Friday, January 2, 2009

Buffalo Bill's - Dead Meat - Hooah Hickory

Buffalo Bill's is a brand that's been around since 1990, owned by Choo Choo R Snacks, Inc. of Lebanon, PA. This "Dead Meat" is their newest line of jerky, sold only in one pound bags. The brand also includes a Premium line of jerky, as well as a Western Cut, and a Country Cut. They also do meat sticks.

According to Paul Squires, president of Choo Choo R Snacks, this Dead Meat line is similar to their Premium line, except uses a cheaper grade of meat. This makes it possible to price these one pound bags at a level competitive with other one pound competitors. Squires describes this cheaper meat as being a little more chewy, and I tend to agree. In addition to this "Hooah Hickory" variety, the Dead Meat line also includes "Spicy Snafu", and "Troi Oi Teriyaki", which I've already reviewed.

The manliness of having a full pound of beef jerky is bolstered quite effectively with the masculine graphics of the company's trademark Buffalo Bill character dressed in army fatigues, holding machine guns and hand grenades. The company says this jerky is made using only USA raised beef and USA made ingredients.


Beef, soy sauce, corn syrup, flavorings, cultured whey, sodium nitrite. Sprayed with potassium sorbate to protect freshness.


The flavors I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a smoky aroma, followed by a salty taste. In the chewing, the tastes I get is a stronger salty flavor, some more smoky flavor, and some of that soy sauce. There's a slight natural meat flavor coming through also.

My initial thoughts on this jerky is that it has a pleasing flavor, albeit a salty one, and does indeed have a smoky taste, which the "Hooah Hickory" name suggests. I'm finding a decent amount of salty flavor on the surface which encourages me to suck on a piece for a few seconds before chewing.

But that salty flavor tends to overwhelm across several pieces. Considering it's 370mg of sodium per half-ounce serving (740 for the standard one ounce), it's on the high side. And because there's little other flavoring to compete against that, it's pretty much the dominant taste of this jerky.

The second-most dominant taste of this jerky is the smoky taste. Neither the ingredients list nor the package label mentions smoke flavoring, but nonetheless I can taste it on the surface of these pieces and during the chew.

The third-most dominant flavor is probably the natural meat flavors. But it's just a light taste. It's more something I have to focus on in order to identify. Where I can taste the meat flavors at a greater level, they tend to have a stale taste, as if it's slightly turned. But because the meat flavors are mostly light in taste, you probably won't notice it much. Several pieces also have some visible bits of fat which tends to add a "beefy" flavor, which I find quite nice. I actually prefer a little bit of fat in the beef just for that reason.

I can also taste some of the soy sauce, but only during the chewing, by sucking out the juices. Its taste doesn't really make itself easily apparent, it perhaps creates an ambience that helps paint the overall taste.

Overall, this jerky has a decent amount of flavor intensity, though mostly as a salty-smoky flavor, and salty-smoky is largely what this jerky offers.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is largely a dry jerky, though I can sense a slight bit of moisture. Tearing a piece apart requires a bit of effort, but not really that bad. Likewise, chewing requires some moderate effort. But as far as jerky is concerned, it's still largely on par with most brands.

The chewing texture is mostly steak-like, though on the chewy side. It still feels like real meat, but it has enough resistance and elasticity that it's not totally like chewing a steak.

It's pretty clean eating, I'm not getting residue on my fingers and no meat fragments on my lap.

But several pieces do have visible amounts of fat, but nothing I've found in too much excess. However, I do find significant levels of gristle in many pieces, some of which made crunchy sounds as they gave way to the pressure of my molars.

Snack Value

Buffalo Bill's sells this Hooah Hickory variety from its website at a price of $17.99 for a 16 ounce bag. That works out to price of $1.12 per ounce, putting this into the average price range, but down towards the cheaper end.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a good value. I'm getting a decent snackability due to its overall pleasing taste, and meat-like chewing texture. It's not necessarily easy to eat, but its able to mitigate that with a good deal of surface flavor, allowing you to suck on a piece before chewing.

But considering it's only sold in one pound bags, I don't think it's something I'd want to buy. It's snackable, but it's not so snackable that I'd want to eat a full pound before the taste goes bad. I'd probably eat 3 or 4 ounces and not be able to finish it off before it loses freshness.

For being billed as a hickory variety, I think it's a great value. I'm getting a good deal of hickory smoked flavor in this jerky, and considering it's priced at a relatively low amount, it makes for a great deal. If hickory smoked beef is your poison of choice, you've got a bargain here.


I'm giving this an average rating.

I find this jerky to offer a decent amount of snackability, but that's about it. While it does have a pleasing taste, it's not an extraordinary taste. It's largely just salty/smoky flavor. If this had a stronger natural meat flavor, one that tasted more fresh, I could entertain a higher rating. If it had a more interesting blend of seasonings and marinade, I might also entertain a higher rating.

But otherwise it comes across to me as ordinary jerky.

It does stand up well to its hickory flavored advertisement, and it does have a good chewing texture, but still, as I continue to eat more of these pieces I really don't find anything that stands out as being above average. The substantial levels of gristle found in this one pound bag is a turn off for me.

But then again, jerky sold in one pound bags priced at this low is not expected to be "fine jerky". This is purely snack jerky, which I think this does fulfill. Again, I'm not sure I can eat a full pound of this stuff in the few days it starts to lose its freshness.

For my beer recommendation, try an Irish Red.

Rating: Average

Buy this online:


Post a Comment