Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jim's Jarhead Jerky

jims jarhead jerky
Jim's Jarhead Jerky is the creation of Jim Ewen, a retired Marine, based out of Medford, NJ.

The brand started out in 2009 when Jim started shipping batches of homemade jerky to his son stationed in Iraq. His son shared it with others, and soon Jim found himself shipping out hundreds of pounds of jerky regularly to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After his son returned home, Jim continued the success by contracting with a manufacturer, and selling his famous jerky to stores.

Jim uses "real slices of steak", and was recently recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal among their "Top 25 Veteran Owned Businesses".


Beef, soy sauce, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, water, modified corn starch, garlic, spice, pepper sauce, pepper.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a significant sweetness followed by a moderate saltiness. A light bit of pepper is noticeable, and faints bits of soy sauce.

The chewing brings in a natural meat flavor, along with a more defined black pepper, a touch more soy sauce, and a little bit of heat.

Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky starts with the sweetness, but then it's largely a black peppered jerky, with some soy sauce and light natural meat flavors. The black pepper adds enough spice to give this a some heat. But then, the sweetness continues throughout the chewing, for what is really a sweet and peppery jerky.

Is some respects, the flavor reminds me of Wild Bill's Beef Jerky, but more peppery, a little less soy sauce, and much more sweet.

The level of heat in sits at "medium" on my personal heat scale (level 3 out of 5).

The natural meat flavors are light, still noticeable, but also struggling to distinguish itself from the stronger sweetness and black pepper seasoning.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced into chunks of one to two bite sizes, and sliced thick.

This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel, though perhaps slightly moist. The pieces are easy to chew, and easy to bite off chunks.

The chewing starts out feeling dry, yet still tender enough to offer little chewing resistance. The pieces chew apart easily and render into a soft mass quite quickly. At that point, it tends to feel crumbly, perhaps a bit mushy, not really meshing into something steak-like.

I don't see any bits of fat on these pieces, nor any gristle or tendon. I didn't encounter any stringiness nor anything unchewable. It's very meaty.

It's also pretty clean handling, leaving no residue on my fingers, and very little bits of pepper or meat on my lap or desk.

jims jarhead jerky
jims jarhead jerky
Snack Value

Jim's Jarhead Jerky sells their jerky in 3.25oz packages, at a price of $24.50 for 3 packages. That works out to a price of $2.51 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.51 per ounce price, it's a fair value. I'm getting a satifying flavor and jerky chewing experience overall. Compared to nationally leading brands of jerky sold in stores, it seems to offer a similar flavor, and similar chewing experience.


jims jarhead jerky
I'm giving this an average rating.

Jim's Jarhead Jerky packs in a lot of flavor powered mostly by the black pepper and pepper sauce seasonings, along with a significant sweetness that lasts throughout the chewing. There's a light savory flavor coming from the soy sauce, and a lighter bit of natural meat flavor.

The meat consistency is actually it's strongest point, being very meaty with no fat, stringiness, or other unchewable tissues. However, the meat didn't seem to chew like the real pieces of steak that it was made from. It tended to feel crumbly, while a few pieces were also a bit mushy.

Otherwise, in comparison to the hundreds of other jerky brands I've evaluated, it's flavor has a "mass produced" or "factory" character to it, though it tends to pack in more flavor. I imagine as Jim's Jarhead Jerky transitioned to a contract manufacturer, it lost that homemade quality.

Rating: Average

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