Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Branding Iron Beef Jerky - Sweet & Spicy

Branding Iron Beef Jerky Branding Iron Beef Jerky is a brand of JW Distributing, Inc., based out of Santa Maria, CA. JW Distributing distributes products to convenience stores and liquor stores all across the central coast of California. They actually specialize in meat snacks, distributing a wide variety of brands. They also produce their own energy drink called "Energy Shooter".

Branding Iron Beef Jerky is their own house brand, and according to Jim, the company founder, it's generated a lot of revenue for them. It's a private labeled product, manufactured by Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks, of Tillamook, OR, the maker of Werner Beef Jerky.

However, Jim says you can't buy this online, it's only in those small stores along the central California coast. But he did offer to pay me a cut of sales if I wanted to be his first online retailer. I turned him down, but you might you want to contact him at his Energy Shooter website if you're interested.

FYI: notice the misspelling of "Nurition Facts" on the label below?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky - Original Thick Cut

Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky is a brand of Cattaneo Bros., Inc. of San Luis Obispo, CA. The brand started out in 1947, founded by William Cattaneo, as a beef jerky manufacturer and stayed the course ever since. The business today is run by a different family, headed by Mike Kaney.

The brand includes three different lines of beef jerky, their "thin cut", a "cowboy cut", and this thick cut. Each of those cuts have their own variety of flavors. They also do turkey jerky and meat sticks.

Their jerky is found in stores throughout central California.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rives Quality Meats Turkey Jerky - BBQ

Rives Quality Meats Turkey Jerky Last in this series on Rives Quality Meats is this BBQ Turkey. See my previous reviews of their Regular Turkey, and their beef jerky varieties, Regular, Chicago Style, and Barbecue.

Rives Quality Meats is a butcher shop located in the small town of Rives Junction, MI. Since 1973, owner Tom Hosler has served the local ranchers and hunters by turning their livestock and game into steaks, chops, burger, and jerky. His own beef jerky was one of his shop's first products, and continues to be a popular item.

It was only a year ago that Rives Quality Meats launched a website, allowing folks all over the USA to discover what townsfolks in Rives Junction have enjoyed for so long.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fesperman's Beef Jerky - Garlic

Last in our short series on Fesperman's Beef Jerky is this Garlic variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.

Fesperman's Beef Jerky is a brand of Fesperman's Beef Jerky, Inc., of Twin Hills, OK. It was launched by Curtis and Lynn Fesperman back in 1997, but the couple have been making and selling their jerky since before then.

The company makes jerky in their own USDA inspected facility, marinating their meat for 12 hours, and using the same recipe the Fesperman's created in their kitchen years ago.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pacific Coast Jerky Factory - Original

Pacific Coast Jerky Factory Pacific Coast Jerky Factory is a brand name belonging to KMB Foods, Inc., of Arcadia, CA. KMB also owns the Cactus Jacks, and Cattleman's brand of jerky. They also private label jerky for several other companies.

The meat used in this Pacific Coast Jerky Factory brand is a slab style, and appears to be the same used with Mt. Shasta's Finest, one of their private labeled products that I reviewed last year. Comparing the ingredients and nutrition facts, it appears it's exactly the same jerky, just different brands.

KMB is also known for yet a different cut of meat used in Buffalo Bill's Dead Meat, Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts, and Jawbone Beef Jerky.

Just for fun, I'm not going to look at my previous review for Mt Shasta's Finest, so that I can compare how close, or how different, this review comes out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Damn Good Jerky - Hawaiian Style Teriyaki

Damn Good Jerky Next in the series on Damn Good Jerky is this Hawaiian Style Teriyaki variety. See my previous review of their Original Hickory variety.

Damn Good Jerky is a brand of Damn Good Foods, Inc., of Stillwater, NY. It's been around since 2000, launched by a guy named Greg Strope, who used to own a floor-cleaning business. He developed an interest in beef jerky, and eventually shifted focus from cleaning floors to selling jerky. In 2006, Damn Good Foods sold 100,000 pounds through convenience stores and its website.

Other websites have published reviews of their jerky, and it seems they get rave reviews. I gave them a "good" rating for that Original Hickory variety based on a strong flavor intensity of soy sauce and worcestershire.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ajay's Montana Bananas - Extra Hot

Ajay's Montana Bananas The last in this series on Ajay's Montana Bananas is this Extra Hot variety. I had previously written a review of their "Original Extra Hot" variety, which is a thicker cut of meat. This Extra Hot variety, minus the word "Original" is described as a slab-style thin cut.

