The next review on Slim Jim will focus on a 2.75 ounce/77 gram bag of their maple flavored bacon jerky. This bag was purchased at a convenience store in late December 2014, while visiting Kearny, New Jersey.
The Slim Jim brand name is manufactured and distributed by the very large and successful company ConAgra Foods, based out of Omaha, Nebraska. It is likely that the Slim Jim brand name is in the top five of North America for dried beef sales. It all started in 1899, where in 1919 the Nebraska Consolidated Mills (NCM) company was formed. By 1971, the company was renamed to ConAgra Inc. Through a series of many business acquisitions, ConAgra Foods continues to grow, where dried beef is just one food product that they sell.
The maple flavor is achieved from both natural and artificial flavors. It is never good to see any artificial ingredients used in jerky. Using artificial flavors is a very cheap, and likely unhealthy way of achieving a certain flavor. It is true that maple syrup is expensive, but you pay for quality.
The sugar level is slightly high at 4 grams per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams and under. Bacon is known to be salty, and this bacon jerky is no exception. The salt level is very high at 530mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky.
The preservatives used here are sodium nitrite, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and salt. Ideally, you do not want to see any sodium based preservatives, let alone three. Admirably, this jerky does qualify to have no MSG added.
These are mostly small strips of bacon, and sliced to a medium thickness. The texture is borderline dry. There is a considerable amount of fat, but that is the nature of bacon. Handling this jerky does leave an oily residue on your fingers.
The first taste detected is a moderate sweetness. There is some form of maple taste, but the taste of sugar is stronger. As expected, this has your classic strong taste of bacon strips. Also as expected, this jerky is salty tasting. Really, this bacon jerky is similar tasting to plain old bacon cooked the old fashioned way on a stove or oven.
This bag 2.75 ounce/77 gram bag cost $5.99, which works out to $2.18 an ounce. That rates as an average price. It could have been $5.49 if the “Save 50 cents now” tab was used. Given that an unhealthy ingredient list is used, we do not recommend this jerky as worth your money.
At first glance this is a professional looking bag. Everything is imprinted directly on the bag itself, both on the front and back. There are some fairly high resolution images of bacon on the front.
The only slogan appears to be “Made From Stuff Guys Need”. Curious, where females account for almost half of jerky sales. Some facts printed on this bag are “Zip It!”, “Made in USA”, “Natural Smoke Flavor Added”, and “Made From 100% Bacon”.
All bag categories are covered here. There is a decent blurb about this maple flavor printed on the back. To the credit of ConAgra Foods, they supply a toll free number, and their business hours for customer inquiries.