Monday, December 27, 2010

Papa Dan's Beef Jerky - Real Backyard BBQ

Papa Dans Beef JerkyNext in the series on Papa Dan's Beef Jerky is this Real Backyard BBQ variety. See my previous reviews of their Sweet & Hot, Old Fashioned, Ring of Fire, and Carne Asada varieties.

Papa Dan's is a brand of Batistelli Foods, based in Fullerton, CA. The brand was started by David Batistelli along with his father in 1988. At one time Papa Dan's was manufactured in its own USDA facility, but is now produced by Monrovia, CA-based TM Jerky & Processing, which coincidentally now owns Papa Dan's old manufacturing facility.

The company describes this "Real Backyard BBQ" variety as "Thick, juicy steak strips marinated in a sweet barbecue sauce for over 18 hours and then slow smoked over real wood chips."


Beef, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, honey, corn syrup solids, BBQ seasoning (salt, paprika, monosodium glutamate, onion, spices, celery, red pepper), vinegar, liquid smoke, cayenne pepper, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong sweetness. A light smokiness comes in, but it's the liquid smoke flavor, and then a light saltiness.

The chewing flavor starts with mostly the same flavors as the surface, while a light BBQ sauce flavor comes in. I can pick up light amounts of the real wood smoke.

For being dubbed "Real Backyard BBQ", this seems to stand up. For the most part the BBQ sauce flavor is noticeable throughout much of these strips, but in a more mild variety. Some strips have a strong BBQ sauce flavor, while others are quite weak.

For being billed as real backyard BBQ, I tend to expect something that exceeds all expectations, but yet this flavor doesn't have the bold, tangy, spicy flavors that only your cousin Bobby Earl could bring with him from Tennessee, but it's still pretty tasty. It's just seems dumbed down a notch to pacify general audiences. But it does have a thick sweetness and a light touch of that real wood smoke, which I would expect in real backyard BBQ.

And that BBQ sauce flavor seems to be the dominant flavor of this jerky, along with the thick sweetness and light smokiness.

The natural meat flavors are practically non-existent. It feels like there's so much sweetness that goes down into the meat, that I can't taste any natural meat flavor.

The level of saltiness in this feels to be at a moderate level.

Overall what you're going to notice is a highly sweet BBQ sauce flavor with a touch of real wood smoke.

Meat Consistency

These are strips of whole meat, sliced thick and in lengths of three to eight inches.

This is a dry jerky with a sticky oily surface feel. They have very little flexibility in that a light bending will cause them to crack open. Biting off chunks require a little effort, while chewing seems easy overall.

The chewing texture starts off feeling somewhat brittle, presenting very little chewing resistance. They break down very easily, but still seem to require a fair good deal of chewing to get down to a soft mass. At that point it still has a dry feel, somewhat crumbly, yet still with a meaty resemblance.

Most of these strips appear to be fat free, but in the chewing I could see feel pieces of fat. There's also a light amount of stringiness, and very little unchewable tissues. I don't see any gristle or tendon.

In terms of clean eating, handling each strips leaves behind enough oil and stickiness to require a licking and wiping.

real backyard bbq

barbecue beef jerky
Snack Value

Papa Dan's sells this Real Backyard BBQ variety from its website at a price of $23.99 for two 8oz packages. Add to that $7.56 for shipping to Southern California, and it totals out to $31.55. That's works out to be $1.97 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.97 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a good snackability out of this due to a satisfying flavor, good meat consistency, easy eating, and average chewing texture. That price is about what you'd pay for the major brands of jerky at the grocery store, but this seems to provide more snackability.

As a "Real Backyard BBQ" beef jerky, at the same $1.97 per ounce price, it's also good value. It seems to offer a BBQ sauce flavor, albeit not very bold, tangy or spicy, but also gives you a thick sweet flavor and a light real wood smoke flavor. Compared to the major brands of jerky that offer a BBQ flavor, this is seems better.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This Real Backyard BBQ variety from Papa Dan's Beef Jerky seems to hold up to its advertised flavor to a degree, in that it does have a BBQ sauce flavor with thick sweetness, though not at all like the bold, spicy, tangy sauce I think of with real backyard BBQ. But it suffices I think.

The amount of BBQ sauce varies from piece to piece, with some offering little sauce flavor, while others generated a good deal. But all pieces are heavily sweet. There's a light but noticeable amount of real wood smoke flavor, to help round out that real BBQ character.

For snacking purposes, it seems to work really well keeping me reaching for more, providing a snackable flavor and being easy to eat. But it doesn't seem to have any other quality that makes it stand out above the crowd. The thick meaty strips are perhaps its strong point in that it beckons a meat snacker to sink their teeth. But after that, it doesn't really follow through with an equally rewarding flavor and chew.

My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a smoky porter. I'd suggest the Stone Smoked Porter or the Anchor Porter.

Rating: Average

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