Bakke Bros. Natural Style Jalapeno Beef Jerky

Bakke Bros. Natural Style Jalapeno Beef Jerky is made by Bakke Bros. of Salem, Oregon. They are a family owned business incorporated in 1999. They make an impressive variety of beef and exotic jerkies.

This is a natural or hung style wood smoked beef jerky; made by slicing extra lean USDA approved top round steak into strips and hanging over a smoking wood fire.

Immediately upon opening the bag I noted a very appetizing jalapeno aroma. It has bit of surface moisture from the marinade and lots of pepper seeds on the surface. Thickness varies from piece to piece between thin and medium. It's very easy to bite or tear off a bite-sized piece. It cracks just a bit when bending but doesn't break. It leaves just a little bit of tacky residue on the fingers so you won't want to eat this one anywhere you have no way of wiping off your fingers.

The initial flavor is pleasingly sweet from the brown sugar followed closely by the distinctive jalapeno flavor. There's no mistaking this one for any other kind of pepper. The wood smoke is mild but pleasantly noticeable. The spiciness then begins to become apparent and builds slowly. This is a delicious jerky. It's a bit spicier than Jeff's Famous and Divine Bovine's jalapenos but still very tolerable for those who don't go for the really hot stuff. It's very tender and easy to chew. I found no sinew or unchewable parts and just an occasional tiny amount of fat; not enough to bother any but the ridiculously squeamish.

The bag is non-resealable and they advise refrigeration after opening however I doubt this will be a problem as you'll likely eat the entire bag in one sitting.

My one and only complaint with this jerky is the inclusion of MSG which I think is entirely unnecessary. Their strip style jerkies don't contain it and are just as tasty without it. Hopefully they'll change this in the near future at which point, I think I'll be able to give it 5 stars.

Overall rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Click here to purchase.

Alaska's Best Peppered Wild Salmon

This product is distributed by Trapper's Creek, Inc. Anchorage, Alaska; a company that has been in the smoked salmon business for over 20 years.

According to the distributor, the jerky is all natural, wild salmon from the 'icy fresh' Pacific waters. It is hand filleted, carefully seasoned, and slow smoked over cherry and alder wood. It is also kosher certified.

Let me first start with the disclaimer that I'm not really a fish person. I can generally take or leave most fish dishes and my natural inclination is to leave them. It's not that I dislike fish so much as it is that I would just generally pick other foods over it.

That being said; I found this jerky to be a perfectly pleasant snack. From the first bite, there is no doubt that this is salmon jerky. If you like salmon (particularly smoked salmon), then you'll like this jerky. The black pepper flavor is pretty subtle. Personally I would prefer it to be just a little more pronounced. It has a bit of saltiness and a definite smoky flavor which enhances the overall taste. The texture is excellent; not too soft; not too chewy. It holds together well and doesn't fall apart. It feels just slightly moist to the touch, but upon putting a piece in my mouth I realize the moisture is just on the surface as a result of marinade residue. The jerky is actually fairly dry (which, in my opinion is a very good thing in a fish jerky).

Overall this is a very good jerky. I'm giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars because of the mildness of the pepper flavor. It would be 5 out of 5 if they stepped up the pepper flavor just a bit.

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Cattaneo Bros. Honey Pineapple Turkey Jerky

This is a product of Cattaneo Bros., San Luis Obispo, CA; a company that has been in operation for 63 years as of this writing.

Cattaneo describes this jerky as 100% turkey breast (i.e., all white meat), sliced thin and marinated with Hawaiian pineapple juice and sweet tasting honey, then oven smoked; no preservatives. It is available in 1, 3, and 7 Oz. sizes. The 1 and 3 Oz. packages are non-resealable. We don't currently stock the 7 Oz. size and their web site doesn't state whether it comes in a resealable bag. I presume it does since all of their 7 Oz. beef jerkies are in resealable bags.

Upon opening the bag, I get the aroma of soy and pineapple. The jerky is dark and dry to the touch. It tears and chews easily. The consistency is better than most of the turkey jerkies I have had. In fact, it is closer to the texture of beef than it is to most turkeys (which is a definite plus in my book). The taste is that of quality smoked turkey; slightly salty, with a strong flavor of soy, pineapple, just a hint of honey, and a familiar spice I have yet to pin down. It is not at all what I was expecting, however I have very often found that turned out to be a good thing. I was expecting a very strong flavor of honey, pineapple, and turkey; probably overly sweet. Not only is it not overly sweet, but I would not categorize it as sweet at all. It's a really good combination of flavors with excellent texture.

If you judge this jerky on its attributes rather than its name, then it definitely comes out a winner. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5 is that the name does not adequately describe the jerky.

