Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alligator Bob's Alligator Jerky - Original

Alligator Bob's Alligator Jerky Alligator Bob's is a brand name of Robert N. Young and Associates, Inc. based out of Thonotosassa, FL. They specialize in selling exotic meat jerky, particularly alligator.

The company says Robert Young had been an alligator trapper in Florida who realized that visitors to Florida had expressed an interest in trying alligator meat, but found it difficult to obtain in a cheap snackable form. So in 1990 he experimented with ways to produce an alligator jerky, and then in 1994 developed a product. And so, Alligator Bob's was born.

This alligator jerky is said to be 95% alligator and 5% pork, to meet USDA regulations. In addition to this original variety, they also offer Cajun Spice.


Ingredients

Alligator, pork, salt, spices, brown sugar, dextrose, onion powder, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a oily flavor, followed by a faint saltiness, and a very light smokiness. I can also taste a faint bit of black pepper. Overall the surface flavor is very light in intensity.

The chewing flavor starts out with a little bit stronger saltiness, and a light bit of meat flavor. I can also pick up some of the garlic/onion flavor, and a peppery flavor with a slight bit of spicy heat. There's also an aftertaste that's similar to what you get from meat stick.

For being advertised as an alligator jerky, I can't say that I taste anything unique about this. The only other alligator jerky I've had was the one from Mountain America, which had a very noticeable meat flavor. The meat flavor from Alligator Bob's doesn't taste the same as from Mountain America. Alligator Bob's has a more processed flavor, more like that of a meat stick or sausage.

There's also a good deal of saltiness in this meat flavor. I'd rate it at a medium intensity.

The slight bit of spicy heat I noted above is more like a tingling in the back of my mouth; it doesn't really add any burn to the tongue.

The garlic/onion flavor has a decent amount of intensity, it's easily noticed.

Overall, the primary flavor of this jerky is that meat flavor, having a processed flavor, and tasting similar to a meat stick. There's some smokiness that I can notice in it, and an oily flavor too.

The saltiness is perhaps the second-strongest flavor, followed by the garlic/onion flavor.

Meat Consistency

This is a chopped & formed jerky, pressed into strips of about 12 inches long, and 1 inch wide, and somewhat thin in thickness.

It seems to be a semi-moist jerky, but very oily to the touch. Biting off a chunk seems moderately easy to do, while the chewing is moderately easy also.

The chewing texture is crumbly. I don't really get any kind of meat-like chewing texture at all. Initially, when I bite off a piece, it feels quite hard like a piece of hard rubber. It seems to break down easily enough when chewing, except chewing causes it to break up into tiny, but still hard, meat granules. This jerky never takes on a meat-like texture.

Like most chopped & formed jerkies, this is oily. Handling one of these sticks leaves behind enough oil on my fingers that it requires a licking and wiping on my jeans before touching my keyboard.

Here and there I do encounter some hardened bits of material in this jerky. It could be cartilage, bone, who knows what. But it's very minimal. For the most part, it seems mostly meat.



Snack Value

I paid $6.00 for two 0.66oz sticks of this Alligator Bob's Alligator Jerky at the Alien Fresh Jerky store in Baker, CA. That works out to a price of $4.55 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $4.55 per ounce price, this jerky presents a poor value. First, I get only a low level of snackability from this. Second, it's flavor is rather uninteresting, and third it's meat consistency and chewing texture sucks. Combine that with the very high $4.55 price per ounce, and it's just a waste of money in my opinion.

As an alligator jerky, at the same $4.55 per ounce price, it's slightly better, but still at a weak value. Other alligator jerky brands seems to be priced similarly as this, but this jerky has a poor meat consistency and chewing texture, and the meat tastes very processed, like I'm eating a meat stick.

Rating

I'm giving this a fair rating.

This alligator jerky from Alligator Bob's just doesn't provide much snackability for me. It's overall flavor is rather uninteresting, kinda bland actually. The meat flavor just doesn't give me a sense of eating real alligator meat, even though this is 95% alligator. It tastes like a meat stick or sausage.

The meat consistency hurts the snackability, the fact that it's so oily creates messy handling, and the chewing texture is awful. It's like biting off chunks of sun-dried American cheese.

I didn't give this a "dog treats" rating because I still found the flavor to be tolerable, but there's just not anything in this that beckons me to eat more.

For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a light bodied, but strongly hopped IPA.

Rating: Fair

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