Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jawbone Beef Jerky - Teriyaki

Jawbone Beef Jerky Last but not least in this series on Jawbone Beef Jerky is their teriyaki variety. See previous reviews of their Original, Peppered, and Hot varieties.

Jawbone Beef Jerky is a product of Jawbone Canyon Store, an outpost located in the upper Mojave Desert of California. It serves the hikers, bikers, campers and desert rats who find themselves in that general area. Beef jerky has been a popular selling commodity at the store, and store owner Scott Spencer decided one day that he wanted to offer a better quality jerky than the mass market stuff. He ended up offering his own store brand instead. As a result, customers are now carrying his brand into the furthest reaches of the desert, helping advertise his store.

This line of jerky was manufactured by KMB Foods, of Arcadia, CA. This same meat is found in several other brands, including Buffalo Bills Dead Meat, and Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts.


Beef, sugar, water, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste off the surface of these pieces is a meaty aroma, followed quickly by a medium-level sweetness, and I detect a faint bit of garlic back there, and a bit of saltiness. In the chewing, I pick up a light meat flavor, a faint smokiness, and a bit more saltiness.

As for being a teriyaki variety, it's hard to find the teriyaki flavor in this. I do find the sweetness, and there's some saltiness which could be construed as soy sauce, but doesn't present a defined soy sauce flavor. I don't find any of the ginger or wine/sake flavor. My final verdict? I don't get any teriyaki flavor from this. It's more like a sweet & salty jerky instead.

As for the dominant flavor in these pieces, it's a tough call between the sweetness and the natural meat flavors. The sweetness is just strong enough, while the meat flavors are just light enough, that they share the honor of being the two strongest flavors, not necessarily in that order. The sweetness seems to start with the surface flavors, and lasts about half-way through the chewing. The meat flavors mostly starts in the chewing and will last all throughout. Towards the latter end of chewing, the saltiness becomes more easily noticed.

The meat flavors are light, but easily noticed. It's light enough that it's more like a teaser, where you keep wanting more, keep eating more, but never really getting much. It's an aged flavor, or if you want to look at it another way, stale. But it's not bad tasting, as long as it's in light amounts.

The salt intensity seems light to medium. The garlic is noticeable, but very light. The black pepper mentioned in the ingredients was not noticed.

For the most part, what you're going to get out of this jerky is not a teriyaki flavor, but just a good deal of sweetness starting off the surface, with some light natural meat flavors, a little bit of saltiness, and that's largely it.

Meat Consistency

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

It's mostly a dry jerky, but has a slight moist feel on the outside. It's a rather chewy jerky, being kinda tough to chew. But it seems to tear easily enough with my fingers, provided I'm tearing with the grain.

The chewing texture starts out stiff, and a little tough to chew. There's some of that rubbery resistance to chewing, but in about 25 seconds it seems to give way and breaks down into a soft mass. It has a steak-like feel, but more on the soft side, maybe even a bit mushy, perhaps similar to a steak cooked medium or medium-rare, depending on the pieces.

Many pieces had some visible amounts of fat, several of which were significant amounts. I didn't find any gristle in this review sample, though I've found plenty in other varieties from Jawbone Beef Jerky. Otherwise, I didn't encounter any other chewy or unchewable tissues.

For the most part it seems to be pretty clean eating also, with very little fragments falling off as I tear pieces apart, and no residue picking up on my fingertips.

Snack Value

Jawbone Canyon Store sells this teriyaki variety for a price of $7.00 per 3.65oz bag. That works out to a price of $1.92 per ounce, putting this in the average price range, but at the upper end.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.92 price per ounce, it seems to provide a decent value. It provides an average amount of snackability compared to the hundred-plus other brands I've reviewed thus far. It's still a light-tasting jerky overall, but has enough of the natural meat flavors, and seems to chew enough like real meat, that it keeps me reaching for more. The price, however, is perhaps on the high side for what value I'm getting.

As a teriyaki flavored jerky, at the same $1.92 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I don't really see this as a teriyaki jerky. Others might perceive it as teriyaki simply because there's a good deal of sweetness in this along with some saltiness. But if you think about what you're tasting, I don't think you'll find teriyaki flavor.


I'm giving this an average rating.

If you set aside the fact that I couldn't get much teriyaki flavor from this, I think you'll still find this jerky snackable for its overall flavor, and its light natural meat flavor. It also provides a decent meat chewing pleasure, though kinda tough initially.

But it doesn't really offer anything else in terms of flavor interest. It's rather plain as far as overall flavor goes, and seems comparable to mass-market teriyaki jerky brands. If anything makes this better than the mass-market brands, it's that you get some natural meat flavors.

Looking back at all the varieties of Jawbone Beef Jerky that I've reviewed, I think store owner Scott Spencer made a good move to offer his own jerky brand. His customers will indeed a get jerky that's better than the mass-market brands, though only a little bit better. But it's mostly the store brand marketing that'll provide him the bigger benefits, not necessarily the jerky sales.

For my beer recommendation, I'd recommend a simple pale ale.

Rating: Average

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