The brand has been selling to consumers since 1979 mostly through small liquor stores in northern California. It scored a big break when BevMo!, a chain of warehouse-style liquor stores across California and Arizona picked it up. It's also distributed through a network of tool trucks like Matco and Snap On. You can also buy it from the brand's website, though it has to be purchased in bulk.

The name "Ajay" refers to the company owner Ajay Avery, who discovered this jerky while in Missoula, MT. At the time, it was produced by a local butcher. Ajay fell in love with the jerky's taste that he decided to buy the recipe, and launched his own jerky marketing business.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jawbone Beef Jerky - Teriyaki

Jawbone Beef Jerky Last but not least in this series on Jawbone Beef Jerky is their teriyaki variety. See previous reviews of their Original, Peppered, and Hot varieties.

Jawbone Beef Jerky is a product of Jawbone Canyon Store, an outpost located in the upper Mojave Desert of California. It serves the hikers, bikers, campers and desert rats who find themselves in that general area. Beef jerky has been a popular selling commodity at the store, and store owner Scott Spencer decided one day that he wanted to offer a better quality jerky than the mass market stuff. He ended up offering his own store brand instead. As a result, customers are now carrying his brand into the furthest reaches of the desert, helping advertise his store.

This line of jerky was manufactured by KMB Foods, of Arcadia, CA. This same meat is found in several other brands, including Buffalo Bills Dead Meat, and Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tony Stewart's Beef Jerky - Original

Tony Stewart's Beef Jerky Tony Stewart's Original Beef Jerky is a brand of Tony Stewart's Original, Inc. based out of Indianapolis, IN. It bears the name and likeness of the famed racecar driver, leveraging his star power to earn some extra income through the sales of jerky, salsa, and barbecue sauces.

The jerky itself was manufactured by Mirab USA, who makes jerky for hundreds of brands, including other sports figures. Interestingly, the back of this package reads, "This beef jerky has been personally selected by Tony himself", though it doesn't explain for what reason he selected it, be it taste or economics.

The package goes on to say that it was made from Argentinian cattle, but further processed in the USA. Tony Stewart's Original Beef Jerky also includes a teriyaki variety, which I'll be reviewing some time later.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rives Quality Meats Turkey Jerky - Regular

Rives Quality Meats Turkey Jerky Continuing on with my series on Rives Quality Meats is this Turkey Jerky. See my previous reviews of their beef jerky, Regular, Chicago Style, and Barbecue.

Rives Quality Meats is a butcher shop in the town of Rives Junction, MI, that been around since 1973 started by Tom Hosler. In addition to butchering your game and livestock, they sell groceries and offer a delicatessen. They make their own jerky, which has been one of their most popular products.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dad's Jerky - Original Steak

Dad's Jerky Dad's Jerky is a brand of Dad's Jerky, LLC, based out of Lake Isabella, CA.

The company's website says it uses sirloin for its jerky, and puts a lot of focus on obtaining the best quality meat for their jerky, which they then trim off 97% of the fat, and marinate for 18 hours.

I didn't contact the company for additional details, so I don't have much background info to give you. I assume Dad's makes their own jerky because their website goes into detail about how they make jerky. But the USDA stamp suggests it came from Border View Foods out of Chazy, NY, the folks who make Backwoods Jerky. My guess is that Dad's purchases meat from Border View, and has it shipped out to California.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fesperman's Beef Jerky - Original

Fesperman's Beef Jerky Fesperman's Beef Jerky is a brand of Fesperman's Beef Jerky, Inc., of Twin Hills, OK. It was launched by Curtis and Lynn Fesperman back in 1997, but the couple have been making and selling their jerky since before then.

I've seen this particular brand on some other blogs getting high marks for taste, texture, and easy eating.

The company claims that their jerky is made using the same formula and process that Lynn started out originally in her kitchen. They marinate the meat for 12 hours in their own USDA inspected facility.

In addition to this Original variety, I have their Garlic variety which I'll be reviewing later on.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Damn Good Jerky - Original Hickory

Damn Good Jerky Damn Good Jerky is a brand of Damn Good Foods, Inc., of Stillwater, NY. It's been around since 2000, launched by a guy named Greg Strope, who used to own a floor-cleaning business. He developed an interest in beef jerky, and eventually shifted focus from cleaning floors to selling jerky. In 2006, Damn Good Foods sold 100,000 pounds through convenience stores and its website.

