Thursday, July 24, 2008

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Original

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - OriginalBuffalo Bills Beef Jerky is a brand produced by Choo Choo R Snacks, Inc. of Lebanon, PA. The company, which was started by five independent snack food distributors, has been producing beef jerky since 1990, starting with their Premium Hickory Smoked Beef Jerky.

Since then, the company has gone on to produce several new lines of jerky, including the Western Cut, which represents the dry, thin sliced jerky, and the Country Cut, which represents a soft and tender variety. They also make meat sticks and candies.

As of late, the company has seen a growth in its business, having been named by Inc. Magazine as among the top 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States.

Choo Choo R Snacks, Inc. prides itself as using only American-made ingredients, including USA-born and bred cattle.


Beef, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, liquid smoke, sodium nitrite.

Note that this ingredients list is exactly the same as other varieties in the Western Cut line, including Teriyaki, Black Pepper, and Sweet & Spicy.


The first taste that I detect upon putting a piece into my mouth is a sweetness that quickly develops into a teriyaki taste. The taste of black pepper comes through immediately following, and then with some chews I can taste the natural meat flavors. I also detect a very slight "hotness" probably from the black pepper.

I'll note that several pieces have a good layering of black pepper, while other pieces have less, and others yet have none. The first piece that I described above came from a piece with a medium layering of pepper.

The next piece I tried was one without pepper, and again it was the sweet teriyaki taste that I got right away. No peppery flavor, but just the natural meat flavors.

The teriyaki taste is not a strong one, but enough to distinguish as teriyaki. Note that the company's Teriyaki variety I reviewed over a week ago actually tastes less like real teriyaki, while this Original variety I'm reviewing now has a better teriyaki taste. I'm sure this Western Cut line of jerky is all made using the same teriyaki sauce, but for whatever reasons, that teriyaki doesn't always come out tasting the same.

As for saltiness, it doesn't necessarily come out tasting too salty. However, the nutrition label does show 600mg of salt per 1oz serving, which is a high amount. I think the sweetness of the teriyaki and brown sugar do well to offset the saltiness.

There is also a definite smokiness to this jerky also. And that smokiness does a good job of enhancing the natural meat flavors, which are well noticed in this sample.

Overall, this jerky has a great taste. As an original variety, which are similar to being a "plain" jerky, this is hardly plain. It can be better described as a teriyaki jerky, or as a black peppered jerky, or a combination of both. Most jerky eaters would welcome this, but those who don't like sweet jerky, or peppered, might not.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be cuts of real meat, sliced thin, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky, one that retains a lot of flexibility. I find this somewhat tough, but not terribly. It takes some effort to tear a piece apart, and some effort to chew. But haven eaten several brands of jerky, I've had far worse. For being a dry, thin cut, jerky, this isn't all that tough.

Some pieces have small amounts of tendon, or maybe chewy membrane, that stays behind after you've chewed for awhile. I also found some very small bits of gristle, but didn't really distract too much from my enjoyment. One particular piece (see photos below), had lots of fat around it. In fact, if you look closely at the photos, you'll see a patch of white stuff. It didn't taste or have a consistency that I could recognize. If I'm still alive tomorrow then you won't have anything to worry about.

Overall, this jerky has a good meat consistency. While chewy, and requiring some effort to eat, I don't actually find this to be "tough". I think this is consistency with what a western style of jerky should be. While it does have some chewy tendon, and bits of gristle, it wasn't enough to subtract from my overall enjoyment.

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Original

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Original

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Original

Product Value

Choo Choo R Snacks, Inc. sells this jerky from their website at a price of $3.29 for a 1.75oz bag. That works out to $1.88 per oz, putting this into the average price range. You can get this for $1.57 per oz if you buy their larger 3.5oz bag.

Is it worth your money to buy this? Well, as an Original variety, it's hard to classify this as truly fitting the classic "original" moniker. This is more like a light teriyaki variety, or a light black peppered variety. If you tend to purchase mostly original varieties of jerky, you might be disappointed by the sweetness and the peppery flavors.

But if you're like me, you love all kinds of jerky and you welcome something that mixes together several flavors.

Otherwise, I'd say this offers a great value considering its average price. You're getting lots of flavor, in a jerky that offers some ease in eating. Moreover, I find it very snackable. If you're looking for something to chew on while watching a movie, writing your college thesis, this is a great buy.


Buffalo Bills Western Cut - OriginalI'm giving this a best rating.

This Western Cut Original variety from Buffalo Bills offers a great taste with its sweet teriyaki basting and black pepper coating, combined with a smoky natural meat flavor, that will leave you reaching for more.

However, it's tough to distinguish this variety from the company's Western Cut Black Pepper variety. Both varieties seem to have the same amounts of black pepper, and both have the same teriyaki sweetness. My guess is that the black pepper variety would have a little bit more pepper. Yet, the samples I reviewed seemed like they had the same. I'm not really sure there is a difference.

For that matter, I was tempted to give this Original variety a lower rating, just for the fact that it didn't really live up to its advertisement as an original variety. However, I'm not really certain that there is any definition of what constitutes an original variety. I can't say that it's simply an absence of any other flavoring, even though most other brands make their original varieties that way.

So, I'm giving Buffalo Bills the benefit of the doubt in this case, and gave it the same rating as its Black Pepper variety: Best.

Rating: Best

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