First Look Snack Review: Southern Style BBQ Pork Jerky from Oh Boy! Oberto
Let’s skip the usual shenanigans and get right to the point.
Nothing screams RED BLOODED AMERICAN MALE like beef jerky. I mean c’mon. It’s beef, and it’s jerky. Literally invented by spear-wielding savages on these very shores, the stuff was later perfected by cowboys and other “go west young men” types back in the days of open ranges and wild west shoot-outs. Today, jerky is enjoyed by millions of American males, who seem to embrace their primordial hunter-gatherer role at the very smell of the dehydrated meat strips. It’s what gives us the ability to never take driving directions from our wives/girlfriends, and grants us the knowledge to build that swing set despite having absolutely no idea how to do so. Yessir, this stuff just screams chauvinism…and you know what? We like it that way, dammit.
Seeing as though I fully embrace this lifestyle of high protein snackage, I was thrilled to recently receive a package of jerky from the fellas at Oh Boy Oberto!, who even passed along a sample of their super-secret, not-yet-in-stories BBQ Pork Jerky. While I admit the prospect of tasting free jerky seemed too good to be true, I was not exactly without skepticism for the product. Not only had I never had “pork jerky” before, but I’d be lying to you if I denied being a semi-regular customer of Oberto’s main competitor, Jack Links. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I find Jack Links to be exceptional jerky or anything, it’s just that I think Oh Boy! Oberto has three things going against them in the jerky wars, and all three have been equal to leading me down the path of ‘feeding my wild side.’
They are as followed:
- Limited Product Variety: Jack Links has about a zillion flavors of beef jerky plus turkey jerky plus buffalo jerky plus those “nugget” things, whatever they are.
- ‘Super Mario Syndrome’ (SMS): Jack is a name that screams America. Think Jack Idema hunting Osama bin Laden all on his own. Meanwhile, Oberto just sounds like my crusty Italian great uncle who makes passable Easter Bread and drinks too much wine.
- No Sasquatch
These facts notwithstanding, who the heck was I not to give this stuff a go? With a new marketing campaign promising to make me an “Alpha Male,” I gladly took Oberto up on their offer, if for no other reason than that the issue of my manhood was clearly at stake. As far as the jerky itself is concerned, I would classify the preeminent flavor of the meat as sweet, but not in your run-of-the-mill Teriyaki kind of sweetness many jerkies fall back on. And while I usually frown on sweet (aka ‘sissy’) jerky, I found the BBQ flavor in this Pork jerky exceptional. Brown Sugar, Pineapple Juice, and Molasses are all listed as sweeteners on the ingredients list, and I really tasted the presence of each, which along with a slightly smoky and spicy aftertaste contributed to a genuine barbeque sauce flavor. This wasn’t an overly salty jerky, and although I did not get a whole lot of “natural” pork flavor, I nevertheless found myself gobbling up the 3.25 oz bag with the same vigor as Garfield the Cat at an all you can eat Lasagna dinner.
In terms of meat consistency and texture this stuff flat out ranks at the top. I hope it wasn’t just the sample packet being “dressed up,” but I found the jerky to have a good meaty consistency with only relative (but welcomed) patches of gristle and fat. Yet even these pieces were good, and I actually felt like I got more smoke flavor from the slightly tougher to chew gristle. The larger and leaner pieces were smooth and incredibly moist, giving way to easy chewing and a general sensation of mouth-watering goodness that I usually don’t run across with retail quality jerky. Unlike many other large-brand jerky products I’ve had in the past, this jerky not only tasted fresh and au natural, but it felt that way too. It was, simply put, some of the best jerky I have ever had, and it wasn’t even beef!
Let’s be real here; Oh Boy Oberto has some catching up to do to Jack Links in the marketing department. While I can’t specifically say whether or not this whole “Alpha Male” concept will work against Jack’s “Feed your Wild Side” campaign, I will say that in terms of product development this is a great first step. Not only does the BBQ Pork Jerky taste awesome, but it also has a wonderful texture and moist consistency that would make even a tried and true Texan reconsider the merits of a “beef and only beef” approach to BBQ or jerky.
- Pros: Incredibly moist for jerky. Very fresh consistency that is not overwhelmed with fat or sinew, but contains just enough to make things interesting. Complex, layered sweetness to barbeque flavor. Doesn’t taste too salty. Depth of sweetness. Easy to chew on. Much better than Uncle Oberto’s Easter bread.
- Cons: Could have more spice and more ‘smoky’ flavor. A little too smooth and sweet at times, with natural meat flavor taking a back seat. Would have liked to see more vinegar-based flavor for pork flavored jerky. Likely will lead me to build faulty and hazardous swing-set for Adam Jr in the future.
GrubGrade: 9.25/10 (Exceptional)
Price: $5.99 per 3.25oz bag
Release Date: Mid-May 2009
Nutrtion Facts – Southern Style BBQ Pork Jerky
Serving Size: 1 oz. (About 3 per packet)
Calories from Fat: 15
Total Fat: 1.5g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Total Carbohydrates: 8g
And for the record; even my own mother (who is in no way an Alpha Male by any stretch of the imagination) liked this stuff, so you know it has some versatility.