Ripken Power Shred is a brand of Florio Sports, LLC based out of Long Valley, NJ. The company partnered with Cal Ripken Jr. to offer up a beef jerky snack that bears the Iron Man of Baseball's name and number.
The company launched this new snack just this month at the 2010 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) trade show in Atlanta, GA. The company agreed to donate a portion of all sales to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, a nonprofit that serves at-risk youth and underserved communities in the United States.
Ripken Power Shred uses a smaller 3oz package resembling a pouch of tobacco chew that reminds me of the Big League Chew bubblegum. They also offer the standard 0.32oz jerky chew canisters.
Brisket of beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, lemon juice, jalapeno peppers, garlic, black pepper, organic worcestershire sauce.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderate sweetness followed by some saltiness, and touches of soy sauce. There's a faint touch of spiciness.
The chewing flavor starts with some natural meat flavors, mixed with the marinade which seems heavier on the soy sauce, but clearly with other ingredients added in. The saltiness gets heavier in the chewing, and a light amount of black pepper is noticeable.
As for being labeled "Sweet n' Spicy", it seems to hold up to that, just barely. It's very sweet, but the spicy part is light. I can taste a significant black pepper flavor, which seems to create a light black pepper burn in the back of my mouth. But there's also a bold flavor in the marinade that one might consider as contributing to a spiciness. It's not hot at all, it's still mild.
Overall, the dominant flavor of this jerky is that heavy sweetness, with that soy sauce-based marinade. It's not purely a soy sauce flavor, there are other components that I can taste in there, including garlic, and faint touches of worcestershire. But overall, the marinade has a soy sauce footprint. There's even a light tangy character to the marinade.
The natural meat flavors tend to get lost in the stronger sweet and bolder marinade flavors. They're more noticeable when I suck on a piece first for 15 to 20 seconds, then chew.
The level of saltiness feels to be at a medium to high level.
Overall, it's a very flavorful jerky, marked by a high sweetness and a bold, well seasoned soy sauce flavor, with a noticeable black pepper in the background. It's not really that spicy, but there's enough black pepper and enough seasonings in the marinade that it seems to give this a spicy character.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small bits and fragments, perhaps to mimic something like tobacco chew.
This a semi-moist jerky, with a semi-moist surface feel. These pieces are very soft and easy to bend and compress together with my fingers. I can actually pick up several bits and squeeze them together into a meatball.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and moist, with no chewing resistance. It chews down to a soft mass almost immediately, and at that point, feels like real meat, but very soft, somewhat mushy, almost like partially cooked ground beef.
I do see small bits and streaks of fat on some of these bits, and I also encountered some stringiness in the chewing. I didn't find any gristle or tendon, though I felt some unchewable wads of tissue remaining in my mouth.
As for clean eating, my fingers pick up a light film of stickiness, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard.
Ripken Power Shred can be purchased online at its website for a price of $34.95 for a six pack of 3oz pouches. Shipping comes to $5.95, for a total of $40.90. That works out to a price of $2.27 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.27 price per ounce, it seems to present a fair value. I'm getting a decent amount of snackability for an overall good flavor, and easy eating, though a mushy, stringy chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky found in grocery stores, it's priced higher, though with a better flavor, but not a better meat consistency.
As a Sweet n' Spicy jerky, at the same $2.27 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm getting a lot of sweetness, and a low to moderate spiciness, though still mild in terms of heat. I've found many other sweet-n-spicy brands that provide a better spiciness.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Sweet n' Spicy variety from Ripken Power Shred offers a lot of sweetness, though a low to medium level spiciness, mostly through some black pepper, but also some through a bold tasting marinade consisting primarily of soy sauce mixed with garlic and worcestershire.
I think it's a good flavor overall. Prime Snax, the actual manufacturer of this jerky, always makes very flavorful jerky, and this is no exception.
I think the general populace will love this stuff for its soft, moist chew, stronger sweetness, and salty profile. But I think the jerky aficionado, or at least me anyways, is going to want bigger pieces they can hold, and something that has more of a steak-like chewing texture.
As for my recommended beer pairing, go with a lighter bodied and flavored pale ale. Try the Anchor Steam, or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
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- Note: Dec 25, 2012, Ripken Power Shred appears to be out of business.