Monday, October 22, 2012

Bam's Jerky - Original

bams beef jerky
Dubbed, "Made with love in Brooklyn, NY", Bam's Jerky is a product of Bam's Fine Foods, LLC, based out of Brooklyn.

It's the creation of Bam Romero, a bartender at Toby's Public House, located in the South Slope of Brooklyn. Romero had been making jerky for nearly 20 years, but only recently started selling it in Ziploc baggies for about the last five. And with patrons seemingly hooked, Bam's is now getting press attention in several hyperlocal magazines.  According to Romero, "even the cops are coming in for it".

Bam's Jerky is made with grass-fed beef, and comes in two flavors, this Original and a "Kill Me", which is made with 10 varieties of chile peppers.


Ingredients

Grass-fed beef, low sodium soy sauce, sugars, black and red peppers, all natural liquid smoke.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light smokiness, followed by a light saltiness. There's a beefy flavor that comes in next.

The chewing flavor starts with a more beefy flavor, bringing in the natural meat flavors. There's a touch of black pepper noticeable, and a light saltiness that eventually becomes more identifiable as the soy sauce.

The flavors that seem to define this jerky most of all are the natural meat flavors. They have a flavor reminiscent of steak fried in a pan, seasoned with black pepper, and with the fatty flavor remixing into the meat. The meat also has a very light soy sauce flavor, and a light smokiness.

Despite the addition of red peppers, this is not really hot at all. On my personal heat scale, I'd rate this as mild (level 1 out of 5), but I think others could see this as another level higher, mild-medium.

The sugars listed in the ingredients are noticeable if you look for it, otherwise they tend to stay in the background, providing a little bit of body to the overall flavor.

The level of saltiness in this feels moderate.

Overall, it's a jerky that puts the emphasis on the natural meat flavors, mixing in a little fatty flavor to create something more beefy, like marbleized steak. The marinade and seasonings are light, but just enough to make this more savory.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, cut into slabs of small to medium sizes and sliced thin.

This is a dry jerky, maybe slightly moist, with a semi-moist surface feel. These slabs are easy to bend, and overall chewing seems easy.

The chewing texture starts out feeling like typical slab-style jerky, but a little more tender than the major brands. It chews down easier than the major brands as well, and quickly takes on a meaty feel. By the time it's been chewed down to a soft mass, it feels just like a piece of steak.

I see a fair amount of fat on these slabs, some with significant streaks and spots, while others are well marbleized. Some of this fat is chewy and remains in my mouth as unchewable wads. I also found one slab with a chunk of dried tendon, feeling very hard. The stringiness seems minimal.

In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a thin layer of sticky/oily residue, along with some bits of black and red pepper. But so far, nothing requiring a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.

bams beef jerky

bams beef jerky
Snack Value

Bam's Jerky sells this Original variety at a price of $5.00 per 1.7oz bag. If you bought 7 of these bags, shipping is $5.00 flat rate. That would work out to a price of $3.36 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.36 per ounce price, it's a fair value. I'm getting a good snackability for an overall good flavor, fair meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, this has a better flavor, though much more fat and unchewable tissues, with a much higher price.

Rating

I'm giving this a good rating.

This Original beef jerky from Bam's Jerky has a homemade taste that does a good job of emphasizing the great flavor of beef, grass-fed beef at that. It offers plenty of natural meat flavor, with a fatty flavor mixed in, while keeping the marinade and seasonings to a lower profile.

It actually has a good flavor complexity, with the smokiness, soy sauce, sugar, and black and red pepper, all of which I could identify in light amounts. But they collectively provide a good but simple enhancement to the natural meat flavor. The result is something along the lines of a marinated, seasoned steak.

The copious amounts of fat might be troubling to some jerky snackers, and while I actually enjoy some fat on beef jerky, there's a line where it becomes too much. I think Bam's straddles that line to where you think it's too much, but then you realize that this also creates the beefy, marbleized flavor. I think the piece of tendon and some of the bigger chunks of fat could be trimmed off, considering the significantly higher price to buy this jerky.

My recommended beer pairing for this, go with a lighter brown ale or brown lager, such as the Samuel Adams Boston Lager or the Newcastle Brown Ale.

Rating: Good

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