Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Cajun

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - CajunLebanon, PA-based Choo Choo R Snacks Inc. is the company behind the Buffalo Bills brand of beef jerky, having got it's start in 1990 when five snack food distributors decided to partner together to pool their collective business acumen.

In those days, beef jerky was still largely a "man's" snack food, and so the company came up with the "Buffalo Bills" brand name, theme and logo, to help strengthen the image of cowboys and manly food.

They make their jerky using USA-raised cattle, using cuts from 100% top round and hung strip by strip in a smokehouse using real hickory chips (though liquid smoke is still found in the ingredients).

The "Western Cut" represents the classic dry and thin jerky, while their "Country Cut" line is the soft and tender variety for those folks who want all the goodness of eating a meat snack but with less man-handling.


Beef, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, red crushed chile, cayenne, liquid smoke, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I notice in one of these pieces is a sweetness, followed by a double team of smoky and salty, and the chile pepper burn starting to come on slightly. The natural meat flavors come on strong as I begin the chewing, and then I can taste the teriyaki in the background.

The chile pepper does get hotter and hotter as you eat more pieces. I can feel a burn in the back of my mouth. I'd rate this as being medium hot, but many other folks might see this as "hot". Some pieces have more chile pepper than others, providing a more potent punch. My scalp is getting that little itch when I eat hot foods, and make me want to take a swig of Coke in between pieces.

Does this taste like "Cajun"? I'm not sure exactly what cajun is supposed to taste like anyways. I've eaten a lot of foods described as cajun, perhaps the only thing they have in common is pepper sauce. After that, you can pretty much toss in any ingredient and call it cajun. So for that matter, I think it does stand up to being "cajun".

These pieces do offer a very good helping of natural meat flavors. I find some pieces with some small bits of fat that provides some additional "beefy" taste which I enjoy a lot.

I don't really find this as being salty, though it does offer a salty flavor.

Overall, this offers a great taste mostly through its chile and pepper seasoning, a nice meat flavor, and the teriyaki sauce floating in the background. The good showing of chile pepper seeds and flakes on these pieces provides enough spiciness that lasts throughout the chewing.

Meat Consistency

This appears to be cuts of real meat, sliced thin, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky that retains its flexibility. Some of the pieces are easy to tear apart, while others require some more effort. Chewing is similar, with some pieces being easy, and others feeling a little more tough.

There were enough pieces of chewy tendon and gristle in this review sample that I found it detracted from the overall enjoyment. It was more the gristle than the tendon. I couldn't chew through it at all, and found myself either removing it from my mouth, or tearing it off of the pieces. This is unlike the company's Western Cut Sweet & Spicy that I reviewed earlier where I found no gristle, and only a small amount of tendon.

There was some fat on some pieces, but in small amounts. If you're like me, you enjoy tasting the fat in beef jerky.

All in all, the meat consistency in this review sample was rather mediocre, with enough tendon and gristle to demand my extra attention. Outside of this, it's still fairly easy to tear apart and chew for being a dry jerky.

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Cajun

Buffalo Bills Western Cut - Cajun
Product Value

Choo Choo R Snacks, Inc. sells this jerky from their website at a price of $3.29 for a 1.75oz bag. That works out to $1.88 per oz, putting this into the average price range. You can get this for $1.57 per oz if you buy their larger 3.5oz bag.

I'd consider this a good buy since you're getting a jerky that's packed with a lot of flavor, offering some great natural meat flavor, and is very snackable. The meat consistency, with its higher-than-average showing of tendon and gristle, might make you want to compare several packages to find one that looks better.

As a cajun variety, I think it offers plenty of cajun flavoring for the buck. It's very spicy, and will give you a decent tongue-burning.


Buffalo Bills Western Cut - CajunI'm giving this a "good" rating.

While the taste is great, and I found this to be very snackable, it was the higher-the-average presence of tendon and gristle that kept me from giving it a "best" rating.

In all fairness, I realize this a hit or miss issue. There are most likely other packages of the same variety with almost no tendon and gristle, but I can't make that assumption on every sample I review.

I happen to love spicy jerky, whether it's hot or mild, anything that wakes up my senses always gets good marks with me, and this Western Cut Cajun variety from Buffalo Bills is something that will make you want to soften up a piece in your mouth just to savor the flavors a little more longer.

Rating: Good

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