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Beef jerky (commercial) reviews

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by jthuang, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    I eat a lot of beef jerky so I thought it'd be helpful to post some thoughts on commercially available jerky. Aside from the rather high cost I think beef jerky is an ideal snack (high protein, low carbs and low fat). My reviews are based on the hot/sweet-hot versions of each brand, if available (being my favorite flavor).

    1. Pemmican Natural Style Jerky: thumbs down. Too moist to be considered jerky in my opinion. It's like someone over-grilled some beef slices to drive out some of the moisture and then packaged them in vacuum sealed bags. Not a lot of smoke flavor. Available at certain convenience stores and gas stations. Website at http://www.pemmican.com/products/natural.html

    2. Oberto Natural Style Jerky: neutral. Better than Pemmican in that it's not over-moist. Is not as tender as some of the better jerky brands but isn't not cardboard-tough. Flavor is generally good although non-distinctive. I have tried the regular flavor and the new bbq flavor. Resealable bag is a plus. Available at convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations. Website at http://store.obertofactorystore.com/ohboyoberto.html

    3. Fort Bridger American Style Jerky:

    a. Tender Sliced Steak style: neutral to thumbs down. Former incarnation of this jerky was about the same as Oberto but now they have taken a turn for the worse. They now are trying to make the jerky more moist but they didn't do a good job. The end product's consistency suffered greatly as a result -- it's stringy and the added moisture does not increase tenderness. Flavor is okay, with not a lot of smokiness. About the only good thing is the price, at $29/2 lbs.

    b. Premium Thick Select style: neutral. It's basically thicker slices than (a) with more moisture. Upside is that the texture is better (not stringy) but the added moisture goes beyond just tender and is more like the Pemmican brand above (although not as bad).

    Both are available on the web from http://www.greatjerky.com

    4. Gary West Meats Beef Strips: neutral. This is from Amazon.com and I don't think they can really call this jerky, but then again they don't call it beef jerky either (except in the description on the Amazon website!). These are more like traditional dried beef sticks (not Slim Jims). The moisture is about the same as Pemmican brand jerky -- a bit too moist. No real smoke flavor and tastes more like salted beef. Comes in a burlap bag which is a nice touch but useless if you ask me. You can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...908-2923350?v=glance&s=gourmet-food&n=3580501

    5. Jack Links Beef Jerky: thumbs up. Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Very good balance between chewy texture and moisture. Is tender enough not to be "tough" but is not moist enough to make you think someone forgot to set the timer on the dehydrator at the factory. The jerky is not cut into strips but is formed into random slices but they're generally not too thick even though some pieces might be too big for one mouthful. My favorite is the Sweet & Hot flavor which has a nice zing to it but it is not too hot. Has a slight smoke flavor which makes it more tasty than the "salted beef" generic flavor. Available at convenience stores and gas stations. Website here: http://www.linksnacks.com/

    6. Blackbeard brand jerky: thumbs up. This is probably the best commercial stuff I have eaten and is my current standard fare. Excellent balance between texture and moisture. Cut into long thin strips of approximately the same size so they're easy to manage if you're munching while driving. This jerky is a bit less "lowfat" than other brands of jerky in that I have noticed that there remains some trace amounts of fat on some strips but this increases the tastiness of the jerky. Slight smoke flavor is a plus. Available from http://www.darkrunjerky.com

    Honorable mention:

    7. New Holland Meats beef sticks. This is NOT beef jerky. These are beef sticks but they are not like the generic Slim Jim knockoffs that you will find around town. These are cigar-sized sticks with beef, spices and some other stuff that probably isn't too good for you but they taste oh so good. Thin sausage-style wrapper tastes a bit artificial but not a real issue. These have a very smoky flavor so if you're not into it, avoid these sticks. They are good "as is" but my favorite way to prepare these is to cut them into thin slices and microwave them until they become slightly crispy. New Holland Meats is a regular attendee at the MAAC Harrisburg gunshows; no idea if they have a website.

    If you all have any favorites please also post where you can get them (on-line or otherwise) as I'm always open to trying new jerky from around the country.
     
  2. walangkatapat

    walangkatapat Millennium Member

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  3. sdakota

    sdakota senior member

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    Justin, after reading your comments on the various brands, I believe we have somewhat similar tastes in jerky.

    Moisture, tenderness, fattiness and the general feeling of being a natural food vs. an overprocessed obscenity (like most of the pemmican-like products) are all important, but flavor is the real test.

    I prefer the "original" flavor, so I haven't tried too many of the flavored varieties, though.

    Also, I don't have extensive experience with other brands, because I only buy those when I can't get the good stuff.

    That being said, I'm about to pass on the name of the best jerky in the world, IMHO.

    I've been eating this stuff for the last 35 years and I've never found any other jerky that comes close (although some of the brands you like look pretty good !)

    My only complaint is that occasionally I get a package that's been on the store shelf too long.
    In that case, the jerky can be too dry and chewy but when it's fresh, it can't be beat.

    Here ya go, bro: blackhillsjerky.com, the home of Sturgis Jerky.

    I think you would like it, but of course YMMV.

    If you try it, let us know what you think.

    disclosure: I have no connection to the company, I just like to promote the better local businesses.
    Did I mention that Cor-bon and Black Hills Ammo both make great products too ? ;f

    Greg
     
  4. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    Greg and walangkatapat, thanks for your recommendations. I've got a two lb package of Blackbeard on the way but I'll be sure to try your recommendations when I run out. It shouldn't be long, I usually go through 1 lb per week! ;f
     
  5. walangkatapat

    walangkatapat Millennium Member

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    I like the sweet stuff or sweet and hot. Sometimes I'll settle on the black peppered jerky. The Jerky Hut I'd run in at the gunshows or the state fair, but they got way too expensive for me so now I make my own and of course it's no where near as good, but it's a heck a lot cheaper.
     
  6. walangkatapat

    walangkatapat Millennium Member

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    Have you received the Jerky Hut yet?
     
  7. Glockman67

    Glockman67 #29 Supporter

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  8. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    Not yet. I'm basically downing 4 oz per weekday at work. :) I started on my most recent 2 lb shipment of Blackbeard jalapeno this week so I've put away 8 oz out of the 32 that I ordered. I usually put in a new order when I'm down to 1 lb. Will keep you all updated!
     
  9. walangkatapat

    walangkatapat Millennium Member

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    Did you get the Jerky Hut?
     
  10. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

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    No -- the jerkyhut.com website does not permit online (or even telephone) ordering. :(

    The Sturgis website, strangely enough, does not have secure online ordering. I'm not submitting my credit card info over an unsecure connection.
     
  11. walangkatapat

    walangkatapat Millennium Member

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    Try this link and find the link closet to where you live. It looks like you can order online. http://www.jerkyhut.com/