I took notice of this brand after seeing reviewers on other websites rave over how good it is. Though it's apparently still more popular on the east coast as it is here on the west.

The company makes jerky at their own USDA inspected facility.

In addition to this "Original Hickory", I'll have reviews of their "Hawaiian Style Teriyaki" and "Death by Jerky" in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ajay's Montana Bananas - Peppered

Ajay's Montana Bananas Next in my series on Ajay's Montana Bananas is this Peppered variety. Last month I wrote a review of their Original Peppered variety. The difference between the two is that the Original Peppered uses a thicker cut of meat, while the Peppered uses a thin cut.

Ajay's Montana Bananas brand of jerky has been around for 30 years, even more than that if you want to consider Ajay Avery himself started selling this jerky before then. In fact, it's been around longer if you consider he bought the recipe for his original Cowboy style jerky from a Missoula, MT butcher shop that had been selling thsi jerky for years before then.

Today, his jerky is sold through the BevMo! chain of liquor stores throughout California and Arizona, as well as tool trucks like Matco and Snap On, and through the brand's website.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Uncle Buck's Beef Jerky - Original

Uncle Buck's Beef Jerky Uncle Buck's is the store brand of Bass Pro Shops, the famous supplier of fishing gear that has exploded onto the American retail scene with super-sized stores dubbed "Outdoor World" looking like a log cabin big enough to house Paul Bunyan.

The name "Uncle Buck" refers to the uncle of Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, who introduced him to fishing when he was a child. All of Bass Pro Shops store-branded items honor his name.

Bass Pro Shops doesn't make their own jerky. This stuff is manufactured by Monogram Meat Snacks of Chandler, MN, who makes jerky for several other brands, including Jeff Foxworthy, NASCAR, Winchester Rifles, Stubb's BBQ, Jim Beam, etc.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jawbone Beef Jerky - Hot

Jawbone Beef Jerky Third in the series on Jawbone Beef Jerky is this Hot variety. See my previous reviews of their Original and Peppered varieties.

The brand is owned by Jawbone Canyon Store, an oasis located along Hwy 14 in the upper Mojave Desert of California, seemingly out in the middle nowhere, surrounded by vast expanses of empty desert. The store has been around since the 1950s, serving off-roaders, campers, hikers, and bikers. The current store owner, Scott Spencer, had wanted to offer his customers a unique jerky that extended his store's brand name, and gave people a reason to stop by.

He hooked up with Monrovia, CA-based KMB Foods, the makers of Cactus Jacks brand of jerky, as well as a private labeler for several other jerky brands.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rives Quality Meats Beef Jerky - BBQ

Rives Quality Meats Next up in this series on Rives Quality Meats is this BBQ variety. The last two reviews of their Regular and Chicago Style showed that Rives' wins high marks through a great tasting meat flavor.

Rives Quality Meats is a butcher shop located in the small town of Rives Junction, MI. They serve the local hunters and farmers by turning wild game and livestock into steaks, chops, burger, and jerky. It was started in 1973 by Tom Hosler, and over the years expanded its offerings to become a small grocery store and delicatessen. Beef jerky was one of their first retail products.

It was only a year ago that Rives Quality Meats launched a website. Prior to that they remained largely unknown from jerky snackers nationwide, being tucked away in rural Michigan.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Green Light Jerky - Garlic Parmesan

Green Light Jerky Green Light Jerky is a brand of Green Light Jerky Company of Redwood City, CA. It's a unique brand in that it focuses on unusual flavors in a stylish design and concept. This Garlic Parmesan is their newest flavor. Read my previous reviews of their Jamaican Jerk, and Prime Rib Dinner.

It's a relatively new brand, being around only in the past few years. They claim to add no preservatives, no MSG, no thickening agents, and no food colorings, going on to say they use such name-brand ingredients as The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, George Chiala Farms in Morgan Hill, and Grandma's Molasses. Their products are sold through specialty stores in northern California, and from their website.

One thing to take note of is that Green Light recently modified their manufacturing process by adding another 24 hours to their marinade, which they claim makes it more soft and moist than in the previous reviews I wrote.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Papa Dan's Beef Jerky - Ring of Fire

Papa Dan's Beef Jerky Next in my series on Papa Dan's Beef Jerky is this Ring of Fire variety, described by the brand as "the absolute hottest beef jerky you will find anywhere."

