Snack Review: Jack Link’s Flamin’ Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

The United States Government has declared a war on sodium.

NO SALT FOR YOU!

This is both good and bad news for me.

On one hand, I’m all for people not dying because of heart failure. On the other hand, it seriously puts my new-found love affair with Jack Link’s Flamin’ Buffalo Chicken Nuggets in jeopardy.

Being a beef jerky fanatic, I know good beef jerky. Technically this isn’t beef, and the small nugget shapes don’t exactly scream jerky. Still, if you’re looking for a noncaloric bomb to get your Buffalo wing snack fix on, these things are for you. Plus, they look like they came from McDonalds, while at the same time sparing me the sometimes frustrating endeavour of waiting in a long as heck line and dealing with some pimply faced kid at the counter for something as simple as four piece McNugget order.

No, they don’t taste exactly like Buffalo wings, and no, they aren’t anything close to “au natural”. Jack Link’s Buffalo Chicken Nuggets are more than remarkably tender for a packaged meat product, and retain a very good level of moisture. The seasoning mixture strikes a reasonable balance between taste and heat, and while they lack any kind of spiciness approaching “atomic” status, they do give off a strong flavor of cayenne pepper, as well as a sort of vinegar-based barbecue sweetness that you’d probably find on a Buffalo-style chicken pizza. The salty and moderately spicy cayenne flavor is the predominant flavor, although I do get a strong presence of an artificial butter flavor with each bite (and yes, I like that). Personally, I really dig this flavor, and for a spice wimp like me, the notes of sweetness and richness help to smooth the cayenne pepper element as well as the high level of saltiness. I’m not exactly sure if these live up to their “Flamin'” moniker, but there is mesquite smoke element to them. With a solid flavor and cheap price (I got my first two packs for $1.50 each at Walmart) these would be pretty good even if they were somewhat chewy and dry, but the relative lack of gristle and easy chewing lent by their superior texture vaults them to the top of my favorite jerky-product status list.

OK Uncle Sam, make-me-feel-bad-time. According to dietary guidelines, which I don’t believe in, these little munchers give me over 75% of my daily allotment of sodium. Since I’m not at risk for a heart attack and eat sensibly most of the time I really don’t mind that fact, except for the issue that at my size, downing a whole bag of these leads me to blow up faster than a nitwit chewing on blueberry pie. Again, I’m cool with that, except for the fact that I ate my first bag of these on a plane, and I probably don’t need to tell you that that led to a very uncomfortable situation. Don’t worry — I am fine — and have since returned to buy massive quantities of these nuggets in an effort to preempt the mass hysteria that is likely to ensue from this review. And they say I don’t think ahead…

Pros: All white meat. Great combination of heat and spice, with moderatly spiced Buffalo wing style flavor without the mess of eating actual chicken wings. Good balance with an element of an almost tangy sweetness, and even a welcomed hint of actual butter. Amazingly moist and tender. Only 200 calories a bag. Shades of civil disobedience in my ongoing rebellion against the war on sodium.

Cons: Probably too salty for most people with exceptionally bland tastes. Eventually, the heaping amount of sodium in the thousand or so bags I recently purchased will kill me ( That's ok, considering now just driving without sun screen will eventually kill me as well).

Price: 1.50 per 3.25 ounce package (on sale at Walmart)

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

More Info: Jacklinks.com
Nutrition Facts:
Jack Link's Premium Cuts Flamin' Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
Serving Size: (1 oz)
Calories: 60
Total Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 30mg
Sodium: 610mg
Total Carbohydrates: 3g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 9g

24 comments on “Snack Review: Jack Link’s Flamin’ Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

  1. Heather says:

    Good post Adam, but I have to admit that these look like treats that I would feed to my dog. 🙂

  2. Travis says:

    I had not heard of these but they sound pretty awesome and now I really want to try some.

  3. jay says:

    These are delicious and so are the beef nuggets. Also, the war against sodium is stupid. People don’t get heart problems from sodium. Sodium is just not good for you if you have heart problems. You can dilute sodium levels by drinking water. This is why people die from Hyponatremia. The brain doesn’t have enough salt, it swells, you die. If you eat to much salt drink a gallon of water. The government should be against HFCS being in everything not fat and salt. This is why everyone is obese and has heart problems

  4. skippymom says:

    I can’t imagine 1 oz [which they consider a serving] would be satisfying – so I understand eating a whole bag in one sitting. . .but that more than triples the sodium. Ouch.

    It is amazing how much sodium we eat and not realize it – I didn’t know until a few weeks ago that some municipalities’ water supplies have sodium – you can call and ask your water company – sometimes it can be as high as 60 mg per 8 oz glass – I know, I know I sound like I am on a pulpit – I’m not – it just kind of shocked me to find sodium where I didn’t think it was when I actually started to look for it for my diet restrictions.

    What is really funny is I always thought I was cooking/serving low[er] sodium meals because I never added salt to anything b/c of my husband’s high blood pressure. Surprise! I was wrong – there is so much more to it.

