Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pacific Gold - American Style Kobe

Pacific Gold - American Style KobeWhile visiting the Oh Boy! Oberto Factory Store in Seattle last month, I found this package of Pacific Gold - American Style Kobe Beef Filets. And just as with the Pacific Gold Turkey Tenders I reviewed last week, there's nothing on this package with the word "jerky". But obviously, that's what this is.

Kobe is a type of beef cattle bred and raised exclusively in Japan. It's derived from the Wagyu breed of cattle, and fed a diet of sake and beer. They also receive regular massages, and fed only Japanese-grown grain. The result is the most marbilized beef in the world.

This particular jerky, however, contains "American Style Kobe", which is the Americanized version of Kobe. Back in 2001, the US prohibited all beef imports from Japan due to the mad cow disease. As a result, all kobe beef sold in the States is not technically real Kobe beef. US cattle growers were able to crossbreed the Wagyu with the Black Angus so that they could mass produce kobe-style beef and make it available at a lower price.

According to the literature on the package, Pacific Gold obtained some of this beef in a limited supply and turned it into jerky. There's no advertised flavor on this package either, except only "seasoned and smoked".


American style kobe beef, brown sugar, flavorings, corn syrup, apple juice, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, hickory smoke flavor, sodium nitrite.

Note: this is the first Pacific Gold variety I've seen that includes sodium nitrite.


The tastes I pick up off the surface of these pieces is a sweet flavor, a meaty aroma, and a smoky flavor. There's also a slight oily feel in my mouth. In the chewing, I get some salty taste, and a hint of black pepper.

Right off the bat, the thought that comes to mind is how bland this tastes. When looking at and smelling this jerky, I got the opposite sense, that it would be brimming with flavor. But it's not.

Since kobe beef is known for its luxurious taste, I would expect to get a great taste of meat in this. But I don't get any. Ok, maybe I do get a smidgeon of "beef" flavor, but I tend to think that comes from the higher-degree of fat marbilization. Otherwise, I don't taste the meat itself.

The flavor that seems to dominate this jerky is the sweetness. It's strong enough that Pacific Gold should have perhaps labeled this as "sweet & smoked" filets instead of using the word "seasoned". It's pretty much the flavor I taste throughout the entire chew. The smoky flavor is also strong, but second to the sweet. There is indeed a seasoned flavor in this, but it would be the third strongest flavor. It's actually slight, but is noticed in the back of my mouth, mostly as a black pepper taste. I think there may actually be some garlic in this also.

As far as saltiness is concerned, it seems light. It's definitely noticeable when I think about it, but it's light enough that my brain seems to have tuned it out and I'm left focusing on the sweet, smoky, and lightly seasoned taste.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced in medium thickness, and in small, medium, and large pieces. There's also a lot of crumbled pieces in the bottom of the bag.

Note that this bag has a sticker on it that says, "ends & pieces".

This is a soft and tender style of jerky, with a good deal of moisture. Or actually, it might be oiliness. It's easy to tear apart, and easy to chew.

The chewing texture is not all that steak-like. It's got a fibrous quality, but also somewhat mushy, perhaps due to the higher degree of oiliness. When I chew it, it reduces down to a mushy meal.

I also found a good deal of chewy connective tissue, like tendon, or gristle. I'm not exactly sure what it is. There are several pieces however, that appear to be free of this stuff.

And in terms of cleanliness, it's leaves some oily residue on my fingers, enough that it requires some licking off before touching anything else. There is a good deal of fine meat fragments covering these pieces, but the oiliness seems to prevent them from falling off.

Snack Value

I paid $4.99 for this 7 ounce bag at the Oh Boy! Oberto Factory Store in Seattle, WA. That works out to a price of $0.71 per ounce, putting this into the cheap price range.

For general jerky snacking purposes, that low of a price makes this a good buy. You won't get a lot of flavor out of this, you won't get a great meat consistency, and even a lackluster chewing texture, but on the other hand it's not bad. At $0.71 per ounce, a jerky has to be pretty bad to be a waste of money.

But as an "American Style Kobe" variety, it's a fair value at best. And again, that's only because of the price. If you find this at a higher price, it becomes a poor value. That's because this has no natural meat flavors to it. When you see "kobe beef", you always think of some of the world's best tasting beef. If you're looking for some really great tasting meat, this'll be a waste of money.

I'll condition all that by reminding you of the "Ends & Pieces" sticker on the bag. Perhaps this contains all the rejected pieces. In that case, it may not be a fair review.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

This jerky does have some snackability, but it's not very snackable. For the most part, it's a bland tasting jerky, with the sweet and smoky flavor being the two most dominant. The seasonings in this are light, and are not strong enough to be enjoyed on their own. Aside from that, that's all the taste this jerky offers.

For being an American Style Kobe beef, you'd expect to get some really good natural meat flavors. I mean, the whole point of having kobe beef is to get that exquisite meat flavor. In that sense, this jerky is a huge disappointment.

The subpar meat consistency and lackluster chewing texture could all be written off because of the "Ends & Pieces" sticker on the bag. Perhaps these are just the rejected pieces. Therefore, I didn't take the consistency and texture into account when assigning the fair rating.

What we're basically left with is a bland jerky that doesn't live up to its kobe beef expectations.

A good beer variety with this would be an IPA.

Rating: Fair

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  1. You obviously have never had kobe beef before. Horrible review. Stick to your bottom round jerky.

  2. I have had this exact beef jerky, as well as Japanese wagyu and "American Style Kobe Beef" steaks and I concur with the reviewer that this beef jerky is fair at best.

    In fact I purchased 10 bags of this jerky from costco thinking it would be fantastic and I returned 9 of the bags.