Monday, June 22, 2009

Big Bull Jerky - Regular

Big Bull Jerky Big Bull Jerky is a brand of Joes Beef Jerky Enterprises, based out of St. Paul Park, MN, and run by a guy named Joe Hinz. The brand has been around for several years, at least as far back as 2003 according to one reference I found.

The company claims their jerky is hand-crafted using a process that locks in the flavor and "brings out the marriage of beef and spices in a way that no other does". They make jerky out of their own USDA approved facility.

This regular variety is just one 15 different varieties in their standard line, in addition to another 4 varieties in their grass-fed line. Their standard line actually has more varieties than that, because their Habanero comes in a "Hot 50" and a "Hot 100", both of which I'll be reviewing later.


Beef, water, AuJus Mix, contains less than 2% of of garlic, spices, salt, paprika, dehydrated onion, red pepper, chili pepper, dehydrated onion, dehydrated red & green bell peppers, citric acid, spice extractives, natural flavor, sodium nitrte, red #40 lake.


The first thing I taste from the surface is a light saucy flavor, perhaps similar to that Au Jus mix listed in the ingredients. There's very little to taste on the surface.

The chewing flavor starts with a little bit of saltiness, followed by a light amount of natural meat flavors.

For being dubbed a "Regular" variety, it certainly seems to be that. This jerky has a low level of flavor intensity, and a low level of flavor complexity.

For the most part, what I'm tasting is saltiness, in a low flavor intensity.

The saucy flavor I noted in the first paragraph tastes pretty similar to what you'd get in a small cup of Au Jus sauce that comes with a slice of prime rib, but not as salty. Even that too is a light flavor.

The natural meat flavors are light, light enough that as I analyze carefully, often times it gets masked by the light saltiness.

Overall, what you're going to taste in this is primarily a light amount of saltiness, along with a light amount of that saucy flavor, and you might even notice a light amount of natural meat flavors.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky, with little flexibility, and somewhat brittle. Any amount of bending will cause it to crack open. In fact, it's easy to tear these apart with my fingers, just bend it back and forth a couple of times. Chewing is somewhat labored, perhaps slightly tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and a bit woody, but easily breaks apart due to its brittle nature. It chews down to a soft mass with some effort, but once it gets there, it's feels more crumbly than anything else. I tried sucking on a piece for about 20 seconds before chewing, hoping it would hydrate. It ended up with a more steak-like texture, but still crumbly.

Several pieces have small streaks of fat visible, but they don't seem to contribute anything to the overall flavor. I also found small streaks of gristle on some pieces, but they too weren't noticed much in the chewing. I didn't find much of any unchewable wads of tissue.

This jerky is largely clean eating, just a faint oily residue on my fingers.

Snack Value

Big Bull Jerky sells this Regular variety at a price of $8.92 for an 8oz package. I bought 3 packages, each a different variety. Add to that shipping of $6.00, and that's a total of $32.76. That works out to $1.37 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.37 per ounce price, this provides a fair value. I don't get much snackability out of this actually, the flavor is largely bland, it's somewhat tough, and the chewing texture is crumbly. But the price is actually cheaper than the mass-market brands, and that's even with the shipping fees.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

This Regular variety from Big Bull Jerky doesn't seem to offer much for the jerky aficionado. It has a light overall flavor, with a light saltiness being the most dominant flavor component. There's a light saucy flavor and a light meat flavor, but that's really about it.

The meat consistency is somewhat on the tough side, or "labored chewing" is perhaps a better way to describe it. And then the chewing texture doesn't really feel like real meat, it feels crumbly, perhaps due to the dry, brittle nature.

I actually found a short review of this jerky on another website, and the reviewer said there was mold on this jerky. I found streaks of white lard (fatty, oily deposits), but it certainly wasn't mold.

I think a good beer pairing for this, is a hoppy, heavily aromatic, IPA.

Rating: Fair

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