Papa Dan's is a brand of jerky belonging to Fullerton, CA-based Batistelli Foods. Read my previous review of their Carne Asada Beef Jerky. While Papa Dan's is focused as a beef jerky brand, it's website also sells nuts, sauces, and candies from other brands.

This "Ring of Fire" variety from Papa Dan's is not associated with the Ring of Fire Beef Jerky that I reviewed last year. This one is made by TM Jerky & Processing, Inc. of Monrovia, CA, while the Ring of Fire Beef Jerky I reviewed earlier was made by J.C. Rivers.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ajay's Montana Bananas - Original Sweet Teriyaki

Ajay's Montana Bananas Last month I did a review of "Ajay's Montana Banana's - Sweet Teriyaki". But today's review is of their "Original Sweet Teriyaki". This one uses a thicker cut of meat. Ajay's has two lines of jerky, one that uses this traditional thicker cut, and the other uses a slab-style thin cut. The traditional thicker cut all use the word, "Original" in their variety names.

Without having yet tasted this Original Sweet Teriyaki variety, it's my understanding it uses the same teriyaki recipe as the one I reviewed earlier. It's just different meat.

Ajay's Montana Bananas is a brand that's mostly sold through the BevMo! chain of liquor stores, a chain found throughout California and Arizona. It's also sold through several tool trucks like Matco and Snap-On. Otherwise, you can buy it directly from Ajay's website, except you'll have to buy 13 packages at a time. Hopefully, this review will help you decide.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mr. Z Beef Jerky - Peppered

Mr. Z Beef Jerky The last in my series on Mr. Z Beef Jerky (or at least until they come out with another flavor), is this Peppered variety. See my earlier reviews on their Original, Teriyaki, and Sweet & Hot varieties.

The Mr. Z brand is owned by International Food Company, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The jerky is manufactured completely in Brazil, and distributed through IFC's USA-based affiliate, International Food Company, USA, LLC. It's been around since 1998, but it didn't show up on US store shelves until around January 2008.

It's a jerky that seems to thrive in discount stores like Dollar Tree, and through its online store at Amazon.com. This particular review sample was sent to me by the folks at Mr. Z, and must have come right off the assembly line, as it has a "Best Before" date of Apr 24 2010. However I think the packages at Dollar Tree are much older, possibly close to their expiration date. In my review of their Original variety, which I purchased from Dollar Tree, I noted a stark difference to the Teriyaki and Sweet & Hot varieties that Mr. Z sent me directly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Jim Beam Beef Jerky - Cracked Pepper

Jim Beam Beef Jerky The third in our series of Jim Beam Beef Jerky is this Cracked Pepper variety. Read my earlier reviews of their Original, and Barbecue varieties.

The idea of combining Jim Beam whiskey into beef jerky is perhaps a study of successful brand extension, by taking a well loved brand such as Jim Beam, and crossing it over to a well loved product like beef jerky. It was enough to win Thanasi Foods, LLC, the company behind this effort, awards from CSP Magazine as the best new convenience store product in 2005. Though I tend to think the marketing success of Jim Beam jerky has more to do with indulging the inner-alcoholic in each of us, and Thanasi's skillful package artwork.

In my review of Jim Beam's Barbecue variety, I noted the jerky was manufactured by Jerky Snack Brands. However this package of Cracked Pepper was made by Monogram Meat Snacks, which appears to be the current processor moving forward. While I'm sure the flavor recipe is still the same, a different meat processor always seems to have a profound effect on the meat consistency and overall flavor.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jawbone Beef Jerky - Peppered

Jawbone Beef Jerky Having been around since the 1950s, the little Jawbone Canyon Store serves off-roaders, bikers, hikers, and residents of the upper Mojave Desert of California. Scott Spencer, who bought the store in 1998, had sold various brands of beef jerky but decided he wanted to offer something unique that carried the brand of his general store.

This line of Jawbone Beef Jerky is what resulted, comprising of four varieties, the Original, which I reviewed earlier, this Peppered, along with a Hot, and Teriyaki. It's manufactured by KMB Foods of Arcadia, CA, the makers of Cactus Jacks Beef Jerky. Spencer says he chose KMB because they use fresh-never-frozen beef.

In my review of the Original variety, I said the meat appeared to be the same as that used in the Buffalo Bills Dead Meat, and the Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts, both of which also use meat from KMB Foods.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rives Quality Meats Beef Jerky - Chicago Style

Rives Quality Meats Beef Jerky Rives Quality Meats is a old-fashioned style meat market in the small town of Rives Junction, MI. It was started back in 1973 by Tom Hosler, serving the local hunters and farmers around the area by turning their game and livestock into steaks, chops, burger, and jerky.

