Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gunslinger Jerky - Smoke

gunslinger beef jerkyNext in the series on Gunslinger Jerky is this Smoke variety. See my previous review of their Cowboy Coffee jerky.

Gunslinger Jerky has been selling in the Chicago, IL area for about a few years now.  It's the creation of Dustin Miller and his wife Ashley. The brand, which bills itself as "Chicago's original rock 'n roll jerky company", is sold in several bars where the city's music scene thrives late into the night.

This Smoke variety is billed as "Beer infused, hickory and toasted spices".


Beef, soy sauce, beer, liquid smoke, molasses, coffee, ancho powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, hickory powder, black pepper, apple cider, vinegar, salt, molasses, spices.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, soon followed by a light saltiness and chile flavor.

The chewing brings in a little increased smokiness, some natural meat flavors, and a light black pepper. The soy sauce becomes more noticeable after a few chews, and interestingly almost resembles worcestershire due to the other flavorings.

For being labeled, "Smoke", and described as being "beer infused", this jerky seems to hold up. I do get a noticeable smoky flavor that hits right away, and increases slightly in the chewing. The beer part is hard to identify, but then again beer marinades never come out tasting like real beer, they instead impart a light bitterness and malt, which I do taste in this.

Both the smoke and beer ingredients, however, are not overpowering. In fact after eating several pieces, my taste buds seem to become more numb to the smokiness, but continues to pick up the beer influence.

Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this jerky starts out with the smokiness, but gives way to a saucy flavor, namely the soy sauce, but tends to mimic the flavor of worcestershire sauce due to the other flavorings. The natural meat flavor and black pepper make a light appearance.

Despite the addition of ancho chile powder and smoked paprika, this has very little spicy heat. It's quite mild.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, cut into strips and slabs of small to medium sizes, and sliced medium thickness.

This is a dry jerky having a dry surface feel. These pieces have a good deal of flexibility. Chewing ranges from easy to moderate.

The chewing texture starts out feeling tender but still offering bit of resistance. After a few chews it starts to soften up and takes on a meaty feel. By the time it's chewed down to a soft mass, it feels very like real pieces of steak.

I see some small spots of fat on several pieces, but no gristle or tendon. The stringiness is very minimal.

As for clean eating, it's very clean. I found no residue on my fingertips, but I do see a light amount of seasoning on my desk.

Snack Value

Gunslinger Jerky sells this Smoke beef jerky from its website at a price of $7.99 for a 2.75oz package. If you bought two packages, shipping comes to $4.95. That works out to a price of $3.81 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes at the $3.81 per ounce price, it's a weak value. I do get a good overall flavor, great meat consistency and chewing, but that's a high price for gourmet jerky compared to other brands that I've rated similar or better.

For being marketed as a smoked jerky infused with beer, it's a little better value, at fair. I do get a noticeable smokiness in this, and I can identify the beer influence with its light bitterness and malt. It's the higher price, however, that makes it difficult to consider it a better value.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Smoke beef jerky from Gunslinger does what it's namesake says, provides a good deal of smoky, hickory flavor against a palette of seasonings and marinades with light natural meat flavor. The infusion of beer is noticeable if you're experienced with beer marinades.

Align that up with the great meat consistency and chewing texture, the overall tender chewing, and it works out as a better than average jerky.

Compared to the company's Cowboy Coffee jerky I reviewed last week, I think I like this variety better for its richer, more complex flavor. This has more of the smoky, old west flavor that supports the Gunslinger namesake. The black pepper and touches of chile pepper flavor boosts that character.

Rating: Good

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