Friday, February 13, 2009

Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky

Dr. Pepper Beef JerkyDr. Pepper Beef Jerky is not actually a product of Dr. Pepper at all, it's made by Butler's Smokehouse of Stephenville, TX, under a license from Dr. Pepper. It uses the original Dr. Pepper syrup, made from cane sugar, as a marinade.

While the concept of "Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky" may sound strange, there's actually loyal base of Dr. Pepper fanatics using the original cane syrup-based soda to flavor their favorite foods. Dr. Pepper soda was originally born in Texas, and today the town of Dublin, TX is home to the original cane sugar sweetened recipe. Fans from all over the country still get their "true" Dr. Pepper there.

It's most popular as a meat marinade, including barbecue sauces. It's also popular in peanut brittle, and baked beans.

Butler's Smokehouse is located only 12 miles away from Dublin, TX, making it convenient for them to produce Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky. In fact the package label says, "Marinated in Dublin Dr. Pepper"


Beef, Dr. Pepper, water, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, sodium nitrite.


The flavors I get from the surface of these pieces is a slight sweetness. In the chewing, I get a black pepper flavor, a bit more sweet, some saltiness, and some slight garlic.

Does this taste like Dr. Pepper? In short, just a tad. After having tried several pieces, I can barely taste something similar to Dr. Pepper. It's a slight flavor that I first had to think carefully about in order to find. But after going through several pieces I can identify it more easily now that I know what I'm looking for. If you didn't know this had Dr. Pepper in it, you wouldn't be able to tell at all.

I will note, however, that the consistency of this jerky is much more dry than the original variety of Butler's Smokehouse that I reviewed last week. It's possible that your package of Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky may be more soft and moist, which may change the overall flavor from what I'm reporting in this review.

As for the dominant flavor of this jerky, I'm struggling to find something. I'm going to give it to the black pepper. I found some pieces with enough black pepper that provides a clearly dominant taste. But other pieces gave out only a light flavor.

The saltiness is perhaps the second-most dominant. It's probably light-to-moderate in intensity.

There's a sweetness on the surface of these pieces that's noticeable right away if you suck on a piece first. But it quickly fades away. I can still taste some slight sweetness in the meat itself, but I can't call it a dominant flavor of any degree.

I don't really find much any natural meat flavors in this.

But I do pick up a slight garlic flavor, mostly an aftertaste.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to an average thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a very dry jerky. Any substantial amount of bending will cause a piece to crack and break. That actually makes it easy to break off a bite-sized piece by bending and wiggling a piece a few times. The chewing is kinda tough, tiring out my jaws about half-way through the package.

The chewing texture, once it hydrates in my mouth, has a very steak-like feel. It's like a well-done cooked steak, perhaps very well done. I don't find any rubbery-like texture, no mushiness, or crumbly texture.

This jerky is also pretty dry to the fingertips, leaving them with no residue. But the dry, brittle quality causes tiny meat fragments to fall off on to my lap and desk as I break apart pieces.

The pieces are also pretty lean, with only piece with any sizeable amount of fat. Otherwise, I didn't find anything chewy in terms of tendon, gristle, or connective tissues.

Snack Value

Butler's Smokehouse sells this Dr. Pepper variety at a price of $8.00 for a 4 ounce package. I bought four packages, one each of Butler's four varieties, for a total of $32.00. They tacked on a shipping fee of $8.56, for grand total of $40.56. All in all, it works out to a per ounce price of $2.54, putting this into the expensive price range

For general jerky snacking purposes, at $2.54 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I'm not really getting much snackability from this. All I'm getting is a few pieces with some extra black pepper and salt. Most of this has a weak flavor intensity, and when combined with its dry and tough texture, just doesn't create much snacking satisfaction.

As a Dr. Pepper marinated variety, at this same price per ounce, it's also a weak value. I can taste some Dr. Pepper flavor in there, but that flavor is weak. I want it to be clearly evident when I eat this, but instead I keep having to think hard about finding that flavor. Maybe I have to be a Dr. Pepper aficionado to appreciate it. At this price range, I'm not experiencing much Dr. Pepper.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

Actually, I'm kinda on the line between fair and average, but it was the snackability factor (or lack of) that swayed me over to fair. This jerky just didn't inspire me to eat more. It got to the point where about 2 ounces into this package, I didn't want anymore.

I'll say this with the caveat that I don't drink much Dr. Pepper, so I don't think I can truly appreciate this jerky for what it is. For all I know this may actually have more Dr. Pepper flavor than I am able to detect. On the other hand, the fact that I don't drink much Dr. Pepper may also make me better qualified to judge this, for the fact that my tongue is not biased in favor of that flavor.

But if you evaluate this jerky without its Dr. Pepper flavoring, all you have left is a light-to-moderate saltiness, and a light-to-moderate black pepper flavor. There seems to be a very light smokiness to it as well. However, very little-to-no natural meat flavors. Compound that with it's dry tough chewing, it just becomes bland, and tiring to snack on.

It's not a bad taste at all, just not tasty enough to overcome its tough chewing.

I think a dark beer with roasted malt, like a porter, would compliment the Dr. Pepper marinade well.

Rating: Fair

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