    I don’t know how the companies are going to adhere to the new guidelines without going tasteless and bland – but it promises to be healthier if not a bit interesting.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. Adam says:

    jay,
    You’re kidding right? Why do we always have to pick out one thing and say “get rid of this.” I get sick of people picking on companies for the HFCS thing…look, everything in moderation, people. The hippies pushing evaporated cane juice syrup have just as much vested financial interest as some big corporation pushing HFCS. And not everyone does not live by a 2000 calorie diet. Some people have room for a lot more discretionary calories in their diets. It’s why you see perfectly healthy 20 somethings chugging soft drinks with no problem.

    ok, rant over.

    • Francois says:

      I read a good article on the vilification of HFCS awhile back:
      http://www.slate.com/id/2216796

      The basic premise is that while HFCS of course isn’t healthy for you, it really isn’t that much unhealthier than cane sugar.

    • Raiders757 says:

      Personally for me, the biggest problem with HFCS is that it’s just not as good as sugar. for example, soda with real cane sugar in it, blows the HFCS crap away. Other than that, I don’t pay much attention to the issues people with it. It’s almost impossible to avoid the stuff.

      I agree with the moderation theory. Sadly I can’t apply it when I drink beer on the weekends.

      • jay says:

        The problem is that it is hard to moderate HFCS intake. It is in everything. I don’t have much in my diet because I am very strict by what I eat. 2000 calorie diets are the average for an adult male. so no, most people don’t have more discretionary calories. My daily intake is around 3500 because I exercise for two hours a day and am also 215 with low body fat. I am just saying they are going against the wrong stuff. The uptick in obesity is directly correlated to the change to lower-fat, higher-carb diets. We don’t need that many kcal of carbs when most of us sit on our asses in a desk job. Sugar and other simple sugars are not filling. I am not saying sugar cane is any better. I am just saying get rid of the added carbs which is HFCS in most products because corn is heavily subsidized in the US. This also makes healthy products expensive. This is why I am against HFCS.

  6. Austin says:

    Hmm I wonder if there any good dipped in sauces, IE ranch, bluecheese? I happen to have to run to the store today and if I see these I just might grab a bag for 1.50$

  7. Jessica J says:

    Thanks for the sodium warning. I was thinking of buying these for my boyfriend, but now I will avoid them….

  8. Adam says:

    Austin,
    They have a decent sweetness on their own, and the heat isn’t too bad. I’m not a blue cheese kinda guy, and honestly they have enough moisture that I don’t even think you a need a sauce. But if you’ve got a go-to sauce and wanna give it a go, let us know how it turns out!

    • Raiders757 says:

      I’m not a blue cheese person either. Is it just me, or does blue cheese taste like eating a box crayons for everyone else as well? The stuff is just nasty, and it’s a crying shame seeing people dip hot wings in blue cheese dressing, or anything else for that matter. It’s kind of like putting coleslaw on a really tasty pile of smoked pulled pork. Why in the world would anyone want to cover up such a tasty treat with a flavor diversion?

  9. rob says:

    My problem with these products is I will eat 3 ounces in one sitting, because they are really good, and it gets to be expensive.

    So I start to do the math, and figure out that I can buy a nice NY strip steak for less money, on a pound-for-pound basis.

    I have not been able to find a good source of cheap jerky.

    • Raiders757 says:

      Big Lots always carries jerky for half the price. Sadly the selection is inconsistent.

  10. Patrick says:

    Aw man I bought these a while ago, they were reeally good. My mom hated them and is never going to buy them again though…

  11. Royal says:

    You want good beef jerky? Order some from Big John’s Beef Jerky. (bigjohnsbeefjerky.com) They deliver wonderful dried cow direct to your mailbox, and it’s so good you’ll never eat Oberto or Jack Links again. Seriously. The firey hot is the best jerky. It’s like eating sex.

  12. Michelle says:

    Are these actual hunks of chicken breast, or are they just a mixture of white met? They actually sound pretty good.

    • Adam says:

      Not sure. The recipe actually used to call for dark meat (and I spotted several older bags with it still listed as such) but the first ingredient is white meat chicken. I’d guess that it’s a mixture — kinda like what McDonalds does for their nuggets.

  13. nunya says:

    I am generally not a big fan of the jack link’s brand, but I will give these a try since I’ve never had chicken jerky

  14. Dan M. says:

    Nice review but there’s probably zero chance I’ll get these. Just not my thing.

  15. Nick says:

    I tried Jack Link’s Prime Rib bites once and was completely disgusted. The jerky is unimpressive as well.

    If you are a jerky fanatic, Adam, you have to try Wild Joe’s out of Cincinnati. Being a poor college student, I can’t afford to order it that often. But when I can, watch out.

  16. Erika says:

    I actually kinda like these… but my only issue is that there’s so little in one bag. Depending on how much you paid for the bag (assuming you’re like me and eat the whole thing), that’s a sort of expensive snack!!I guess that’s what you should expect with *anything* dried though….

    Favorite is the Buffalo Jerky from Trader Joe’s – SOO good! But also, $$ if you’re going to eat all of it! 😉

  17. sasha sawyer says:

    What wal-mart are you shopping at they are anywhere from $3.95 to $5.00 anywhere near us!!!! Love them even though they have a lot of sodium!