Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Jerky Connection - Hillbilly Campfire

the jerky connectionMoving along in the series on The Jerky Connection is this Hillbilly Campfire beef jerky. See our previous review on The Jerky Connection.

Run by Tom Greineder, The Jerky Connection is a new business that launched last June, based out of Wrightsville, PA, boasting several flavors ranging from mild to insanely hot, including a line of jerky dubbed, "7 Gates of Hell".

This Hillbilly Campfire variety recreates that scene of woodsy outdoorsmen smoking their meat over a campfire. It brings in layers of mesquite and hickory smokiness.


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The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light touch of sweet, followed by a very light saltiness. There's a faint smokiness noticeable.

The chewing brings in a more defined smokiness followed by a light natural meat flavor. The latter part of chewing reveals a lightly sweet marinade, perhaps worcestershire but watered down.

For being described as having layers of mesquite and hickory smokiness, this seems to hold up somewhat. I do pick up the smokiness, but it's rather light. The smoke flavors tend to be more noticeable with the first piece I ate, afterwards my taste buds get used to the flavor and it's hard to identify.

Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky is a light sweetness that runs throughout. It's backed up by a light saltiness, and then there's that faint marinade flavor noticeable towards the end, perhaps comparable to a watered down worcestershire.

The natural meat flavors are hit and miss in this jerky, some pieces tend to have a stronger flavor, while other pieces seem to have little to none.

Overall, this is a mild flavored jerky, where all the individual flavor components are light.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced medium thickness, and sliced into small strips large enough to accommodate one or two bites.

This is a dry jerky with a semi-moist, lightly oily surface feel. The strips are flexible but still somewhat stiff. Chewing is a little labored, but overall tolerable.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff, with a little bit of chewing resistance. It breaks down with some labored chewing, but overall not too tough. It soon takes on meaty feel, and by the time it's rendered into a soft mass, it feels just like eating a piece of steak, though slightly dry.

I don't see any bits or streaks of fat on these pieces, it all looks to be quite lean. I don't really encounter any stringiness nor any unchewable tissues.

As for clean eating, my finger tips pick up a light amount of oily, sticky residue enough to require a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.

Snack Value

The Jerky Connection sells this Hillbilly Campfire jerky at a price of $27.00 for a one pound bag. Add to that shipping of $6.30 out to Southern California, and it works out to a price of $2.08 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.08 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm getting a basic level of snackability against a great meat consistency and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, this offers a slightly better value at a comparable price.

As a mesquite and hickory smoked jerky, at the same $2.08 price per ounce, it's a weak value. I'm getting only light amounts of smokiness, and after eating several pieces, that flavor seems to get lost behind the light sweetness and saltiness. Compared to other brands of smoked jerky, this has similar to slightly less flavor at a little bit more price.


I'm giving this an average rating.

While this Hillbilly Campfire variety from The Jerky Connection was meant to provide layers of mesquite and hickory smokiness, it seems to do so only in light amounts. The first piece or two that I ate provided a noticeable flavor, but after eating several more my taste buds found it more difficult to discern.

Otherwise, this comes off as a lightly sweet and lightly salty flavor, with little else to taste. Even the natural meat flavors don't show up very well in this. Perhaps this is best for folks with mild, sensitive palates.

The Jerky Connection's signature meat consistency and chewing texture continues in this variety, and is actually this jerky's better qualities.

But otherwise, it's a low flavored jerky, that provides low amounts of its advertised flavor.

Rating: Average

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