Today, they still offer the same service, but have extended themselves into a grocery store and delicatessen, and just last year entered the digital age by launching a website.

Beef jerky was one of the first products they offered, and continues to be one of their most popular. See my previous review of their Regular variety. This Chicago Style variety is described by RQM as "A combination of sweet smoke and extreme spices with a splash of Cheyenne to create that hot, bold flavor you crave."

Did they mean to say, "Cayenne"?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stubb's Beef Brisket Strips - Spicy Bar-B-Q

Stubb's Beef Brisket Strips Stubb's is a brand of barbecue mostly known as a restaurant in Austin, TX, and then as a line of sauces. It's actual name is "Stubb's Legendary Kitchen", named after C.B. Stubblefield, who built a reputation as a cook in the Army. Texas Monthly has a nice write up on the guy.

This jerky represents a partnership between Thanasi Foods, LLC, who makes snack foods, and One World Foods, Inc., the company that owns the Stubb's brand. It launched in September 2008, and includes two varieties, this Spicy Bar-B-Q, and the Texas Teriyaki.

Thanasi Foods specializes in extending popular brands into snack foods. They also do Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky, Jim Beam Beef Jerky, and Vlasic Pickles Sunflower Seeds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Papa Dan's Beef Jerky - Carne Asada

Papa Dan's Beef JerkyPapa Dan's is a brand of Batistelli Foods, based in Fullerton, CA. The company has been around since 1997, specializing in its own brand of jerky, but also selling a wide varieties of foods and condiments from other brands.

I know little of the company, gathering only what I was able to find online. They offer a wide range of jerky varieties, even branching off into ahi tuna jerky and turkey jerky.

Carne asada is a very general term describing slices of beef, usually seasoned in spices and often marinated in citrus, and then grilled. It's tossed into tacos, or burritos, salads, or just topped on rice and doused with pepper sauce. Flavors and recipes for carne asada are as varied as beef jerky, so there really isn't any kind of specific flavor.

Monday, March 2, 2009

White Powder On Beef Jerky

I'm seeing a number of people asking about white powder, or white residue, collecting on their beef jerky. I've experienced this as well, and am not totally sure what it is. But I thought I'd start this thread and see if folks out there have answers.

My best answer is that most of this stuff is salt.

I've noticed with vacuumed sealed packages of jerky, the vacuum suction causes oils inside the meat to rise to the surface, giving the meat a shiny wet appearance. When the the seal is broken, the oils sink back into the meat, leaving behind salt deposits, which appear as a white powder, or residue. This stuff doesn't rub off, or scrape off, and doesn't seem to change the flavor of the jerky.

Ajay's Montana Bananas - Original Extra Hot

Continuing in this series on Ajay's Montana Bananas is this Original Extra Hot variety. This is from their "Traditional Thicker Cut" line, which also includes Original Peppered and Original Sweet Teriyaki. They also offer a "Slab Style Thin Cut" line which include the same three varieties in a different meat consistency.

This brand launched back in 1979 when Ajay Avery, a singer-songwriter in a country rock band, discovered a very tasty homemade beef jerky at a butchershop in Missoula, MT. He loved it so much that he bought the recipe and decided to shift his career focus to that of a jerky marketer.

But that hasn't stopped him from writing and recording music. He actually released an album several years ago called, "Life Smarts at 40", under the artist name "Ajay and the Montana Banana Bunch", released on "Smokehouse Records".

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Frank's Redhot Steak Strips - Chile 'n Lime

Frank's Redhot Steak Strips - Chile 'n LimeFrank's Redhot Steak Strips is a product of Boulder, CO-based Thanasi Foods, LLC, under a license from French's Foods. They're marinated with the Chile 'n Lime version of Frank's Redhot sauce. Read my previous review of Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky.

The marriage between Frank's Redhot sauce and beef jerky originally came in March 2007, when Thanasi Foods launched the original variety of Frank's Redhot Beef Jerky. A year later, they introduced this Chile 'n Lime variety in a "steak strip" form. They also offer these two flavors in meat sticks.

In October 2008, Thanasi won an award from Convenience Store News, a print magazine representing the industry, for this Chile 'n Lime variety as the "Best New Salty Snack" for 2008. Thanasi won comparable awards in 2006 and 2007 from CSP Magazine, another convenience store publication, for its Jim Beam Beef Jerky.