Diet Log - August 14, 2008 | Beef Jerky Diet Blog

Diet Log - August 14, 2008

Weighed in this morning at 189 pounds, down another pound.

Again, no exercise yesterday, just ate jerky. I had some of Gary West Meats' Traditional Jerky, and a bag of Jedidiah's Hot & Spicy Teriyaki.

I guess I still have more to learn about the beef jerky industry, primarily when companies outsource the manufacturing to a meat processor. I always had the belief that these meat processors used YOUR recipe, and used whatever beef YOU brought them.

I suppose that's still true, but for whatever reason, they produce beef jerky that is strangely familiar to other brands.

For example, Country Archer is a meat processor that makes beef brisket jerky for Jedidiah's, Divine Bovine, and Alien Fresh. All three brands of jerky tastes exactly the same, and looks exactly the same. They even have EXACTLY the same nutrition facts labels. The ingredients lists between the three have some slight differences, but are still largely the same.

So, it would make sense to conclude that Country Archer is using the same beef, and the same recipe for all three brands. Yet, when I spoke to the folks at Jedidiah's and Divine Bovine, they assured me that they use their own proprietary recipes. Divine Bovine went on to say that they buy their own beef brisket, and have it sent to Country Archer.

I found the same to be true with Medina Foods, another meat processor. They make the Buffalo Bills' Country Cut jerky, as well as Jedidiah's Premium Jerky. If you look at the two jerkies, they look exactly alike, and taste exactly alike. Both the ingredients list and the nurtrition facts are exactly the same. Yet, I'm told by Jedidiah's that they give Medina Foods their own unique recipe.

I'm not calling anybody a liar, I'm just saying that the meat processor adds a profound effect to a jerky's particular flavor and consistency, despite whatever recipe and beef they are given. That effect is so huge, that if a jerky brand switched meat processors, their jerky would no longer taste the same.

There's a little voice inside of me saying that many brands don't really have their own recipes. Instead, they're just private labeling a processor's existing recipe. That was basically what I tried to get Divine Bovine and Jedidiah's to tell me, but they wouldn't say that.

It's important for me to understand that as being true or false, because I'm trying to write reviews of beef jerky in the most detailed, and honest way that I can. Maybe I'm just stepping on some toes.

At least, Mirab USA, the largest private labeler of them all, admitted to me that all of the brands they make jerky for use their existing house recipes.

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