Monday, April 20, 2009

7-Select Beef Jerky - Peppered

7-Select Beef Jerky Next in the series on 7-Select Beef Jerky is this peppered variety. See my previous review of their Original and Teriyaki varieties.

7-Select is a brand name of 7-Eleven, Inc., the chain of convenience stores. The company has had the brand for the past several years, but used it very sparingly for some paper products. Just last Fall, they decided to expand the brand to a wide assortment of food products, including beef jerky.

It was manufactured by Knauss Snack Food Company, a subsidiary of American Foods Group, LLC, which specializes in services for convenience stores, including private labeling.


Ingredients

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

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a meaty aroma, followed by a slight sweet flavor, and a light salty flavor. In the chewing, I taste a tad more sweet.

For being billed as a peppered variety, I guess it depends on what piece you're eating. The first piece I described above didn't provide any black pepper flavor, even though I picked one out that had a moderate amount of pepper visible. I tried a second piece, with a heavier dose of pepper, and I got a light black pepper flavor on the surface and in the chewing.

But over several pieces, the black pepper does build up an aftertaste of medium intensity.

As for the primary flavor of this jerky, I'd have to give it to the sweet, though the saltiness seems equally as strong. But I think because the sweet is more noticeable in the beginning, it seems to remain in my mind the strongest. The saltiness has the second strongest showing in this jerky, having a medium intensity in flavor.

The black pepper does have a dominant presence, but still behind the sweet and salty flavors. I think it's mostly dominant as an aftertaste, than on an individual piece.

I don't find any natural meat flavors in this jerky. I did report a "meaty aroma" in the surface, but that was the smell wafting through my mouth and up into my sinuses from the back.

Overall, what you're going to get out of this is largely a sweet & salty jerky, in light-to-medium levels, with a light flavoring of black pepper. The heavy presence of black pepper on these pieces might make it appear that you're going to get a strong black pepper flavor, but it isn't really so.

Meat Consistency

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

This is mostly a dry jerky, but with a slight amount of moisture. There's a bit of flexibility in these pieces, but any small amount of bending causes it to crack open. It's fairly easy to tear apart, and the chewing seems easy.

The chewing texture seems varied, but somewhat steak-like. Some pieces tend to chew down into a crumbly mass, while others seem to have a more fibrous steak-like chew. I even found some thinner sliced, and more moist pieces, to chew down somewhat mushy.

I didn't really find any bits of fat on these pieces, and no tendon or gristle. Some pieces did have some chewy strands of sinews. For the most part, this jerky is quite lean.

In terms of clean eating, I found chunks of black pepper falling off the pieces and into my lap or desk, just moving them from the bag to my mouth. There's also quite a bit of black pepper sitting in the bottom of the bag.




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, at the $1.54 price per ounce, this jerky seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability from its satisfactory flavor, and easy-to-eat consistency. Actually, a $1.54 per ounce is about the most I'd want to pay for this, and if given a choice between this brand of peppered jerky and the higher-priced Jack Link's or Oberto, I'd go with 7-Select.

As a Peppered variety, also at the $1.54 price per ounce, I think it provides a decent value as well. I do get a black pepper flavor from this, but in a light-to-medium amount, depending on how much pepper is present. In some cases, I actually didn't get any peppery flavor. Overall, you'll get a decent amount of black pepper aftertaste going.

Rating

I'm giving this an average rating.

This Peppered variety from 7-Select offers a competitive tasting jerky to the national brands like Jack Links, Bridgford, and Oberto, but is priced a little bit lower. You won't get any natural meat flavors, and nothing exciting in terms of taste, but then again you won't get that in the national brands either.

In many respects, this this is very similar to Mr. Z's Peppered, but with a lower black pepper intensity, making it much more tolerable. If you know the taste of that variety, then you know the taste of this 7-Select.

I was able to get an average amount of snackability, and was able to get a decent amount of black pepper flavor, two things I would expect at the very least from any black peppered jerky. That gets it an "average" rating. Add to that the fact it's easy to eat, and it increases the snackability a little.

For my recommended beer pairing, try a brown ale.

Rating: Average

Where to buy:
  • At any 7-Eleven store

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