Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chip's American Jerky - Mild Midwest

Chip's American Jerky - Mild MidwestChip's American Jerky is a brand of Chip's American Jerky Co, LLC, of Pikesville, MD. The company has been around since 2003, but didn't get it's first product on the market until 2008.

Chip Forward, the founder of the company, is a retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, who started making jerky in the service back in the 1980s. As he honed his jerky skills, his friends asked if they could buy some jerky off of him. He discovered people either wanted a mild jerky, or a spicy one. And hence, he created one of each.

Today, his company offers the same two varieties, this "Mild Midwest" and a "Spicy Southwest", which I'll be reviewing later.


Sliced beef round, water, soy sauce powder, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, salt, spices, brown sugar, natural hickory smoke flavor.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderate smoky flavor, an oily flavor, and some of the garlic and onion flavors. With some sucking I get a light saltiness. Overall, the surface flavor has light intensity.

The chewing flavor starts out with a bit more saltiness, and a light natural meat flavor, while the garlic and onion flavors continue with the same intensity.

This jerky definitely seems to live up to its "mild" description. There's still a spiciness to it, but nothing in terms of heat or burn. The flavor is mostly a blend of salt, garlic, and onion, and there also seems to be some black pepper in there too. In fact, I think I even taste some faint horseradish, there's definitely something pungent in there.

But overall, the flavor intensity seems light on an individual piece, but builds up to a medium intensity over several pieces.

The natural meat flavors are light. In fact, maybe very light. I wouldn't notice it much at all if I were to snack away, but I can identify it by applying just a little bit of attention.

The salt intensity seems light for the most part.

The soy sauce listed in the ingredients is not really noticed, or if anything comes across mostly as a saltiness.

For the most part, what you're going to taste in this is the hickory smoke flavor off the surface. In the chewing it's the seasoning blend of salt, garlic, onion, black pepper, and a faint pungent flavor, perhaps horseradish. Then you may notice a light natural meat flavor.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in strips of about 3-4 inches long and 1 inch wide.

This is a dry jerky, one that easily cracks apart with little bending, and even a slight bit brittle. But it feels semi-moist, largely due to a fair amount of oil on the surface, and even inside the meat. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy to do, and chewing is varies from easy to somewhat tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, and even a little woody, but seems to break apart easily with some sucking and biting. Once it's chewed down to soft mass, it doesn't feel at all like steak. Rather, it's very crumbly, mostly a mass of tiny meat particles.

I do see some significant streaks of fat on several pieces, but didn't encounter any gristle or tendon. Most pieces seem to contain some stringy sinews, but they didn't leave behind any unchewable tissues.

For the most part, it's somewhat clean eating. My fingers do pick up a bit of oily residue, but not too bad, I can just rub my fingers together and resume typing on my keyboard. Tearing pieces apart do drop a few tiny fragments of meat.

Snack Value

Chip's American Jerky sells this Mild Midwest variety from its website at a price of $9.00 for a 4oz package. I bought two packages, each a different variety. Add to that shipping costs of $6.00, and it brings a total of $24.00. That works out to a per ounce price of $3.00.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.00 per ounce price, this seems to provide a weak value. I'm getting an average snackability for its satisfactory flavor, and mostly easy eating, despite a couple of tough pieces. The $3.00 price per ounce is very high compared to other mass-market jerky brands, but yet the flavor is only a little bit better than an Oberto jerky, with about the same or lesser texture.

Even if you subtract the shipping costs, and just evaluate it at the $9.00 per bag, that's still $2.25 per ounce, and still substantially higher than Oberto.

Chip's American Jerky claims to be made without artificial ingredients, no preservatives, and no MSG, and that's a claim the mass-market brands can't make. But still, I've come across other brands priced similarly, or even less, that offer more snackability.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This Mild Midwest variety from Chip's American Jerky seems to provide exactly what it's description says, a mild flavored jerky, with a light-to-medium flavor intensity, but still some spiciness from a blend of salt, garlic, onion, black pepper, and maybe even some horseradish.

I can even taste a light or very light natural meat flavor.

I didn't much care for the chewing texture, which comes feeling crumbly more than anything else. But these pieces are generally easy to eat, with the exception of a couple of tough pieces.

Even though I prefer a more flavorful jerky, I wouldn't go below an average rating. I think those people who prefer mildly flavored jerky will get more snackability out of this than I. But to get a higher rating, I need something else to stand out, like a better chewing texture, or a stronger natural meat flavor.

My recommended beer pairing, try a brown ale.

Rating: Average

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