Saturday, July 6, 2013

Billy Franks Beef Jerky - Texan BBQ

billy franks beef jerky
Billy Franks beef jerky is a small-batch maker of eclectic beef jerky, based in London, England. The creation of computer programmer, Will Francis Yates, it's all hand made from rare breeds of indigenous cattle such as Red Devons, Angus, Dexters, Herefords, and Galloways from Cornwall and Scotland.

Yates gets his taste and love for smoked meats after having lived in Texas for a number of years. Billy Franks beef jerky collaborates with London's street-food sensation, "The Rib Man" to create a special line of "Holy Fuck" beef jerky, some of the hottest jerky around, which I'll be reviewing later.

Go ahead and check out his website, and find some unique jerky flavors like "Cheeseburger", "Roast Beef & Mustard", and "Holy Mother of God".


British beef, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, liquid smoke, paprika, cumin, chili flakes, black pepper.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a pronounced cumin flavor, with a light bit of the chile pepper.  There's a touch of sweet and a noticeable ketchup.  A bit of mustard is also noticeable.

The chewing brings in more of the cumin and a bit of the vinegar, along with a light natural meat flavor.

For being marketed as, "Texan BBQ", and as "smoky spice recipe", it seems to hold up.  It does have a smoky character, but not so much from the liquid smoke, but from the cumin.  As for the "spice", it's still somewhat mild, there's only a touch of spiciness from the chile pepper.  But overall, this has a very BBQ-like flavor.

Otherwise, the flavor that seems to define this jerky starts with the heavy cumin.  Then there's the lightly sweet and tomatoey influence from the ketchup, and the light touch of chile pepper flavor and heat.  The tanginess from the vinegar and lemon juice is noticeable, and finally there's the light natural meat flavor.

Despite the chili flakes ingredients, this is not hot at all.  On my personal heat scale, I'd still call this "mild" (level 1 out of 5), though I can see others finding this to be a little spicy.

The ingredients all combine to create something that clearly tastes like BBQ.  Though when you think of "Texan BBQ", you tend to think of rich, bold, and spicy flavors, and this jerky doesn't really have that.  It's quite tame, not really that spicy, yet still has that tomatoey, smoky character that a Texas-style BBQ would have.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced into small, thin strips of one to four inches in length.

This is a dry jerky with a dry surface feel. Biting off a piece can require a little bit of effort, while chewing varies between moderate to tough.

The chewing texture starts out feeling tough and dry. There's a good deal of initial chewing resistance, but once it does chew down, it breaks down quickly. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it feel very much like a piece of steak, one cooked well-done, and rather dry.

I don't find any bits of fat on these strips, nor any tendon or gristle. I didn't find any stringiness and no unchewable tissues. It's very meaty.

In terms of clean eating, it's very clean, leaving no residue on my fingers and no bits of meat or seasoning falling on my lap or desktop.

texas barbecue beef jerky

bbq beef jerky

Snack Value

Billy Franks sells this Texan BBQ beef jerky from its website at a price of £2.99 for a 40g bag. By today's currency exchange rates, that works out to $4.66 for approximately a 1.5oz bag. I don't know what the shipping costs are, particularly to the United States, that works out to $3.11 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.11 per ounce price, it's a weak value. It's expensive jerky, and that's without the shipping price considered.  It's flavor is good and quite satisfying, but still seems on par with other gourmet brands.  The meat, however, is rather tough and dry compared to other brands.

As a barbecue flavored beef jerky, at the same $3.11 per ounce price, it's a fair value again. It does have a clear BBQ flavor, though not as bold and spicy that I would expect from a Texas-style BBQ.  And again, compared other gourmet brands of BBQ beef jerky, it's still priced more, though doesn't seem to give me that much more in snackability.


I'm giving this a good rating.

This Texan BBQ beef jerky from Billy Franks has a very recognizeable barbecue flavor with a smoky character thanks to the heavier cumin ingredient.  There's a nice tanginess from the vinegar and lemon juice, and a lightly sweet, tomatoey character from the ketchup.  There's just a touch of spiciness from the chile pepper without being hot by any means.

It's quite enjoyable and snackable and I find myself wanting to eat more and more.  When compared to other gourmet brands of BBQ beef jerky, it doesn't seem to separate itself above and beyond, not enough to warrant a five-star rating, but is still quite good on its own merits.

The meat consistency is quite dry, however, and the chewing can be tough, however it still isn't that bad overall compared to other dry brands I've had. But these are very meaty strips, with no fat, stringiness or anything unchewable, and feels like chewing real steak once you get it softened up.

Rating: Good

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