Note: For a more current taste review on a tweaked bag design and ingredient list, open up Bridgford – Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Beef Jerky (Review #4).
Back in 2010, I purchased a bag of Bridgford beef jerky at a Metro grocery store in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. This review will focus on a 3 ounce/85 gram bag of original flavor, for the Bridgford jerky brand.
The Bridgford jerky brand name is distributed by Bridgford Foods Corp based out of Chicago, Illinois. Year to year, Bridgford has consistently been in the top five of the world for jerky sales. Bridgford Foods Corp started over 80 years ago, and today employs approximately 500 employees. You can visit the Bridgford web site for a more detailed explanation of their history.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Sugar, Salt, Maltodextrin, Vinegar, Monosodium Glutamate, Black Pepper Powder, Papaya Juice, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Garlic Powder, Sodium Erythorbate, Citric Acid, Natural Smoke Flavor, Disodium Inosinate, Sodium Nitrite, Smoke.
The beef used here is imported meat from Argentina. Bag labeling laws have changed since 2008. Unfortunately, jerky makers are no longer required to state the country of origin for the beef used anymore. The 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 used here consists of healthy vinegar, papaya juice, and water. There is an enzyme named papain found in papayas that is frequently used in the food industry to tenderize meat. The papaya fruit is also exceptionably healthy, aiding in preventing heart disease as one benefit.
Other healthy ingredients used are black pepper and garlic powder. It is disappointing to see that sodium tripolyphosphate was used, which gives meat and fish a ‘fresher’ look. It is not believed to be healthy.
The sugar level is high at 6 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less. The salt level is very high at 520mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less.
This jerky does uses the unhealthy preservatives sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite. Unfortunately, this jerky does not use MSG outright. Even worse, the unhealthy flavor enhancer disodium inosinate is used. It works synergistically to make the MSG taste all that much stronger.
The slices were somewhat thin, being medium to small sized. I do recall this flavor as being tasty, kind of nondescript, which should be the case for an original flavor. It tasted fairly sweet, which tended to mute the natural beef flavor. Overall, nothing that special.
I paid $4.99 for this 3 ounce/85 gram bag of Bridgford jerky. That works out to $1.67 an ounce, which rates as a cheap price. Given that an unhealthy ingredient list was used, this jerky would not have been recommended as worth your money.
Being a bag that is sold in Canada, there must be French translations for everything printed on the bag. Bridgford Foods Corp took an interesting approach, where the bag is double sided, with each side almost a mirror of each other, but one side is English, the other side is French.
All major bag categories are covered. The only minor exception is that the jerky weight is not listed in ounces. To the credit of Bridgford Foods Corp, they supply a phone number for customer inquiries. There may be a satisfaction guaranteed policy where there is a slogan stating “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. The bag does explicitly state “Product of U.S.A.”. While there is no fancy graphics on this bag, it does have a professional layout.