My overall satisfaction with this jerky is high. I finished the bag wanting more and that's probably the best indicator of all.

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Blair's Original Death Jerky

Blair's Original Death beef jerky is brought to us by the Blair's Death Sauces people (Blair Lazar, Extreme Food, Highland, NJ). It is made from hand carved, top round beef with Blair's Original Death Sauce, and Blair's Death Rain Habanero. Blair rates it as medium in spiciness (but then again, I think Blair eats fire for breakfast!). It comes exclusively in 2 ounce non-resealable packages. It is the milder of the two jerky offerings from Blair's.

On a heat scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being hottest, I would rate it about a 7; although this can vary from piece to piece with some significantly hotter than others. It has plenty of spiciness but that doesn't overwhelm the excellent flavor of the meat as some spicy jerkies are known to do. It's spicy enough to warrant keeping a supply of your favorite beverage handy when you eat it. It's delicious and definitely provides that signature Blair's "Feel Alive" experience!

It is on the drier side but not as dry as the New Mexico Carne Seca style jerkies. The pieces are generally on the smaller side but that just means less work to get bite sized pieces. While it is just a bit chewy it's not overly so. I wouldn't exactly call it soft but it's not at all leathery either. I found no unchewable bits of gristle or sinew and little to no fat. There are no seeds or flakes to fall off and mess up your desk or keyboard. It leaves no visible or tactile residue on the fingers however, because of the spices used it would be wise to wash hands after eating and before touching sensitive places on the body such as eyes.

This is a very high quality, good tasting jerky that provides a very satisfying snacking experience. My overall rating for Blair's Original Death Beef Jerky is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky from Butler's Smokehouse

Dr. Pepper beef jerky is made by Butler's Smokehouse of Stephenville, TX under license from Dr. Pepper. It is marinated in the original Dublin Dr. Pepper syrup (the cane sweetened recipe).

The texture of this jerky is fairly dry and very firm but not brittle. It does have a bit of surface moisture from the marinade but it doesn't leave residue on my fingers. In order to get a bite sized piece I have to either twist it off or rip it with my teeth. If you're looking for soft and tender then this is probably not the jerky for you. If however, you're in the mood for a longer chew that works your jaws a bit and keeps its flavor while you chew then read on.

The flavor is mildly sweet, and somewhat black peppery with a little salt and garlic flavor thrown in for good measure. Had I not known this was marinated in Dr. Pepper, I don't know if the flavor of the jerky would have tipped me off. The Dr. Pepper flavor is very subtle. I only pick it up occasionally and not with every piece. Since I'm not a huge Dr. Pepper fan this doesn't bother me in the least. Were I expecting a "straight from the bottle/can" flavor I may have been a bit disappointed. However, the flavor of the meat and spices make this a very good jerky on its own merits no matter the name. It's by no means a boring, run-of-the-mill jerky. The novelty alone is worth the price of admission!

My overall satisfaction with this jerky is high and I do find myself snacking on it regularly.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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Carnivore Candy Volcanic Jalapeno Beef Jerky

Carnivore Candy Volcanic Jalapeno beef jerky is made by Boyd's Specialities LLC of Colton, CA. This is their newest and possibly best flavor.

The first thing I notice is the new transparent bag; a great improvement over the previous bag design that allowed no visibility of the contents. Still included is the free flosser in each bag which I've always thought was a brilliant idea; something that all jerky makers should do. The bag label states the jerky is made from solid strips of top grade steak. The appearance and texture of the jerky does indeed seem to be that of steak cut across the grain. This is a medium thick, fairly dry, pliable jerky that is tender and easy to chew. It has lots of visible pepper seeds; some of which tend to fall off when biting or tearing off a piece. Tearing off a bite sized piece is very easy and it leaves no residue on the fingers. There also seem to be no unchewable bits or discernible fat.

Upon opening the bag, I notice the aroma of great Mexican cooking. The initial flavor is smoky and sweet along with the natural flavor of the meat. The spiciness then slowly begins to come through and then builds steadily and remains long after swallowing. This is the spiciest of the jalapeno jerkies I've tried so far. Upon reading the ingredients list I understand why. In addition to jalapenos, there are also cayenne, red, and black peppers in the mixture. The pure jalapeno flavor is not as pronounced as with some of the other jalapeno jerkies but still, it is readily identifiable. It's spicy enough that you'll want to have your favorite beverage handy to go with this one. In short, this jerky is tops and I find it very addictive. the bag is also resealable; A nice feature to have although I'll probably never use this feature as it is not likely there will ever be any partial bags of this jerky in close proximity to me.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 Stars