Monday, August 2, 2010

Da Bomb Jerky

da bomb jerkyLast week I published a review of Da Bomb Jerky's "Spicy Teriyaki Beef Jerky".

The company also sent me samples of their other varieties, but only about 1oz each which is not quite enough to write a detailed review. Even though these other flavors have labels that read "3oz" I don't think they intended for me to write reviews on these, and just sent them to introduce me to their brand. But I want to share all these other flavors with you, so I'm just going to focus on taste, only summarize the meat consistency, and not assign any ratings.

Da Bomb Jerky is owned and made by Brian Jacoby of Colorado Springs, CO. The brand has been around locally for over ten years, selling through flea markets, car shows, and other events. They just started selling online in 2008.


Note the ingredients list and nutrition facts on the labels are the same for every flavor they sent me.

Beef (round steak), soy and teriyaki sauces, garlic, peppers, spices and natural flavors.

Original Plain

The surface flavor starts out salty and then quickly progresses into a strong soy sauce flavor. As I begin chewing, the saltiness increases to a high level. I can pick up just a light natural meat flavor.

The garlic becomes slightly noticeable after several bites of this one slab. Meanwhile, the natural meat flavors seem to be become more defined in the latter half of chewing, after some of that soy sauce wears off.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is a high level of saltiness, and a strong soy sauce flavor. There's a faint bit of garlic and just a light natural meat flavor.

da bomb jerky original plain
Mild Teriyaki

The first thing I taste from the surface is a blend of heavy sweet and a medium level saltiness. The chewing flavor starts with a stronger saltiness which progresses into a strong soy sauce flavor.

For being labeled as "Mild Teriyaki" the teriyaki flavor has a well noticeable flavor, but mostly as just a heavy sweetness. The soy sauce marinade is quite strong and tends to add to the teriyaki. But that heavier saltiness makes it hard to enjoy the teriyaki, quickly taking over my palate. Compared to the company's Spicy Teriyaki, this is certainly mild, not hot or spicy in any way.

About halfway into the chewing, the natural meat flavors come through at a noticeable amount.

Overall, what you're going to notice is an initial heavy sweetness, with some teriyaki flavor, but a strong saltiness and soy sauce flavor that takes over within seconds. In the latter part of chewing, you'll pick up the natural meat flavor.

da bomb jerky mild teriyaki
Black Pepper

The first thing I taste from the surface is a combination of sweet and a strong black pepper flavor, along with some saltiness. The chewing flavor yields a stronger black pepper flavor and a stronger saltiness.

As a "Black Pepper" variety, this offers a strong dose of black pepper flavor noticeable almost immediately after putting a piece into my mouth. There's also a sticky-sweet glaze on one side of this slab that produces a sweetness, and a touch of teriyaki flavor.

The natural meat flavors become more noticeable in the latter part of chewing.

Overall, you're going to notice a sweetness and a strong black pepper flavor right away. But while the sweet wears off quickly, the black pepper gets stronger into the chewing. There's a strong saltiness to this, with some natural meat flavors.

da bomb jerky black pepper
Oriental Red Pepper

The first thing I taste from the surface is a red chile pepper flavor, followed by a heavy sweetness. I can feel some heat building up right away, while a saltiness comes through. The chewing flavor delivers some natural meat flavor and a stronger saltiness.

The company describes this Oriental Red Pepper as tasting like "oriental beef chinese food", and it perhaps has something similar with the easily noticeable red pepper flavor and the heavy sweet glaze you often find in some Chinese dishes. The level of heat in this seems to be at a medium level on my hot scale (level 3 out of 5).

The saltiness in this seems to be at a higher level, just like with the other flavors. In fact halfway into the chewing, after the initial sweet wears off, what you get is much like the company's Original Plain, just a salty, soy-saucy, jerky with a light natural meat flavor.

Overall, you're going to notice a initial burst of sweet and red chile flavor, with a medium level of heat. Then halfway into the chewing that all wears off and the salty soy sauce flavor takes over with a light natural meat flavor.

da bomb jerky oriental red pepper
Habanero Pepper

The first thing I taste from the surface is a heavy sweetness followed by a light chile pepper flavor. There's a moderate saltiness noticeable. A good deal of heat starts building.

