boy! Local beef jerky wins taste test

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Beef jerky from Kent-based Oberto Brands came out on top of a taste test in the March issue of Consumer Reports. It ranked #1 of the ten brands listed, beating out Costco and Target’s store brands in the “very good” category.

“The best jerkies have a just-right chewy texture. Oh Boy Oberto Original is a tad spicy, with well-blended smoke, brown sugar, garlic, and fruit flavors,” the article said.

Seven other brands won a “good” rating, with 7-11’s at the top and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s at the bottom. The bottom two were “too soft and have an organ-meat or metallic note.”

While it’s not exactly good for you, beef jerky is at least low in fat, the tasters noted. But the tested brands were all “loaded with sodium,” with Oberto’s salting in at 410 milligrams of sodium per serving. That was less than Costco’s Pacific Gold (520 mg) or Target’s Market Pantry (540 mg), though the levels went as low as 270 mg per serving for the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s brands. Oberto ran $1.39 per serving, compared with 69 cents per serving for Costco’s brand and $1.20 for Target’s. Whole Foods, with an organic jerky, was the priciest overall of the tested brands, at $2.33 per serving.

Here’s the complete writeup and ratings chart for beef jerkies and meat sticks.

New to town or not familiar with Oberto’s local roots? While a lot has changed over the years, including a 2011 recipe shift, here’s a story we did years back on the company’s hardworking, delightfully quirky, family-centric history. The company plans to open a new factory in Tennessee mid-year.

File photo by Harley Soltes/The Seattle Times

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