Billy D's Beef Jerky is a brand of DeRosa Sales based out of Woodland, CA. DeRosa Sales is a convenience store supplier and consultant, supplying stores with snack foods and helping them maximize sales.
The name "Billy D's" appears to come from the company's founder, Bill DeRosa. I found this particular Peppered variety at an ARCO AM/PM station in Barstow, CA. There were other varieties of this jerky, but I only bought the Peppered.
DeRosa Sales contracts with KMB Foods out of Arcadia, CA to manufacture this jerky. KMB Foods private labels jerky for a variety of brands, and this particular meat appears to be the same used in Jawbone Jerky, Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts, and Buffalo Bills Dead Meat.
Beef, sugar, water, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderate sweet flavor, followed by a light bit of saltiness, a meaty flavor, and a light black pepper flavor. The surface flavor overall has a moderate intensity level.
The chewing flavor starts with a tad more sweetness, a light natural meat flavor, and more black pepper flavor. I can sense a faint bit of garlic in the background.
For being advertised as a Peppered variety, there's definitely a good deal of black pepper flavor in every piece. After several pieces it builds up a strong aftertaste, and that aftertaste seems to give every subsequent piece a strong black pepper flavor.
The sweetness is a significant element in this jerky, it's easily noticed sucking on the surface flavors, and then I get a tad boost of it in the chewing also. It seems to last all the way through the chewing, though getting weaker in the last few chews before swallowing.
The salt intensity seems moderate, though there's a light burn from the heavier black pepper that makes the saltiness seem higher than it really is.
The natural meat flavors are very light in this. I can taste it in the chewing, by sucking out some of the juices. It has the same old meat flavor that KMB Foods seems to be known for with this cut of meat. I found the same flavor in other brands they've produced. It's not a bad taste, mind you. If you like "aged beef", that's probably what this is like; it has a slight bit of turned-meat flavor to add a touch of bite. I think that flavor would be stronger if not for the heavier sweetness and black pepper.
I also encountered some pieces with streaks of fat and those created a stronger "beefier" taste, not necessarily a meat flavor.
The soy sauce listed in the ingredients is not well noticed, though I can detect it a little in the chewing, mostly during the last few chews before swallowing. I think the stronger sweetness mitigates the soy sauce, and it's only when the sweetness starts to fade that the soy sauce raises its head just enough to be seen.
Overall, the dominant flavor you're going to taste in this is the sweetness. The black pepper, is a close second. At first I was going to call the black pepper dominant, but after going through most of the bag, the sweetness is far more consistent, while the black pepper varies in intensity from piece to piece. You'll taste some saltiness behind those two. The natural meat flavors are very light, and you'll taste it barely, perhaps just that slightly turned flavor.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
It's a dry jerky mostly, though some pieces seem to be soft enough that you could see it as semi-moist. I also found some pieces to be rather hard, a mixed bag perhaps. For the most part, tearing pieces apart with my fingers requires a bit of effort, but not too bad. Chewing is similar, requiring a bit of effort, but overall not bad.
Being that these pieces are cut into strips, I keep wanting to bite chunks off. But most pieces have the grain running lengthwise, making it difficult to bite off chunks.
Initially, these pieces start out feeling hard, but a little flexible, like chewing the lid of a Tupperware container. With some chewing, I can hear a crunchiness from the meat fibers breaking. At that point, it starts to soften up as the moisture from my mouth sets in. It probably takes about 15-25 seconds to get it chewed down to a soft mass. At that point, it has something of a steak-like feel, yet kinda mushy. It's like eating a soft steak. It still has the fibrous quality, but too soft to feel like a real steak.
Several pieces in this bag contain streaks or chunks of fat, though not too large. They do add to the flavor, however, giving it a more beefy taste. I found only one piece with streak of gristle. I didn't encounter any pieces with stringy sinews.
In terms of clean eating, bits of black pepper keep dropping and flying off as I tear pieces apart, or try to bite off chunks. Otherwise, my fingers don't pick up any residue.
I paid $9.99 for this 12oz bag at an ARCO AM/PM gas station in Barstow, CA. That works out to a per ounce price of $1.20.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.20 per ounce price, this jerky presents a good value. I'm getting an good deal of snackability for its good overall flavor, while finding an average meat consistency. But the $1.20 price per ounce is cheaper than the mass-market jerky brands, yet the flavor is slightly better, while the meat consistency is slightly less. For that low of a price, you'll get enough snackability in return.
As a Peppered jerky, at the same $1.20 price per ounce, it's an excellent value. I'm getting a good deal of black pepper flavor in every piece, some pieces with more, and others with a little less. Still, the $1.20 price is cheap compared to most brands, and yet I'm getting a lot of black pepper flavor.
I'm giving this a good rating.
This Peppered variety from Billy D's Beef Jerky provides a good deal of flavor intensity with through strong combination of black pepper and sweetness, added to it with a light natural meat flavor and moderate saltiness. I think the flavor itself is better than what you'll find in the mass-market brands, while the meat consistency is similar or a little bit less.
It's actually a good tasting jerky. While the natural meat flavor has that slightly turned-meat taste, it's not a bad taste considering it's light. It actually adds enough of an interest that I think jerky aficionados can appreciate it. I've eaten this jerky many times before through other brands produced by KMB Foods, and I think it has grown on me.
But that meat consistency needs work. It's quite chewy for one, and after eating much of the contents of this bag, my jaws are getting tired. While I found only one piece with a streak of gristle, I'm quite familiar with this cut of meat from KMB Foods, and I've had other batches chock of full gristle in other brands. The chewing texture doesn't quite have that steak-like feel that I want.
I'm sure this lower quality meat is what keeps the price down.
My recommended beer pairing for this, try a light flavored cream ale, or kolsch.
Where to buy:
- Gas stations throughout California and Nevada