For being labeled as "Habanero Pepper", this does throw a lot of heat into my mouth, building up to what I see as "hot" on my hot scale (level 5 out of 5). But I also get some habanero pepper flavor too, though the flavor is a little less intense as what I got from the Oriental Red Pepper variety.

I'm also getting the saltiness and soy sauce flavor that I get from all the other varieties, and in the same intensity, to where it takes over the flavor about halfway into the chewing.

Overall, it's very comparable to the Oriental Red Pepper variety, starting with an initial heavy sweetness and chile pepper flavor, but at a higher level of heat, and with a high saltiness and soy sauce flavor taking over halfway through the chewing.

da bomb jerky habanero
Meat Consistency

All of the above varieties are slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to medium sized slabs.

This is all dry jerky, with a sticky-sweet glaze on one side and dry on the other. The slabs have some flexibility but will crack apart with some bending. A few pieces seemed easy to bite off chunks, but mostly it's semi-tough, while chewing seems the same, a few were easy to chew but mostly semi-tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and tough with a good deal of initial chewing resistance. Most of this stuff requires some laborious chewing and eventually chews down to a soft mass in about 20-25 seconds. At that point, it has a steak-like feel, but a little more tough. A few other pieces chewed down more easily, but felt more over dried, with a more crumbly texture.

I'm not finding a lot of fat on these slabs, and no gristle or tendon. But I do find some stringiness, and I find a good deal of unchewable wads of tissue.

It's also rather messy eating with a lot of sticky residue on my fingers. Because its somewhat tough to chew off chunks, I have to pinch hard with my fingers and that leaves a lot of sweet coating on my fingers. Each bite requires licking off a couple fingers before touching anything else.

Snack Value

Da Bomb Jerky sells each of their jerky flavors online at a price of $29.99 for a one pound package. The shipping is free. That works out to a price of $1.87 per ounce.

Overall, with the exception of the Original Plain variety, it seems to present a decent to good value. They're all packed with a lot of flavor, though with a tough meat consistency and a tough steak-like chewing texture. But that price is comparable to what you'd spend on a major brand of jerky at a grocery store, and yet I think it still offers a better snackability.

The Original Plain variety presents fair value, offering a comparable snackability as the major brands of jerky and at a comparable price. The overall flavor is rather plain, just as the name suggests, though the meat consistency is more dry and more tough than the major brands.


Da Bomb Jerky seems to rely on a highly salty soy sauce marinade for all of its jerky flavors. With the exception of the Original Plain variety, they all have a thick, sweet teriyaki glaze on one side of the slab, and then dry on the other.

The Black Pepper, Oriental Red Pepper, and Habanero Pepper varieties seem to just have a different set of seasoning sprinkled on top.

About halfway into the chewing, that teriyaki glaze and seasoning seems to wear off and gives way to the salty soy sauce marinade which takes over the whole flavor of the jerky.

It almost has a "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" characteristic. For example with the Oriental Red Pepper variety, I found the initial teriyaki sweetness and red chile pepper flavor quite good, but it wore off too soon and I was left with an intense saltiness and soy sauce, which after eating several pieces I found too high for my liking.

Each of these flavors are only differentiated in the first several seconds, and then after that they all taste the same.

Buy this online:


  1. I want to thank you for your exacting review of my beef jerky. I used to use authentic oriental soy sauces from china, japan and indonesia, but made the change to all-american sauces 7 years ago, which severely limited my choices. The water purification methods of the american companies are more tolerable to americans. I was afraid of the saltiness of the new soy sauces, but I must have forgot about it over the years, and none of my customers said anything lol!
    I will send you a bag of habanero so you can see the change, and I know you like it HOT! LOL. Again, Thank You for you truthfulness and you reviews are very thorough! I must have been getting lazy in my methods, but you have inspired new life to my creative ambitions.


  2. Brian ~ Have you tried using low-sodium soy sauce? Just an idea... =)

  3. I saw Brian today (Aug 7) and was able to taste several of the flavors. Brian has modified the main recipe and I was able to compare both old and new recipes and the new is definitely - at least according to my taste buds - a lot less salty than the prior recipe. The surface flavor did hit first as expected, followed by the marinade and then just a good beef flavor.