I love Slim Jims. I love beef jerky. I also love Tabasco sauce. These things said, reviewing Slim Jim’s Premium Beef Jerky Tabasco Spiced was a no-brainer for me.
I’m rather finicky about my beef jerky. Growing up, my dad used to get beef jerky from the Meat Shop around the corner. Not a butcher shop, not “Big John’s Meat Shop,” just Meat Shop. Located in a dingy strip mall, sandwiched between a liquor store and a laundromat, you know Meat Shop was quality.
The beef jerky from Meat Shop was perfectly seasoned and perfectly peppered. You could chew it as long as a piece of Fruit Stripe, but it wasn’t tough or gristly. It was magical beef jerky. Then one day, Meat Shop went out of business. Even as a child, I had an old woman’s resistance to change. I remember getting unreasonably upset when the Lucky’s grocery store down the street changed into an Albertson’s. I was ten years old at the time; I didn’t even go grocery shopping. But the sign change alone was enough to send me into tantrums and tears. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but you get the point.
Ever since Meat Shop closed, I’ve been chasing the jerky dragon. Jack Link’s didn’t satisfy. Pemmican’s made me want to give their racist Injun mascot a comfy blanket infected with smallpox. Oberto’s had me saying “Oh Noes” instead of “Oh Boy!” I could go on, but I’ve already stretched the joke too thin.
It seems like anyone over the age of 17 finds it gauche to say they like Slim Jims. There’s a good reason for that â€“ they are greasy, salty, and you can tell it’s the epitome of unhealthy food from a hundred feet away. Don’t tell that to Macho Man Randy Savage though; he’ll yell at you to snap into one until you go deaf. Mr. Savage aside, let’s be real, here: if you’re eating something that contains mechanically-separated chicken and sodium nitrite, you are either young and foolish or old and self-destructive. Guess which category I fall under.
Beef jerky is actually a little more healthy, and it’s more acceptable to eat in public, especially if you are on a road trip rolling in a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1. If there’s not at least one pouch of beef jerky and one bag of sunflower seeds bought at a truck stop convenience store during your road trip, you’re doing it wrong. Slim Jim’s beef jerky doesn’t taste like a Slim Jim, but that’s fine, as I’m sure that wasn’t their intention. Slim Jim is just the name that gets the jerky out there.
As for the Tabasco, it’s definitely prominent; even just opening up the pouch, you are hit with that familiar smell of capsaicin and vinegar. The hot sauce does indeed spice up the beef jerky, as promised in the name of the product. The spice builds up as you eat each piece, culminating in a burn coating the inside of your mouth that would be unacceptable to sissies but just hot enough to satisfy someone who douses their eggs in Tabasco. You can also strongly taste the vinegar, which I enjoyed, but I think others may not like their beef jerky having a vinegar flavor to it.
As for the texture, it’s hit-and-miss. The smaller, thinner pieces are soft and juicy, causing a pleasant burst of saliva as you chew. The larger pieces are too tough and dry, resulting in Beef Jerky Sore Jaw Syndrome. I hate BJSJS. Unfortunately, my bag was mostly full of big pieces that broke off into jerky splinters rather than breaking down into a flavorful jerky chew.
While Slim Jim Premium Beef Jerky Tabasco Spiced delivered on the Tabasco flavor, that may be a double-edged sword, as the hot sauce’s signature burst of vinegar flavor may be a turn-off for some jerky lovers. I would actually like to see a jerky spiced with chipotle Tabasco; the chipotle version tones down the vinegar and delivers a great smoky flavor that I think would work much better with beef jerky. The small pieces were spot-on in flavor and texture, but the big pieces were dry and difficult to chew, and it’s disappointing that my bag was almost all big pieces.
If Slim Jim could refine their jerky-making process to avoid BJSJS, I’d be much more of a fan of Slim Jim Premium Beef Jerky Tabasco Spiced. As it stands, I enjoyed the flavor, but the good pieces were too few and far between. Maybe the next time I see this product, I’ll take the time to be a total jerk (hurrr) in the store and spend ten minutes trying to find a bag with more of the small pieces.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 1 package/51 grams) — 150 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, 21 grams of protein and 20% iron.)
Item: Slim Jim Premium Beef Jerky Tabasco Spiced
Size: 1.8 oz.
Purchased at: Circle K
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Strong, authentic Tabasco flavor. Road trips in cool cars. Small pieces were juicy and delicious. “Meat Shop.” Nice spicy burn. Macho Man Randy Savage.
Cons: Mostly big pieces, which were tough and dry. BJSJS. Vinegar taste may be off-putting to some. Change of any kind. Serious lack of the small, tasty pieces.