Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Archer Farms Beef Jerky - Traditional

archer farms beef jerkyArcher Farms is a brand name of Target Corporation, the chain of discount stores.

Target also sells beef jerky under another brand, "Market Pantry", which I reviewed earlier. Archer Farms seems to be the brand they use when they want to portray a "premium" or "upscale" look, while the Market Pantry brand has the more common, basic appearance.

However unlike the Market Pantry brand I reviewed, this Archer Farms beef jerky was manufactured by Monogram Meat Snacks. The Market Pantry brand was manufactured by Jack Link's.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nature's Snack Organic Beef Jerky - Peppered

nature's snack organic beef jerkyNature's Snack is a brand of Prime Snax, Inc. of Salt Lake City, UT.

Prime Snax owns several brands of beef jerky, Nature's Snack is their line of organic jerky. The company claims they use grass-fed cattle from Uruguay, and goes on to say that the taste of this organic beef is "outstanding" compared to other beef.

I've seen this brand of beef jerky in a handful of grocery stores and health food stores, and have eaten this before, but haven't yet reviewed it until now. It carries the USDA Organic seal.


Organic beef, water, organic evaporated cane juice, organic soy sauce, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, organic black pepper, celery juice powder, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder, lactic acid starter culture.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderately sweet flavor. Several seconds of sucking later, I start to pick up a faint black pepper flavor, and then hints of that apple cider vinegar, a bit of saltiness, and traces of garlic.

The chewing flavor starts with a stronger black pepper flavor, followed by a continuation of the sweet.

For being marketed as a "Peppered" variety of beef jerky, it does indeed provide a good deal of black pepper flavor in the chewing. Just one piece gave me a well-noticed flavor and aftertaste. But it largely only comes in the chewing. But I think it's still strong enough that I'd rank it as the primary flavor of this jerky.

The second-strongest flavor is the sweetness. It's actually the first flavor I notice when I put a piece into my mouth, being dominant in the surface flavors. It continues to be well-noticed in the chewing, but wears off about half-way through. The sharpness of the black pepper easily cuts through the sweetness.

The taste of the apple cider vinegar is noticeable but light. In fact, I wouldn't normally notice it unless I'm analyzing the flavors carefully.

The garlic flavor is faint, and it too would not normally be noticed unless you're thinking about the flavors carefully.

The saltiness seems to be at a low intensity, though the nutrition facts shows a medium content.

I don't taste any natural meat flavors, despite the company claiming this organic, grass-fed cattle produces a superior flavor.

Overall, it's mostly a combination of sweet and black pepper that you'll taste in this, with some hints of apple cider vinegar and garlic, and a bit of saltiness.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin to average, and in small pieces.

This is a dry jerky, with a dry feel. They don't have much flexibility, cracking open easily with a little bending. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems somewhat easy to do, while chewing is "chewy" and a little tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff with a plastic feel. There's a fair amount of chewing resistance in the first several chews. It takes some sucking and chewing before it softens up enough and eventually breaks down to a soft mass. At that point, it tends to become mushy.

This beef jerky appears to be free of any visible fat, and free of any visible gristle or tendon. In the chewing, I didn't encounter any stringy sinews nor any unchewable wads of tissue.

It's also clean eating. I found no residue on my fingertips, and not any fragments of meat or pepper flying off, largely these pieces are small enough to be bite-sized.

beef jerky

beef jerky
Snack Value

I paid $5.99 for this 3oz package at an Albertson's grocery store in Menifee, CA. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.00 price per ounce, it seems to provide a weak value. I'm getting only a small amount of snackability based on a satisfactory flavor, but not necessarily one that I find hard to resist. It's not even that easy to eat either, being somewhat tough.

As a black peppered beef jerky, at the same $2.00 price per ounce, it's a better value, perhaps being decent, because I do in fact get a good deal of black pepper flavor. And that $2.00 price per ounce is just a little bit higher than a Jack Link's or Oberto brand, but I'm still getting enough black pepper flavor to where I'd be happy with this purchase.

Also, as an organic beef jerky, it's a decent value. If all that mattered to you is that your beef jerky is organic, then the $2.00 price per ounce is not bad, even if the flavor and consistency is sub-par. Most organic beef jerky brands I've tried has weak flavor, but often times will cost you more than this.


nutrition facts labelI'm giving this a fair rating.

This Peppered variety of organic beef jerky from Nature's Snack does offer a good deal of black pepper flavor, but not much after that. Aside from an easily-noticed sweetness, a light saltiness, there really isn't much else in this. Overall, I couldn't get enough snackability from this to keep me wanting more.

On top of that, it's somewhat tough to eat, making my jaws a little tired after half the contents, and the chewing texture is far more meat-like, with a lot of chewing resistance initially, and then working its way down to being mushy.

It's almost as if Prime Snax designed this organic beef jerky to meet the qualifications of being "USDA Organic", and then sacrificed on flavor and consistency to keep the costs down.

For a good beer pairing with this, try a basic porter, like a Michelob Porter.

Rating: Fair

Buy this online:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Matador Beef Jerky - Original

Matador Beef JerkyMatador is a brand name of Link Snacks, Inc. of Minong, WI. It's the newest product from the Jack Link's group of meat snacks, launching last March.

The brand is intended to appeal to teens and early 20-year olds with an action-packed lifestyle of motocross, skiing, skateboarding, surfing, and the like. Link Snacks, Inc. apparently ran a taste test with teenagers to develop just the right flavor and consistency to push all the right snacking buttons.

The company partnered with Frito-Lay to get this new brand of jerky into retain outlets everywhere.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spiro Sport Foods - Original Beef Bites

Spiro Sport FoodsSpiro Sport Foods is a company based in Park City, UT that produces these "Spiro Bites", which they market to athletes and fitness buffs, touting the "8 essential amino acids" that beef provides.

They come in four flavors, including this Original Beef, as well as Cranberry Beef, Original Turkey, and Glazed Turkey. These are actually manufactured by Jerky Snack Brands, of Mankato, MN.

The best I can tell these things don't contain any additional vitamins or energy ingredients. They're just plain old processed meat snacks like any other jerky or kippered meat, but marketed up to sound like something way healthier than beef jerky. To their credit, Spiro Bites don't contain sodium nitrite, no antibiotics, no hormones, and no MSG. However, there's already tons of beef jerky out there that don't contain these ingredients either. So, I'm not sure what advantage Spiro Bites offers aside from beef jerky.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sograte Beef Jerky - Smokin' Habanero

Sograte Beef JerkyNext in the series on Sograte Beef Jerky is this Smokin' Habanero variety. See my reviews of their other beef jerky flavors, Texas Heat, Black Pepper, and Original.

Sograte is a brand of Sograte BBQ & Beef Jerky, based out of Lubbock, TX. The company was founded by Cary Franklin. The business originally started out with Cary and his brother-in-law entering a BBQ competition in 2005, where they took four of the top ten positions in five different categories on their first try. Today, they run a BBQ catering service. The beef jerky is their primary retail product.

Their beef jerky is not marinated, rather it's just salt cured. It's smoked over a live hickory fire, and then seasoned.