Shadow Hills Beef Jerky is a brand of BP Products North America, Inc. BP is also known as "British Petroleum", or more familiar as all those "BP" gas stations. Shadow Hills is their brand of snack foods they supply to gas stations all across the USA.
I found this jerky at a Texaco station in Kingman, AZ last weekend, while returning home from a camping trip. The store manager there explained to me the origins of the Shadow Hills brand, which seems to be backed up by what little information I could find online.
Shadow Hills Beef Jerky is manufactured by Knauss Snack Food Company. Knauss is a subsidiary of American Foods Group, LLC, which specializes in services for convenience stores, including private labeling.
Beef, water, brown sugar, salt, flavorings, papaya juice, vinegar, monosodium glutamate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a medium-level smoky flavor, followed by a light saltiness, and subtle hints of that carne asada flavor. There's a also light sweetness too. In the chewing, the first thing I notice is a stronger carne asada flavor, with a tad bit of sweet, and a bit more saltiness.
For being labeled as a Carne Asada variety, it does seem to offer a flavor that resembles carne asada. It's hard to define "carne asada" in terms of a flavor. Carne asada is more about a way meat is prepared and cooked as opposed to a specific flavor. But it typically involves plenty of spices and some citrus. I do get a spiced flavor, and something that resembles citrus, like lime. So, I'd say this jerky does live up to the "carne asada" billing.
When I say, "spiced" I only mean a plentitude of flavorings, and not heat. This jerky is not hot by any means. It's quite mild.
As for the primary flavor of this jerky, I think the carne asada flavoring is it. I can notice it on the surface, and it gets stronger in the chewing. I taste cumin in the seasoning, it seems to have a strong effect on the flavor. The smokiness is perhaps also a dominant flavor, second to the carne asada.
But that's about all I can identify as dominant flavors. The level of saltiness seems light by taste, even though the nutrition facts shows a medium level of content. The light sweetness on the surface continues into the chewing, and helps to add some body to the carne asada flavoring.
I don't really taste any natural meat flavors. The smokiness is strong enough that it seems to continue a ways into the chewing, and perhaps could be mistaken as a meat flavor.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a well defined smokiness, a light sweetness, and some citrusy carne asada flavors on the surface, with the carne asada flavors getting stronger in the chewing.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with a fair amount of flexibility. Some pieces are very flexible without cracking. They all seem to tear apart easily with my fingers, while being a little chewy, but still relatively easy to eat.
The chewing texture has a stiff, waxy feel in my mouth, with a bit of rubbery resistance. With some sucking and gentle biting, it breaks apart into smaller chunks, and in about 20-30 seconds it chews down to a soft mass. At that point, it's not quite a steak-like feel, it's more crumbly actually. It's not mushy or gummy, just crumbly.
Some pieces have small bits of fat visible, while others have a good deal of marbilization. But I didn't encounter any tendon or gristle, and no chewy sinews.
Tearing pieces apart tends to drop a some tiny fragments on to my lap and desk. Otherwise, my fingers don't pick up any residue.
I paid $5.99 for this 3.65 ounce package at a Texaco Station in Kingman, AZ. That works out to a price of $1.64 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $1.64 price per ounce, it seems to present a fair value. I'm getting a moderate amount of snackability from its decent flavor, and easy eating. The crumbly chewing texture, however, doesn't give me a sense of eating meat, however. I think $1.64 per ounce of this stuff is the highest I'd be willing to pay for what value I'm getting back.
As a Carne Asada variety, also at the $1.64 price per ounce, I think it's a decent value. I do get the sense that I'm getting carne asada flavor, with a good deal of spices and citrus flavor.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Carne Asada variety from Shadow Hills Beef Jerky provides a decent amount of carne asada-like flavors, which I think provides a fair amount of snackability in that if that's the flavor you particularly enjoy in beef jerky, you'll definitely get it.
But aside from that flavor, there's little else this jerky provides. All else I'm getting is just the standard light sweetness, and saltiness, and no natural meat flavors, just like most of the mass-market brands. The chewing texture of this jerky is low-quality, feeling mostly crumbly than anything else.
My recommended beer pairing for this, a smoky porter.
Where to buy:
- At BP and Amoco gas stations