Friday, March 30, 2012

Blue Ox Jerky Co - Peppercorn Smoked Beef

blue ox jerky co
Blue Ox Jerky Co is based out of Troy, MI, having launched in January of 2011. Legend has it that the company was started by Saul Bunyan, lesser known brother of the famous Paul Bunyan. Saul had accidentally set fire to Paul's bovine companion, Babe the Blue Ox, and opted to douse the fire with teriyaki sauce. And hence, a business was born selling jerky.

Blue Ox Jerky Co has since branched out to buffalo, turkey, elk, and venison jerky, as well as sausages, and broadened its customer base beyond lumberjacks, punching gas station jerky brands in the face.

This Peppercorn Smoked Beef is described by the company as being comparable to their "Straight Up Beef Jerky", but with the tonsil-smacking effects of peppercorns.


Beef, dry honey, brown sugar, salt, cracked black pepper, spices, onion, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness and fair amount of black pepper flavor. Some saltiness comes in soon after.

The chewing flavor starts with a stronger, spicier, black pepper flavor, and then much of the same sweetness and saltiness.

For being marketed as "Peppercorn Smoked Beef", it's definitely strong on the peppercorn part, having a spicy, sharp peppery flavor that takes over much of my palate. I don't, however, pick up the smokiness as suggested in the name.

Otherwise, it's the cracked black pepper that largely defines the flavor of this jerky. It's quite strong, enough so that it actually deadens some of my taste buds, making it more difficult to pick up the other flavors. It's a good tasting pepper flavor, one that resembles freshly cracked pepper corns, and not at all like the ground pepper that comes out of the shaker bottles. It's just intensely strong.

The only other flavors I seem to be able to detect is a moderate sweetness and light saltiness. I'm not able to pick up any natural meat flavors, and none of the smokiness.

Being there's a strong black pepper flavor, this jerky has quite a bit of spiciness. I'd rate this is as "medium hot" on my personal heat scale, (level 4 out of 5).

Overall, what you're going to taste is an overwhelming black pepper flavor, along with a lesser sweetness and saltiness.

Meat Consistency

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

This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. They have a lot of flexibility, being able to bend all the way back on themselves without cracking. Biting off chunks is fairly easy, while chewing is a little more labored, but still within the easy range.

The chewing texture starts out with some initial chewing resistance, and feels a little rubbery at first, but eventually chews down to a soft mass feeling much like a steak cooked medium.

I don't see any streaks of fat and no streaks of gristle. The chewing did not encounter any stringiness or any unchewable tissues. It's quite meaty.

As for clean eating, it's seems pretty clean. I found no residue on my fingers, although some bits of pepper fell off as I bit off pieces.

peppered beef jerky
peppercorn beef jerky
Snack Value

Blue Ox Jerky Co sells this Peppercorn Smoked Beef from its website at a price of $24.25 for a one pound package. Shipping costs to Southern California generally comes to about $8.00 according to the company. That works out to a total of $2.02 per ounce. Shipping is free if you purchase more than $75.00.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.02 price per ounce, it's a fair value. I'm getting a low level of snackability due to that overwhelming black pepper flavor, even though it has a good meat consistency and decent chewing texture. Compared to gas station jerky brands, it's priced about the same, and seems to offer the same snackability.

As a Black Pepper beef jerky, at the same $2.02 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of black pepper flavor, and I mean a lot. And it's a pretty good flavor too, tasting just like freshly cracked black pepper. It may actually be too much black pepper for general audiences, but for those who can't enough black pepper, here's a good one to try.


I'm giving this an average rating.

This Peppercorn Smoked Beef from Blue Ox Jerky Co packs quite a black pepper punch, but doesn't seem to offer any smoky flavor as the name suggests. The flavor seems quite simple, being about 80% black pepper flavor, 10% sweetness, and 10% saltiness. I wasn't able to find any natural meat flavors or other seasonings and marinades.

It's probably a better jerky for its meat consistency, appearing to be all meat, and very little to no fat, gristle, or stringiness. It has somewhat of a rubbery chew initially, but easily chews down to something more steak-like.

Perhaps if the black pepper was less intense, I might be able to taste more of the meat flavor or other seasonings, but then again, that's perhaps what the company's "Straight Up Beef Jerky" is for. This is a great jerky for people who love cracked black pepper, and want lots of it. And I typically like black peppered jerky, but this is rather beyond my limits.

A good beer pairing for this would be something more sweet and smooth, such as an Imperial Stout, like the Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing, or the Speedway Stout from Alesmith.

Rating: Average

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  1. My favorite jerky from Blue Ox Jerky is the maple cherry beef jerky.. Mmmm good!

  2. The jerky looks good though

  3. I LOVE this stuff. You're review is interesting. You seem to like everything about it, but you give it an average rating because there is too much peppercorn. I actually think this is awesome because of the amount of peppercorn. Maybe you could come up with some standardized ratings in addition to the subjective review, otherwise it come off as a bit of personal preference and therefor less usable for people of differing tastes.. Just a thought, over pretty all good review.