Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauces were first introduced in 1985. Their philosophy and slogan is “The Sauce is the Boss”. Bridgford Foods Corp. started business in 1932 specializing in multiple food products, not just meat snacks, and currently have about 500 employees. They have a deep distribution network, and are likely in the top five for jerky sales in North America. The Sweet Baby Ray’s jerky brand name is manufactured and distributed by Bridgford Foods Corp., and they are located in Chicago, Illinois, at least in 2013. Today, their headquarters has moved to Anaheim, California.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Seasoning Blend (Salt, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Mustard, Monosodium Glutamate, Dehydrated Garlic, Red Pepper, Sodium Erythorbate, Onion Powder, Spice Extractive), Brown Sugar, Sweet Baby Ray’s Jerky Base (Vinegar Powder [Dextrin, Modified Food Starch, Vinegar Solids], Tomato Powder, Pineapple Juice Powder [Maltodextrin, Pineapple Juice], Worcestershire Sauce Powder [Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor and Sulfiting Agents], Maltodextrin], Natural Smoke Flavor, Spices, and not more than 2% Silicon Dioxide added to prevent caking),
Sodium Nitrite. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
This beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
The liquid marinade consists of just plain old water. Every other liquid listed is in powdered form.
The sugar level is a little high at 6 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky to lose a rating. Our preference is 5 grams of sugar or less per 28 grams of jerky for a sweet based flavor as we have here. The salt level is high at 470mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky to lose a rating. Our preference is 350mg of salt or under per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky does not qualify to be sodium nitrite free, as sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite are used as preservatives to lose a rating. Unhealthy monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used outright to lose another rating.
Written by guest jerky reviewer Paul Rekker
When I open the bag, I smell sweet and vinegar. The pieces are medium in size, and they are sliced thin to medium. The pieces are not hard, but they are not soft either, somewhere in between. There is no oily residue left on your fingers handling these strips.
The first flavors I encounter are salt, pepper, garlic, sweet (but thankfully not too sweet), natural beef, and not quite the “buttered popcorn” flavor, but one not too dissimilar. I also detect a healthy natural beef flavor.
I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this flavor, it’s not too sweet, not too spicy. In fact, I could say it maybe should have been a little spicier, but I will not split hairs here.
I bite into a second piece, and the same thing. Very tasty. I had a piece of fat in the first piece, and that’s where I enjoyed the more intense marinade. A little more zing in the second piece, a good sign.
This jerky is massaging my palate, and invoking a very favorable 10/10 taste rating. Lack of enough of a spicy zing might bring it down to a 9/10, but 10/10 is kind of how this taste review is writing itself.
I have been informed that this jerky was shared between 12 people, with ratings ranging from 7.5 – 10. As a result, I am very comfortable awarding a Very Good (9/10) taste rating.
This resealable plastic bag has everything imprinted directly on to the bag itself, both on the front and back. There is a high resolution picture displayed on the front of a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s honey barbecue sauce.
The slogan for Bridgford Foods is “The Premium Brand”. Some facts displayed on this bag are “Big 10 oz Bag!”, “High in Protein”, “0g Trans Fat”, “Made With 100% American Beef”, “Gourmet Sauces”, “90 Calories” ,”0g Sat Fat”, “11g Protein”, and “Made in the USA”.
All bag categories are covered with this bag. There is a good blurb printed on the back describing Sweet Baby Ray’s and Bridgford Foods. Admirably, a toll free phone number is provided for customer inquiries. You are encouraged to follow Bridgford Foods on Facebook and Twitter. A QR code is displayed linking back to the Bridgford Foods web site.