Branding Iron Beef Jerky is a localized brand found only in liquor stores and convenience stores along the central coast of California. See my previous review of their "Sweet & Spicy" variety.
The brand is owned by JW Distributing, Inc., based out of Santa Maria, CA. JW Distributing distributes products to convenience stores and liquor stores all across the central coast of California. They actually specialize in meat snacks, distributing a wide variety of brands. They also produce their own energy drink called "Energy Shooter".
Branding Iron Beef Jerky is actually manufactured by Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks, of Tillamook, OR, the maker of Werner Beef Jerky. You can't buy Branding Iron Beef Jerky online, it's only available in those small stores.
Beef, brown sugar, honey, water, salt, spices, monosodium glutamate, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong sweet flavor, followed by a bit of salty, and a fair amount of honey flavor. In the chewing, what I taste first is a bit more saltiness, and a continuation of the sweet and honey flavors.
For being billed as "Honey Glazed", this jerky seems to live up to that claim, providing a honey flavor, along with a strong sweetness. I'd say that combination of honey and sweet is definitely the primary flavor of this jerky, starting with the surface flavor, and lasting most of the way through the chewing.
The saltiness is perhaps the next-most noticeable flavor component, but it's not all that strong. I'd say it's light. It probably shouldn't even be considered a dominant flavor, but it's quite noticeable because this jerky doesn't offer any other flavor but sweet & salty.
The nutrition facts label shows a higher 640mg of sodium, but I think the thicker sweet flavor mitigates that. The saltiness becomes stronger at the tail end of chewing, perhaps because the sweetness wears off at that point.
There are no natural meat flavors to be tasted here.
The garlic powder listed in the ingredients is not detected either.
I can see tiny flecks of black pepper on these pieces, but I don't taste any of it.
Overall, what you're going to taste here is the thick sweetness, with some honey flavor, and then saltiness. That's it.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of about 3-6 inches in length.
This seems to be a semi-moist jerky, maybe a tad on the dry side. The sugary glaze perhaps makes this seem more moist than it really is. The pieces are quite flexible. It's seems moderately-easy to bite chunks off of these strips, and chewing seems little chewy, but overall easy.
The chewing texture starts a little stiff, but clearly flexible. With a little sucking and gentle biting, it chews down quickly enough, in about 15 seconds. At that point it has some steak-like chewing texture, maybe more similar to medium-rare cooked steak. But it seems to have a bit of gummy quality to it also. I think the thick sugary glaze creates that feeling.
This jerky have some small streaks of fat on some pieces, but overall it seems pretty lean. I didn't encounter any tendon or gristle, and didn't find too many chewy sinews.
It seems pretty clean eating, perhaps due to being cut into strips allowing me to bite off chunks, instead of tearing apart with my fingers. But the sugary glaze is a bit sticky, and does leave some residue on my fingers.
I paid $5.99 for this 3.5oz package at a Copenhagen Liquor store in Solvang, CA. That works out to a price of $1.71 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $1.71 price per ounce, it seems to provide a fair value. I get some snackability from this, mostly because it provides a decent flavor intensity, albeit a pretty simple sweet & salty flavor. The chewing texture is ok. I think being semi-moist is what will largely attract people. But otherwise, there's little snack value coming out of this for the $1.71 price per ounce.
As a Honey Glazed variety, at the same $1.71 price per ounce, it seems to provide a better value, perhaps good. It's clearly sweet, and does seem to provide a honey flavor. If you're attracted to the words "Honey Glazed" on beef jerky labels, then I think you'll get a good deal of satisfaction from this.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Honey Glazed variety from Branding Iron Beef Jerky provided me with some snackability based on its own merits. I got less than average snackability from this, compared to many other brands that got an average rating.
However, because it seems to live up to its advertised flavor, I think that helps create some snackability. If Honey Glazed beef jerky is what you crave, you'll see this as being more snackable than if you were to evaluate this a general purpose jerky.
In terms of negatives, this jerky doesn't really offer much flavor complexity, only sweet & salty. It's actually rather bland tasting. It's only if you love sweet, sweet, jerky that it becomes tasty. The chewing texture is somewhat chewy, and a tad gummy. But overall not bad.
Just needs more flavor complexity.
My recommended beer pairing for this, an IPA.
Where to buy:
- liquor stores and convenience stores across central California coast