Saturday, May 8, 2010

Love's Real Beef Jerky

love's truck stop jerkyLove'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.

Ingredients

Beef, water, salt, sugar, spices, sodium nitrite.

Taste

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.

Meat Consistency

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.

loves truck stop jerky

love's beef jerky
Snack Value

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.

Rating

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.

Rating: Average

Where to buy
:
  • At any Love's Truck Stop

17 comments:

  1. I sent a container of Beef Jerky to Afghanistan, and it was a huge hit. They are asking for more. I would encourage any body to send Loves Beef Jerky/ Robertsons Beef Jerky to our troops.

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  2. Why would anyone want to send a average jerky out to our service men and women when there's so much better jerky out there? Our Troops deserve better then that. What's a matter with you??

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  3. I disagree, I think this is an old fashioned style jerky which happens to be my absolute favorite. I agree with the above comment! I'm sure most of the troops would really enjoy it.

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    1. I'm going to agree with this reply, I prefer old fashioned style jerky which is tough and very dry, I absolutely hate the "wet" types found in most places now a days. I used to buy "sheets" of this for about $1 in places in California by the piece as a kid. Now I live in Missouri and the ONLY place I can get it is exit 101 off of I70 in Missouri.. Any time I go out to ST Louis from Kansas City, This is where I stop.. it is a MUST have. Far above an average beef jerky for me.

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    2. I'm going to agree with this reply, I prefer old fashioned style jerky which is tough and very dry, I absolutely hate the "wet" types found in most places now a days. I used to buy "sheets" of this for about $1 in places in California by the piece as a kid. Now I live in Missouri and the ONLY place I can get it is exit 101 off of I70 in Missouri.. Any time I go out to ST Louis from Kansas City, This is where I stop.. it is a MUST have. Far above an average beef jerky for me.

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  4. Loves Beef Jerky is the best in my book. How does one make it like this? Electric smoker? It has a nice lean/toughness that I cant duplicate with a dehydrator.

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  5. It is the best store bought jerky I have had that I can remember.

    Tom

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  6. i've ordered some of steve's 5 star rated jerky and so far they've all been a hit. loves however is one of my (and my husbands) favorite! different preference i guess...

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  7. This is last remaining brands "man's" jerky that I can buy in my area. Over the past 20 years it seems like they've all swithced over to the candy assed terder format. In fact I'm pushing that tender jerkey be designated as an oxymoron. In my opinion, keep it pure and simple; meat, salt, spices, smoke and dry the hell out of it.

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  8. I find the flavor of this jerky to be the best "traditional" flavor. It is mild, not highly seasoned, but I think it has the best "beefy" flavor

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  9. This is indeed identical to Robertson Ham jerky (same packaging & jerky but different label). By far my favorite jerky and it's great for low carb diets like South Beach as it contains 0% sugar.

    Like a fine wine Robertson is an acquired taste, dry, smokey and very satisfying.

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  10. I was on a road trip that included a soldier. He bought the pound side of this and told us we all had to try it. I've been hooked since then. Absolutely best jerky ever.

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  11. Love's Jerkey is by far...hands down, the absolutely best beef jerkey you can find out there...I can't wait to get my hands on the next stop I hit....I grew up on jerkey and I'm really picky ....Love's has the BEST !!!

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  12. I'm a vegetarian but I try to buy this for my husband every year, he LOVES it! My Dad & brother also LOVE it, they say its the best! I wouldn't know but that's 3 mens opinion :)

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  13. Hit the road for a total of two weeks for a vacation- this stuff is fantastic- kept me going when I hit those long stretches and there was no trust-worthy diners in the area. There's also a slip inside the Love's Real Beef Jerky containers that has a number where you can order the Jerky from- wish I could find my slip and share it with this site.

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  14. I always buy a pound of this when I pass a Loves store. It is good but even better when you let it dry out more. I leave the lid off for a few days and it gets crispy and melts in your mouth. However the chewing can be very laboring, but that can be viewed as a masseter muscle workout.

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  15. http://www.robertsonhams.com/rhOrders2.htm Here's where to order it! Same exact stuff

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