Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Famous Dave's Beef Jerky - Apricot Bourbon

Famous Dave's Beef Jerky - Apricot BourbonNext in the series on Famous Dave's Beef Jerky is this Apricot Bourbon variety. See my previous of their Original.

Famous Dave's is a brand of Famous Products, Inc., based out of Eden Prairie, MN. Famous Dave's is known mostly for its line of award winning BBQ sauces and its chain of 170+ restaurants. Their jerky is manufactured by Jerky Snack Brands, of Mankato, MN.

This Apricot Bourbon jerky is made from Famous Dave's Apricot Bourbon Marinade, which is said to contain apricots blended with chipotle peppers and finished a "hint" of bourbon flavor.


Beef, water, seasoning (sugar, salt, brown sugar, natural & artificial flavors (bourbon & apricot with maltodextrin, sugar) chili powder [chili pepper, spices, salt, dehydrated garlic], spices, molasses powder (refinery syrup, cane molasses, cane caramel color), onion powder, garlic powder, torula yeast, honey powder, with less than 2% silicon dioxide [anti-caking]), sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a distinct apricot flavor, with a slight sweetness, and a faint saltiness with some sucking. Overall, it's a light surface flavor.

The chewing flavor starts with about the same level of apricot flavor, maybe a little bit more sweet, and a little bit more saltiness. I can also pick up a light chili pepper flavor, more similar to cayenne pepper seasoning. I can feel a faint spicy tingle in the back of my mouth.

Well, for being advertised as "Apricot Bourbon", I do indeed taste a fair amount of apricot flavor, mostly on the surface. The surface flavor does continue into the chewing, but wears off a little towards the latter end of chewing. As for the bourbon, I don't taste anything like bourbon, whiskey, or alcohol. I don't get any of the oak barrel flavor, or anything that resembles spirits.

It's not at all sweet like I wondered it would be. There's indeed a light sweetness, but no more than what you'd find in a package of Jack Link's regular. It's more of the apricot essence, and less of the sweet.

I can also pick up light bit of chili pepper seasoning, like I said more similar to cayenne pepper. But it varies from piece to piece, some pieces have a fair amount of this seasoning visible, while others have none. There's no heat coming from this seasoning, it's quite mild to me.

I taste no natural meat flavors.

The level of saltiness seems light, despite the higher content noted on the nutrition facts.

Overall, the component that provides much of this jerky's flavor is the apricot in a moderate intensity. Beyond that, you'll notice a light amounts of cayenne-pepper flavor, a light saltiness, and that's it.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky, with some flexibility. Some pieces are more on the brittle side, while some others are little bit more semi-moist. Overall, I found it easy to tear pieces apart with my fingers, and chewing varies from somewhat labored, to easy.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, but has some rubbery chewing resistance. The stiffer pieces tend to crumble apart, and take on a crumbly chewing texture. The softer pieces are kinda mushy when chewed down. Whereas the pieces in between, they seem to have something of a steak-like texture, but still feeling every bit like mass-market jerky.

For the most part, this jerky seems lean, with the exception of one piece that had a nice chunk of fat. I found no tendon or gristle. But I do encounter several pieces with a fair amount of stringy sinews, but they didn't offer much distraction.

It's also pretty clean eating, no residue picking up on my fingertips, and no tiny fragments falling on my lap or desk.

Snack Value

Famous Dave's sells this Apricot Bourbon variety from its website at a price of $5.49 for a 3.5oz package. I bought 3 packages, each a different flavor. Add to that shipping costs of $8.29, and it brings a total of $24.76. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.36.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.36 price per ounce, it's seems to provide a weak value. I get a low degree of snackability, largely due to an overall light flavor, and a rather one-side flavor, mostly just apricot. That $2.36 price is higher than what you'd pay in a grocery store for mass-market jerky, and I think you'll get a little bit better snackability from the mass-market stuff.

As an Apricot Bourbon variety, at the same $2.36 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I do get a well-noticed apricot flavor, but as expected, absolutely nothing tasting like bourbon. If you're thinking of buying this because the word "bourbon" intrigues you, there's really nothing bourbon about this. Buy it instead because you like apricot.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

This Apricot Bourbon variety from Famous Dave's provides an well-noticed apricot flavor starting from the moment you put a piece into your mouth, and lasting to just about when you swallow it down. It doesn't have a strong sweetness as you might expect with fruity jerky, though there is a light sweetness. Rather, it's more of the apricot essence, and less of the sweet.

But this jerky is largely one-sided, in that it's the apricot flavor that I largely taste. There's a light saltiness, and a light cayenne pepper flavor, but they're light, and don't really add much to the overall flavor.

The meat consistency is rather inconsistent. Some pieces are hard, others are semi-moist, some have a crumbly texture, others are mushy. I did find a few pieces with a decent steak-like texture, but overall I didn't come away thinking this is quality jerky.

There's also no hint of bourbon flavor, and no natural meat flavors to enjoy.

As a result of the one-sided flavor, inconsistent meat consistency, and lackluster chewing texture, I just couldn't find much snackability in this.

For my beer recommendation, I'd go with a wheat beer, or hefeweizen.

Rating: Fair

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