Friday, April 10, 2009

7-Select Beef Jerky - Teriyaki

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

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.


Ingredients

Beef, water, brown sugar, sugar, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, flavorings, papaya juice, monosodium glutamate, vinegar, citric acid, soy sauce powder, sodium nitrite.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a medium-level sweet, followed by a light smokiness. There's some saltiness with a little sucking. In the chewing, I get a heavier sweet, and more salty. There's a more defined teriyaki flavor in the chewing, and that's about all I taste initially.

For being billed as a Teriyaki variety, this jerky indeed gives off a teriyaki-like flavor, but doesn't quite go far enough for me to consider it as true teriyaki. It has the sweet, and soy sauce flavors that combine together, and even gives off faint touches of flavor normally provided by sake and ginger, even though those two ingredients are not listed. But it doesn't give off enough of those latter two flavors to really punch out true teriyaki.

But the teriyaki flavor is still strong enough that it seems to be the primary flavor of this jerky. I can taste it's components off the surface, and then in the chewing, it comes together to create a more defined teriyaki flavor.

The salt flavor intensity in this seems to be moderate.

I don't taste any natural meat flavors.

Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is the teriyaki flavor, and little else. It starts with a sweet & smoky flavor off the surface, and then defines itself as teriyaki in the chewing, but not really going far enough to be considered true teriyaki.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small pieces. There's also about a full ounce of small bits in the bottom of the bag.

This appears to be a dry jerky, with just a little bit of flexibility. It's easy to tear apart with my fingers, and easy to chew.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, but easily chewable. It seems to chew down to a soft mass in about 15 seconds. At that point, it doesn't quite have a steak-like feel, it's more crumbly than anything else. But there's still some fibrous character to it, just not enough to resemble a steak-like chewing.

This is a little different than what I described with the Original variety, where I said it was more chewy. But then again, the Original variety didn't have the full ounce of crumbled bits in the bottom of the bag like this Teriyaki variety has.

Several pieces contain some visible bits of fat. I don't really find any tendon or gristle, but several pieces did contain some chewy sinews that leave behind some unchewable wads of tissue.

These pieces are pretty clean eating however. My fingers don't pick up any residue from handling them, and because these pieces are mostly in small sizes I can pop them into my mouth without tearing them apart.




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 seems to offer a fair value. This jerky offers a fair amount of snackability, mostly for its easy eating, and satisfactory flavor. The full ounce of jerky bits in the bottom of the bag would require you to pour this jerky into your hands. I think this price per ounce is actually at the upper limits of what I'd pay for what snackability I'm getting out of it.

As a teriyaki flavored jerky, at the same $1.54 price per ounce, it also provides a fair value. It does seem to resemble teriyaki, and if I were to eat this without thinking about the teriyaki flavor at all, I'd feel convinced that I was getting a teriyaki jerky. It's when you compare this teriyaki flavor to the teriyaki you might get from an authentic Japanese restaurant that you realized it's subpar teriyaki. It also doesn't provide any other flavor, just teriyaki.

Rating

I'm giving this an average rating.

This Teriyaki variety from 7-Select Beef Jerky provides an average amount of snackability, with some teriyaki flavor that seems to be a little better than the teriyaki offered by some other mass-market brands.

But it's overall flavor seems to be pretty limited to just that flavor. There's really no other seasonings to make this interesting, and no natural meat flavors either. The teriyaki flavor itself does resemble teriyaki, just not true teriyaki. Still, it's enough to satisfy your urge for teriyaki jerky.

But for what 7-Eleven wanted, which is to provide its own competing store brand jerky against the Jack Link's, Obertos, and Bridgfords of the market, it seems to have created such a monster. For that matter, it's perhaps a success.

My recommended beer pairing for this, a lightly flavored pale ale.

Rating: Average

Where to buy:
  • At any 7-Eleven store

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