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The first review on Ball Park will focus on a 3.5 ounce/99 gram bag of their barbecue flavored pork jerky. This flavor is described has having rich smoke and select seasonings to bring a traditional BBQ-pit flavor to their tender pork. The bag was purchased at a ShopRite store in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
This Ball Park brand is distributed by Hillshire Brands Company, and it is located in Chicago, Illinois. In June 2012, Sara Lee Corporation renamed some of its units Hillshire Brands Company. In May 2013, the split was recognized among the six most successful Fortune 500 companies’ spinoffs by Fortune magazine. By June 2014, Tyson Foods acquired Hillshire Brands Company. This Ball Park brand started at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium in 1957 by selling hot dogs. Today, Ball Park brands also includes frozen meats and five different flavors of jerky. This jerky is advertised to be flame grilled for a uniquely tender texture using lean cuts of pork, and gluten-free.
Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Contains 2% or Less: Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Sugar), Tomato Powder, Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Natural Flavor, Dehydrated Onions, Spices, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, White Distilled Vinegar, Natural Smoke Flavor, Extractive of Tomato, Dextrin. Allergen Warnings: Soy
The pork used is not guaranteed to be growth hormone free. Also, the pork is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to roam about outside. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
The sugar level is on the upper limit at 5 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky for a sweet based flavor as we have here. The salt level is decent at 240mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky qualifies to have no sodium nitrite, or any other similar unhealthy preservative. Instead, salt is the main preservative used. This jerky does not qualify to have no MSG added because autolyzed yeast extract is used, which is similar to MSG, and a cheaper alternative to MSG.
Written by guest jerky reviewer Stéphane Leclerc
As I slightly open this Ball Park BBQ Pork Jerky bag, a sinfully appealing BBQ and Smoke aroma fills my lungs. As I take my first bite, I find a moderate sweetness; it is not too sweet for my liking and definitely up there. The tomato flavor is at a mild but solid level. It’s a comforting surprise and it obviously sings the tune of a great flavor profile. This wonderful flavor adds to the barbecue taste and these “tomatoey” notes are a definite favorite of ours.
I also note a sound level of natural pork flavor present, although somewhat toned down by its significant sweetness. The saltiness is at lighter level and the combination of garlic and onion are at a slight level and they blend well together. I did not see grilled marks on the strips per se. However, upon further inspection, I did notice some charring on the outside edge of some of these strips. It really intensifies and kicks up the flavors a few notches. This charring is not commonly seen in the Jerky World, the Ball Park Brand makes it a very clever feature and a fun and interesting jerky with its outstanding texture and aroma.
These strips of jerky are mainly small in size and sliced to a medium thickness. Some slices are thicker and by the same token, giving a similar feeling as the McDonalds “Bonus Fries” found at the bottom of each bag. The texture of this wonderful meat snack is nicely soft and tender and each morsel is easy to chew and bursting with flavor.
As expected from a barbecue flavor, the tomato, the sweetness and pork flavors dominate this flavor, as it should. The grilled and smoky flavors pair really well with the elevated tomato flavor and undertones of garlic and onion. This tender texture makes for a flavorful and a really appealing Pork Jerky treat.
I highly recommend this jerky to all proud Jerky enthusiasts with a bit of a sweet tooth. My partners felt it was a tad too sweet for them and I personally really enjoyed this Ball Park BBQ Pork Jerky. I could eat it all day, every day and twice on Saturday. “I am not supposed to eat meat on Sundays and in this case, I may even make the occasional exception and risk going to Hell for it”.
We easily rate this fantastic jerky a solid 9/10.
This professional looking plastic non-resealable bag has everything imprinted on the bag itself, both on the front and back. The front has a high resolution picture of a jerky strip being baked in flames.
Some Ball Park slogans are “The Flame Grilled Jerky” and “Grilled To Be Tender. Some facts printed on this bag are “Seasoned & Smoke Flavor Added”, “55% Less Sodium Than USDA Data For Beef Jerky”, “Gluten Free”, “Made in USA”, “High In Protein”, “No MSG Added”, and “Made With Lean Cuts Of Pork”.