Monday, March 16, 2009

Uncle Buck's Beef Jerky - Original

Uncle Buck's Beef Jerky Uncle Buck's is the store brand of Bass Pro Shops, the famous supplier of fishing gear that has exploded onto the American retail scene with super-sized stores dubbed "Outdoor World" looking like a log cabin big enough to house Paul Bunyan.

The name "Uncle Buck" refers to the uncle of Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, who introduced him to fishing when he was a child. All of Bass Pro Shops store-branded items honor his name.

Bass Pro Shops doesn't make their own jerky. This stuff is manufactured by Monogram Meat Snacks of Chandler, MN, who makes jerky for several other brands, including Jeff Foxworthy, NASCAR, Winchester Rifles, Stubb's BBQ, Jim Beam, etc.


Beef, water, brown sugar, contains 2% of less of the following: salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, dextrose, soy sauce, natural smoke flavor, flavorings, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste off the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, followed by a slight sweetness, and a light saltiness. I can also pick up a meaty aroma. When I start chewing, I taste the meat flavors, and then a strong saltiness.

That strong saltiness seems to be the primary flavor throughout the chewing. I'd rank it as high in terms of intensity. A few pieces into this bag the saltiness seems tolerable, but over the entire contents its create a light salt scorching.

The natural meat flavors probably have the second-most dominant flavor in the chewing. It's enough to add a significant component to the overall chewing flavor, though clearly sitting behind the saltiness. But it doesn't taste anything like a steak, or what anyone would consider "beef". It's a heavily processed flavor, comparable to a meat stick, or summer sausage, but still snackworthy.

I can pick up a slight soy sauce flavor in the chewing, but towards the latter part of chewing. It's light enough that it'll likely go unnoticed through the course of general snacking.

I can still pick up a wee bit of smoky flavor inside the meat.

Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a slight smoky, sweet flavor off the surface. In the chewing, you'll get the weaker meat flavor first, but quickly overtaken by a strong saltiness. In the latter part of chewing, look for a light soy sauce flavor to emerge from the saltiness.

Meat Consistency

This appears to be a chopped & formed, or perhaps more correctly a chunked & formed jerky, shaped into thick slices, and in small to medium sized pieces.

It's best described as a soft and tender style of jerky, with a semi-moist feel. It cracks apart if bent around 75-90 degrees. Tearing these pieces is relatively easy, while the chewing seems relatively easy as well.

The chewing texture starts out with a stiff, rubbery-resistance, but chews down to a meat-like feel in about 20-30 seconds. It seems to take on a steak-like feel, but more like medium-rare, where red colored meat remains chewy. Here and there I encounter some chewy sinews, but not too much overall. The meat eventually gets kinda mushy. But otherwise, not crumbly or gummy.

This chunked & formed meat mixture doesn't seem to contain any hard bits of bone or cartilage. Just some chewy sinews in a few places. There's also a fine layer of oil on these pieces that remains on my fingertips. Several pieces also contain deposits of white lard in some surface recesses.

Snack Value

I paid $3.99 for this 3.65oz package of Uncle Buck's at a Bass Pro Shops in Ontario, CA. That was actually a sale price at the time, with the normal price being $5.99. If you consider the $5.99 price, that would work out to a per ounce price of $1.64, putting this into the average price range.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.64 price per ounce, this jerky seems to present a fair value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability through it's easy eating, ok chewing texture, and sausage-like meat flavors. It's good enough to snack on while dangling your hook over a disinterested catfish, but not good enough to appreciate for its own merits. If I found myself at a Bass Pro Shops, buying supplies for a day outdoors, I'd buy it but only if I could get the sale price.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This jerky seems to have enough flavor intensity, albeit mostly that sausage-like meat flavor and saltiness, and some soy sauce at the tail end, to keep my snacking urge satisfied while focusing on some other activity.

But there isn't anything about this that would put it above average. Everything about it seems to fall in line with the glut of mass-market jerky. The whole jerky itself has mass-market feel to it. You pull out a piece and look at it and wonder from what animal it came from. Yet, it actually isn't all that bad, thanks to the wonders of modern science.

I remember watching an episode of Survivorman, where Les Stroud was in Australia, and he used a piece of beef jerky to fish out some crawdads. Considering Bass Pro Shops is glorified fishing store, it would make sense their jerky qualifies as excellent fish bait.

I'd recommend a lightly hopped pale ale, to go along with this jerky.

Rating: Average

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1 comment:

  1. I'd put this stuff in the same category as Jack Link or other common, convenience store jerky. I was on a long road trip recently, and when I'm on the road, I like to jerky it up.

    I'm not an outdoorsman type, never been in a Bass Pro Shop, so I didn't realize they had a brand of jerky and decided to try it over the regular gas station brands I see.

    Overall, it was perfectly unremarkable, cheap jerky. I would probably pick it up over a Jack Link, because I like the salt and it seemed saltier. But I wouldn't go out of my way to find the stuff.