Friday, February 27, 2009

Jawbone Beef Jerky - Original

Jawbone Beef Jerky - OriginalJawbone Beef Jerky is a product of Jawbone Canyon Store, a small general store located in the middle of California's Mojave Desert, along Hwy 14, just south of the junction with Redrock Randsburg Rd. Having been around since the 1950s, it serves the campers of Redrock State Park, and offroaders all around the area.

Owner Scott Spencer had been selling a variety of brands of jerky to customers when he decided to develop his own recipe and help market the brand of his store. He got in touch with KMB Foods of Arcadia, CA, the makers of Cactus Jacks Beef Jerky, to produce it. Spencer put a lot of emphasis in that KMB Foods uses fresh never frozen US beef.

In addition to this original variety, Jawbone Beef Jerky also includes teriyaki, hot, and peppered varieties, all of which I'll be reviewing later.


Beef, sugar, water, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, sodium nitrite.


Upon putting a piece into my mouth, the flavors I taste first starts with a medium level sweet, with a light saltiness moving in slowly. There's also a light garlic taste that takes some time to develop, and is more evident as I eat more pieces. In the chewing, while sucking out the juices, I can taste a natural meat flavor, and a little more saltiness. The garlic also becomes stronger in the chewing.

The flavor that seems to dominate the chewing is the natural meat flavor. It's a light-to-medium in intensity. If you've had Buffalo Bill's Dead Meat, or Oh Boy! Oberto Thick Cuts, you'll know this cut of meat as they use the same cut from KMB Foods. I'm getting the same old meat flavor in this jerky that I got in those two brands, as if it's slightly turned. Overall, it's quite tolerable, and throughout most of your snacking you probably won't notice it.

The saltiness probably takes the second-strongest chewing flavor, having a medium-level intentsity. The garlic powder has enough intensity to warrant being the third dominant flavor.

I can also pick up a weak black pepper aftertaste.

The sweetness is only something I notice on the surface of these pieces. It'll mix into the chewing flavors if you chew a piece right away.

Despite the liquid smoke and the soy sauce mentioned in the ingredients, I don't really pick up much of those flavors. They perhaps only color the ambience.

Meat Consistency

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

This is perhaps a dry jerky, but it has a layer of sticky moisture on the surface that creates a sense of this jerky being moist and tender. They have little flexibility if bent with the grain, cracking almost right away. If bent against the grain, they have a moderate amount of flexibility. It's rather easy to tear apart with my fingers, but it's presents a bit of tough chewing.

The chewing texture starts out being rather chewy, and could even make some jaws tired over several pieces, but it seems to chew down into something kinda meaty, kinda fibrous, yet with a noticeable mushiness. In terms of being anything steak-like, there is definitely a quality similar to that, maybe cooked medium, but not exactly like a steak.

In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up small amounts of sticky moisture, just enough that I do find myself either licking them off, or just rubbing them on my jeans. I found a couple of small meat fragments falling off as I tore these pieces.

I do find quite a bit of fat on several pieces. I didn't really find them with any kind of spoiled taste however. I even found one piece with sizeable streak of gristle.

Snack Value

Jawbone Canyon Store sells this original variety for a price of $7.00 per 3.65oz bag. That works out to a price of $1.92 per ounce, putting this in the average price range, but at the upper end.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $1.92 price per ounce, it presents a decent value. I'm getting a moderate amount of snackability. I'm getting a medium-level flavor intensity, and just enough flavor from the surface that I can suck on a piece before chewing. The chewing texture is ok, though it can make your jaws tired. I think you're getting a better jerky than the original varieties of most mass-market brands, though I don't think I'm getting enough snacking value to justify the higher-end price of $1.92 per ounce. Your mileage may vary.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This original variety of Jawbone Beef Jerky presents a moderate-level of flavor intensity, with a low-to-moderate amount of natural meat flavor, along with a moderate amount of saltiness, a noticeable amount of garlic, and that initial sweetness on the surface.

I found the overall flavor enjoyable, even with the meat flavors as they are. Despite all the individual taste components this jerky has, I actually find it with some degree of blandness. The natural meat flavors was not all that savory to me. If anything made this jerky interesting it was the significant garlic flavor, but aside from that I couldn't find anything that put this jerky's flavor above average.

The meat consistency, as I noted above, has significant amounts of fat, and I even found a piece with gristle. It's also chewy, giving my jaws a moderate workout. The chewing texture seems on par with most mass-market jerky brands.

Still, I was able to get a decent amount of snackability which I think will satisfy most of the customers of Jawbone Canyon Store especially after a long afternoon of off-roading and hiking, and will certainly provide them with something unique against the Jack Link's and Obertos of the world.

My recommended beer pairing for this jerky, a red ale.

Rating: Average

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