Saturday, June 6, 2009

Joe's Beef Jerky - Regular

Joe's Beef Jerky Joe's Beef Jerky is a brand of, interestingly enough, Joe's Beef Jerky, Inc., based out of Statesville, NC.

It's a small, family run business in operation for several years (I found a reference online saying it received its USDA certification in 1996). Joe's makes jerky in their own USDA inspected facility, and is a member of the "Goodness Grows in NC", where all of the ingredients must be grown in North Carolina.

Despite their amateurish-looking website, plain labels, and Ziploc sandwich bags (which are machine sealed), Joe's Beef Jerky appears to have the credentials of a large corporate food processor, but just much smaller in scale.


Beef, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light saltiness, a faint bit of smokiness, and a meaty aroma. Overall, the surface flavor intensity is light.

In the chewing, the first flavor I notice is a natural meat flavor, followed by more saltiness, and a light "saucy" flavor. Overall, this jerky has a light flavor.

That "saucy" flavor is certainly a combination of the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce, along with the seasonings. But it doesn't really have a well defined soy sauce or worcestershire flavor. If anything, the worcestershire has the most definition, but it still doesn't really come off as tasting like worcestershire. I taste the anchovies in the worcestershire the most.

The natural meat flavors in this are light. It's light enough that it could go unnoticed, but when thinking about the flavors, I can easily identify it. In some pieces, the meat is well cooked, and it has that dry, over-cooked taste.

The seasonings, including the lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper, are not easily identified however. If anything, I think I can taste the onion powder. The "saucy" flavor, I think is a better description, since all those seasonings, with the soy sauce and worcestershire, seem to blend into one unique flavor.

Overall, the primary flavor you'll taste in this is that light natural meat flavor, followed by that light, "saucy" flavor.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced medium, and in medium to large pieces.

This is a dry jerky, very dry. It has a stiff, somewhat brittle character. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers is very easy, by just breaking a chunk off. But chewing is generally tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling hard and woody. But due to the brittle nature, they crumble down into bits and shreds with some light biting. It takes quite a bit of chewing to get it down to a soft mass. But yet at that point, it doesn't quite have a steak-like feel. It's quite crumbly instead, and quite dry.

These appear to be very lean, I found no visible streaks or chunks of fat, no gristle or tendon. But I did find some stringy sinews, but sparingly.

It's also fairly clean eating, with my fingers picking up no residue, and very little meat fragments flying off as I tore pieces apart.

Snack Value

Joe's Beef Jerky sells this Regular variety at a price of $13.00 for an 8oz package. I bought two packages, each a different variety. Add to that shipping costs of $7.00, and it brought the total to $33.00. That works out to a price of $2.06 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.06 price per ounce, it seems to provide a weak value. I'm not getting much snackability out of this, mainly for its light overall flavor, and tough chewing, and crumbly chewing texture. That $2.06 price per ounce is higher than most mass-market jerky brands, yet I think you can get better flavor and chewing from those brands.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

This Regular variety from Joe's Beef Jerky just didn't provide much snackability for me, largely because it has little flavor, and is tough to chew. After a couple of pieces, my jaws were getting tired; it's like I was expending a lot of energy and got little flavor in return.

Of what flavor it does offer, it's a pleasing flavor and it tasted fresh. There's even a light meat flavor to it. But it's just a light flavor, and again it's a lot of tough chewing to enjoy that flavor.

I could suck on a piece for an extended time to help soften up the meat, but there's so little surface flavor that I'm encouraged to chew right away. And then the chewing feels dry and crumbly.

My recommended beer pairing for this, something like sweet & fruity, like a cherry lambic, or apricot ale.

Rating: Fair

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