Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Couple O' Jerks - Original

A Couple O' Jerks A Couple O' Jerks is one of the newest, if not, THE newest brand of jerky on the market as of this writing. The brand is owned by A Couple O' Jerks, LLC, based out of a Labadie, MO.

The business was started by Don Self, a guy who's been making his own jerky for years and years. The company got started like most others, where Don shared some of his homemade jerky with his friends, and his friends telling him he ought to sell the stuff. So with the help of a friend, A Couple O' Jerks was born.

The company makes jerky at its own USDA approved facility. They only have this one flavor, Original. And the package says, "We believe that when you take a bite of jerky, it should bite back!"

Ingredients

Beef, water, salt, spices, brown sugar, fermented soy, worcestershire powder, dehydrated onion and garlic, tomato powder, natural hickory smoke.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light salty flavor, followed by a light worcestershire, a bit of smokiness, and then a light "meaty" aroma wafting up into my sinuses. I can also feel some spicy "bite" taking hold, and I can taste some black pepper.

In the chewing, the first I taste is the natural meat flavors, which seems to carry inside it some more of the worcestershire and soy sauce. I can also pick up that garlic aftertaste.

My initial impression is that this jerky is indeed quite good with a strong meat flavor, boosted with some black pepper flavor, worcestershire and soy sauce. Worcestershire and soy sauce is a common one-two-punch marinade in many jerky brands, and this is no exception, but it's flavor is quite different than the others. Maybe that's because the ingredients says "worcestershire powder" and "fermented soy".

But they don't overpower the meat flavors.

I'd rank the natural meat flavors as the primary flavor of this jerky. It's similar to a grilled rib eye steak, rubbed with a lot of black pepper. But it has carries the flavors of worcestershire and soy sauce, in light enough amounts that the meat flavor is still the primary flavor.

The saltiness is perhaps the second-most dominant flavor. I'd say the flavor intensity anywhere from medium to high. There's a bit of spicy heat in this jerky that perhaps exacerbates the saltiness to where it might seem more salty than it really is.

And that spicy heat is not really all that hot. I'd rank it at "medium" on my hot scale, and I'm someone who tends to tolerate hot foods pretty well. Some of you might see it at a higher, "medium-hot".

The black pepper flavor is perhaps the third-strongest flavor. I don't see it listed in the ingredients, but I'm assuming its in the "spices". In fact, I don't really see it on these pieces either, but I can clearly taste it.

There's also a very light sweetness on the surface, but it's very short lived, maybe a couple of seconds at the longest. It's actually the very first flavor, now that I think about it. But it so short, the saltiness takes over immediately.

Overall, what you're going to get from this jerky is the natural meat flavors, tasting like a grilled steak, with good deal of black pepper, and highlighted with some worcestershire and soy sauce. There's quite a bit of saltiness in this, and you'll also get a decent amount of spicy heat.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of about 2-5 inches in length.

It's a dry jerky, with some brittle quality, to the point where if bent with the grain it snaps apart. But it's not really "hard" or "tough". It does however take some effort to chew, but not really all that bad.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, and with some sucking and light biting, it breaks down, and chews down to a soft mass in about 20-30 seconds. It has a steak-like chewing texture, but just a little crumbly. It's not mushy or gummy at all.

These pieces all seem to be pretty lean, I see no streaks of fat on them. I didn't encounter any tendon or gristle, and I didn't find too many chewy sinews. It's mostly all meat.

Eating this jerky seems pretty clean, the strips allow me to bite off chunks instead of tearing them apart with my fingers, and because they're sliced against the grain, they snap off easily enough. My fingers do pick up some residue however, and I tend to wipe them on my jeans.




Snack Value

A Couple O' Jerks sells this Original variety from their website at a price of $7.80 for a four ounce bag. The shipping is included in that price. That works out to a price of $1.95 per ounce. You can buy it in various bulk prices, and get it down to as low as $1.48 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.95 price per ounce, it seems to present a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for its natural meat flavors, and its high flavor intensity based on that black pepper, worcestershire, and soy sauce. But it's really the meat flavor that creates the snackability for me. The $1.95 price per ounce is more expensive than compared to the mass-market brands, but I think you're indeed getting a much better jerky, and it seems to provide a lot of return for your snacking dollar.

Rating

I'm giving this a best rating.

