Sunday, October 5, 2008

Golden Valley Natural - BuffalOs - Red Hot

Golden Valley Natural - BuffalOs - Red HotBuffalo jerky, such as this variety of "BuffalOs" from Golden Valley Natural, always seems to lend itself to the idea of being natural, healthy, and godly. It conjures up visions of buffalo roaming free across the prairie, eating only whatever grass that grows wild, and avoiding Mankind's contaminated touch.

This package of BuffalOs - Red Hot, even bills itself as being "All Natural", though with a caveat that it's only free of man-made ingredients. Yet the entire jerky itself is a man-made product, when you consider its buffalo meat chopped up and pressed into circles. Having grown up with baloney sandwiches, anything kind of meat pressed into circles doesn't give me the sense of being "natural".

Golden Valley Natural is the sister company to Intermountain Natural, LLC, the company who actually makes this jerky. Intermountain specializes in making organic and "all natural" jerkies, they private label for such notables as Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market.


Buffalo, sugar, water, soy sauce, flavorings, apple cider vinegar, salt, paprika, natural smoke flavoring.


What I get off the surface of these circles is a very faint smoke flavor, and a slight sweetness. Moving into the chew, a slight amount of natural meat flavor comes out, some saltiness, and some spiciness.

Most of the flavor from this comes from the chew. There really isn't any burst of flavor that comes off the surface, which is something I like to always get. I like to let a piece soften up in my mouth, just to enjoy the flavors, and then chew it slightly to get some of inner-flavors out. You can't really enjoy this jerky that way.

Even though the chew provides most of the flavor, it too doesn't really give me a lot of flavor either. Overall, this jerky is light on taste.

If any taste dominates this jerky, it's the natural meat flavors, which is actually rather weak, and not quite up to par with what you'd expect from a lean piece of buffalo steak. It doesn't taste stale considering its free of preservatives. However, this chopped & formed meat appears to have plenty more in it other than meat, like pieces of gristle, fat, and whatnot. That seems to contribute to its "meat flavor", which doesn't have the same lean flavor of whole buffalo meat.

The second most dominant flavor is perhaps the burn from the spiciness. I'd rate this as medium by my standards, and my tongue is perhaps slightly more tolerable than the average guy. After that, the sweet & salty combination is the third most noticeable flavor.

The saltiness is actually light.

Overall, this jerky doesn't taste bad, but just doesn't offer much taste to enjoy. It really isn't as "Red Hot" as this jerky is advertises to be, though level of hotness is totally subjective to the person eating it.

Meat Consistency

This a chopped & formed jerky, cut into circles of about 1-2 inches in diameter. It comes with an average thickness.

It's soft and tender, containing a fair amount of moisture for jerky. It tears apart easily, and chews very easily. It offers the same chewing experience as a slice of pepperoni, sliced to the same thickness. In fact, one has to wonder how well these do baked onto a pizza.

I can see bits and chunks of gristle on most of these circles. Holding each one up to a light, I can see a lot of gristle. But it's chopped & formed nature allows it to eat without much incident. And just like with most chopped & formed jerky, this tends to have a greasiness to it, which I can feel a very thin film in my mouth, and leaves very faint traces on my fingers.

Golden Valley Natural - BuffalOs - Red Hot

Golden Valley Natural - BuffalOs - Red Hot
Product Value

These BuffalOs - Red Hot is sold on at a price of $17.99 for two 3.5oz bags. That works out to a price of $2.50 per ounce, making this an expensive buy, though shipping is included in that price. Keep in mind that price also includes the shipping.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it has a weak value, mostly due to its higher price. It doesn't really provide a lot of taste, and in fact the meat flavor is rather strange perhaps due to its chopped & formed nature. It still eats pretty easily, and still provides just enough flavor that it kept me reaching for more.

As a Red Hot variety, and as a buffalo variety, it's weak value again. It really isn't as hot as the "Red Hot" label might cause someone to believe, though that opinion could vary from person to person. But at the high $2.50 per ounce price, you can find hotter jerky at lower prices.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This package of Golden Valley Natural BuffalOs Red Hot gets an average rating on the strength of its snackability. It was largely its easy-to-eat meat consistency that kept me reaching for more, combined with a taste that was neither good nor bad. Had it offered a foul taste, it might have lost its snackability and sent it down as "dog treats". But, it's still rather palatable.

I'm not sure the sugar belongs in this however. I keep thinking that it tastes out of place. I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

And doesn't the name "BuffalOs" remind you of some kind of meat cereal?

A good beer with might be a smooth creamy stout, in case you find jerky's spiciness a bit too much.

Rating: Average

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