Love's is the chain of truck stops and convenience stores that dot the Interstate highway system across the country. The fact that they offer their own brand of beef jerky is perhaps a testament to the popularity of jerky as a road snack.
But Love's doesn't make their own jerky. It's instead made by Robertson's Hams, Inc. of Marietta, OK, the same company that makes the "Robertson's Real Beef Jerky". In fact, I reviewed that brand last year, you can read the review here.
Love's sells this jerky in a variety of package sizes. Reviewed here is the 3/4 pound jar. They also offer a full pound jar, as well as 1oz and 2.5oz packages. It all comes in the same flavor.
Beef, water, salt, sugar, spices, sodium nitrite.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light meaty flavor, with a touch of smokiness, and a light saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, followed by an increased saltiness.
This jerky tastes pretty much tastes like what I remember Robertson's Real Beef Jerky tastes like. It's largely marked by a light natural meat flavor, some saltiness, and even a touch of smokiness. There's some visible streaks of fat on these slices, and the fat seems to add some extra flavor.
These slices also have a dusting of spice on one side. They seem to add a touch of flavor, but not much, mostly a light peppery flavor. I want to also say there's a touch of garlic in there, but it's hard to say.
The saltiness in this seem light, and that's backed up by the lower sodium content listed on the nutrition facts label.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is a natural meat flavor, with a noticeable smokiness, a light saltiness, and just touches of black pepper.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in large slabs.
This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. The slabs are quite stiff, with almost no flexibility. If you bent it it just cracks apart. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers requires a little effort, but overall not bad. Chewing can be a bit labored, but still acceptable.
The chewing texture starts off feeling dry and woody, with a crunchy, crispy initial chewing. The toughest part of the chew comes about 10 seconds into the chewing, and then it softens up and becomes easier. At that point, it feels like a steak cooked well-done, kinda dry and very fibrous.
These slabs have a good deal of fat marbilization which adds to the flavor, but I didn't find any large chunks of fat. I didn't find any gristle or tendon, but there's some stringiness in the chewing, and some bites resulted in some wads of unchewable tissues.
As for clean eating, biting off chunks of these slabs tends to result in bits of seasoning falling across my lap. I'm also getting a little bit of seasoning stuck to my fingers, the result of pinching hard on these slabs to bite off chunks.
Love's sells this jerky from their network of truck stops in a variety of package sizes. I bought this 3/4 pound jar at a price of $19.99 at their truck stop in Barstow, CA. That works out to a price of $1.67 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.67 per ounce price, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability due to a satisfactory flavor, decent chewing texture. That price is a little bit less than competing brands of jerky also found at Love's Truck Stops, and yet provides comparable or slightly better snackability.
I'm giving this an average rating.
Love's Real Beef Jerky is pretty much exactly the same as Robertson's Real Beef Jerky, both made by Robertson's Hams. It has a nice natural meat flavor, with a touch of hickory smoke, and then lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.
The crunchy dry chewing in these thinly sliced slabs seems to create a little bit more snacking pleasure, and it seems to chews like real steak as well. The smoky meaty smell of this jerky also seems to create some favorable anticipation.
But overall it's not an impressive flavor, nothing that's going to awaken your senses and drive you crazy. But it's still a good flavor, and perhaps seems to have enough flavor and a decent enough chewing texture that I think it'll satisfy the hunger of truckers and travelers just long enough until the next stop.
A good beer pairing for this would be an IPA, I think the strong hops will help bring out more flavor in this jerky. Try the Alesmith IPA, or the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA.
Where to buy:
- At any Love's Truck Stop