This original variety from A Couple O' Jerks starts out by giving you a strong natural meat flavor, and then enhanced with the flavors of black pepper, worcestershire, and soy sauce, and further boosted by some noticeable spicy heat and garlic. If you're a meat snacker like me, you want to taste the meat, and you'll taste it in this.

This jerky has a lot of flavor intensity. Each bite is bursting with flavor. It makes me want to suck on each piece, extract the juices, and enjoy the flavors.

The chewing texture is good, quite steak-like. But these pieces are indeed on the tough side, but not too terribly so. It actually helps that they're cut into strips, and cut against the grain, to make it easier to bite off. That helps preserve snackability, in that you don't have to fight the jerky.

If you like spicy jerky, this is one for you. Don't let the "Original Recipe" on the package make you think this tastes simple. It's quite the opposite.

For my beer recommendation, go with a dark, smoky, porter.

Rating: Best

Buy this online:

14 comments:

  1. After trying this Jerky, I believe these 2 Jerks have something going for them.
    Glenn K.

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  2. Best jerky on the market today.

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  3. i try the product and i can say its as good as it get, two thumb ups. Get some and see what iam talking abo

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  4. I can honestly add that A Couple o' Jerks is now my Jerky of choice. The last bag I shared with friends came back to me empty, so I know I'm not alone.

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  5. I take a bag of Couple O'Jerks with me whenever I'm out hiking -- it's great energy on demand, and the flavor is unbeatable. Everyone I know who has tried it, loves it.

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  6. I have to thank this site for introducing me to all of these different types of Jerky. I've always been a fan of jerky and my favorite was always the thinly sliced peppered jerky from Oberto. However, I noticed in the past couple of years they must have changed the way they make it as it's not as dry as it used to be, and almost has a mushy or stretchy texture now.

    I've always been a fan of the dryer jerky's versus the soft and mushy kinds. I ordered a sample from this company and this has hit the spot. Not only the perfect texture, but awesome flavor, a little hot (spicy) as stated in the review, but I love that too.

    If you're a fan of the tougher, dry types of Jerky, then this is the one to get!

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  7. This is a great jerky. It has a very unique and complex flavor. It tastes different from any other jerky I've had. I love the heat you get from it, combined with the other flavorings. It makes for a great tasting jerky.

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  8. I picked up a few bags of this about a week ago. I must say the taste is very good, and the quality of the product is aswell. Its a lil spicy for my tastes, and Tough/dry im not used to eating jerky that's this level of dryness, im not saying its bad im just saying i dont really enjoy Dryness in my jerky. I am looking for a moist , high quality beef jerky i can call my own... The search goes on , Great site, keep up the good work!

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  9. On the recommendation of this site I gave this brand a try. My only regret is that I only purchased one bag, and now have to wait for more to come. Some of the best jerky I have had. There is a nice kick to it, but it does not overpower the other tastes. Delicious.

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  10. This is one of the best jerkies on the market, without a doubt. We all love Ed's Roadhouse, but I think this jerky is comparable.

    There is a spice recipe these guys came up with that is just perfect of beef jerky. Really complex flavor that doesn't overwhelm the natural meat flavors. Texture-wise, I'd prefer the meat to be a little less hard on the jaws, but that's a minor quibble.

    For anyone that enjoys eating beef jerky, this product is mandatory eating.

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  11. Hey Bob, thanks for your comments and reviews, I appreciate the agreements and disagreements.

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  12. I need to amend my review of this jerky. I was just looking at a bag that I'd opened a few days ago. On the upper right corner of the bag, it says, "Refrigerate after opening, or use within 3 days." So I discarded that bag and opened a new one. I ate a piece and the texture was perfect.

    I also noticed on the bag it says, "World Class Taste from A Couple o' Jerks"

    Couldn't agree more! This jerky is world class. I like the fact that they only have one variety. This one jerky is the only variety you need to taste everything that makes beef jerky a great snack.

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  13. To be honest with everyone, this jerky is just okay. This website gave this item BEST rating, and "A Couple o' Jerks" slogan is "just try us once then go back to your old brand.. If you can". Big hype, and grocery store quality product. And of course I went back to my preferred jerky! It is touch like leather, low moisuture, and toughness that will break your jaw!

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  14. This jerky has great snakability. I didn't find this at all tough like anon had mentioned. I thought it had great tenderness. Unfortunately, All their flavors, while nice, just do not have enough taste explosion for that wow factor. Shame as every bite i'm hoping for it. Thought this was going to be the perfect jerky. Close, but not quite.

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