Wednesday, April 1, 2009

7-Select Beef Jerky - Original

7-Select Beef Jerky 7-Select is a brand name of 7-Eleven, Inc., the chain of convenience stores. The brand has been around since 2004, but was limited to just a handful of paper products. It wasn't until November of 2008 that the corporation decided to expand it's store brand to a full line of convenience store items, citing a need to offer consumers lower prices in a tough economy, as well as citing a trend of consumers that trust store brands as much as they do national brands.

This beef jerky is among the new entries into the 7-Select brand. It was manufactured by Knauss Snack Food Company, the makers of Bull & Hannah's Beef Jerky. Knauss is a subsidiary of American Foods Group, LLC, which specializes in services for convenience stores, including private labeling.

The 7-Select line of beef jerky also includes two other varieties, Peppered, and Teriyaki, which I'll be reviewing later.


Ingredients

Beef, brown sugar, water, salt, papaya juice, flavorings, vinegar, monosodium glutamate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderate amount of smoky flavor, and a bit of saltiness from sucking on them. The chewing flavor seems to yield a stronger saltiness, and more smokiness, and some sweetness.

Right off the bat, this jerky seems to have a very simple flavor, and a rather light flavor intensity.

After eating a few pieces, it seems the saltiness is the primary flavor. I'd rank the saltiness as medium in intensity, even though the nutrition facts label shows something medium-high in content. I'd also rank the smokiness as the secondary flavor.

After that, there's a light sweetness found in the chewing flavor, and I think that's about all that's easily recognized.

There's a considerable amount of oil on the surface of these pieces, and they do seem to provide a light oily flavor. Otherwise, there are no meat flavors to be found here.

Meat Consistency

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

It's a dry jerky, with only a little amount of flexibility. Tearing pieces apart requires a little effort, and the chewing difficulty varies from moderately easy to somewhat tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, with some pieces having a little bit of rubbery resistance, while others don't. Some chew down to a soft mass easily enough, in about 15 seconds. Others seem to be more chewy, more tough, and take longer to chew down. Once they chew down, they seem to have a fair amount of steak-like texture. I don't get anything crumbly, gummy or mushy.

I also find a fair amount of fat on these pieces; just about every piece has visible streaks of fat to a lesser or greater degree. I also found some chewy sinews in these meat pieces, and in some cases they left behind unchewable wads of tissue. I didn't encounter any gristle or tendon.

These pieces have a considerable amount of oil on the surface that seems to increase as they warm up to my office's room temperature. Some pieces aren't too bad, but others require me to lick off my fingers and wipe on my jeans. Tearing pieces apart doesn't seem to yield any fragments falling off on to my lap or desk.




Snack Value

7-Eleven sells this original variety at a price of $4.99 for a 3.25oz bag. That works out to a price of $1.54 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it seems to provide a weak value. I'm not really picking up much snackability from this. The only flavor it seems to provide is just salt and smoke, and the meat consistency is lacking, being rather oily to touch, and some pieces being tough to chew. The $1.54 price per ounce is perhaps low these days, considering the weakened economy we're in. But I think it's still too high for the little snacking value this provides.

Rating

I'm giving this a fair rating.

This original variety from 7-Select didn't offer me much snackability. The only flavor I got out of this was salt and smoke, and not much else. Combine that with some of the pieces being tougher to chew, the higher volume of fat, the oily touch, all made for a jerky that didn't inspire me to keep eating.

But to give 7-Eleven some credit, I think they accomplished what they set out to do, which is to create a jerky that rivals the national brands in taste and consistency, but at a lower price. I actually find this original variety to be quite comparable to Jack Link's original variety in terms of flavor, though Jack Link's is easier to eat.

We'll find out later on what the Peppered and Teriyaki varieties have to offer.

My recommended beer pairing for this, try an India Pale Ale.

Rating: Fair

Where to buy:
  • At any 7-Eleven store

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