Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauces were first introduced in 1985. Their philosophy and slogan are “The Sauce is the Boss”. Bridgford Foods Corp. started its business in 1932, specializing in multiple food products, not just meat snacks, and currently has about 500 employees. They have a deep distribution network and are likely in the top five for jerky sales in North America, while still being a family run business. The Sweet Baby Ray’s jerky brand name is manufactured and distributed by Bridgford Foods Corp., and they are located in Chicago, Illinois.
The next review for Bridgford will focus on a 2.85 ounce/81 gram bag of their Sweet Baby Ray’s Original flavored beef jerky. This jerky bag was purchased at a Target store in Oxnard, 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.
Some healthy ingredients are added, such as garlic powder, red peppers, onion powder, spice extractive, tomato powder, and spices.
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. The flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used to lose another rating.
Fair (4/10) – Ingredient Rating
BRIDGFORD – SWEET BABY RAY’S ORIGINAL BEEF JERKY
Written by guest jerky reviewer Paul Rekker
When I open the bag I smell vinegar, not very strong, but strong enough because I don’t really smell anything else. The pieces are small to medium in size, and are sliced rather thin. The jerky is soft to the touch and eats much the same way.
I am immediately picking up a strong ketchup flavor, immediately taking center stage. In the background are flavors of salt, pepper, sweet, garlic, and little onion, along with slight vinegar.
The ketchup is by far the most prevalent flavor, which is good, but I am not really picking up on any other unique or bold flavors. This jerky is unfortunately too soft, both to the touch and to the palette, as well as not having any “Wow!!” factor.
A decent flavor fellas, but not enough to make me go out of my way to get this snack. My review appears to be writing as an 8/10, not bad folks. Gentlemen?
Written by guest jerky reviewer Stéphane Leclerc
Bridgford – Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Beef Jerky is incredibly popular for a good reason. This flavor is obviously developed to please the masses. This jerky is sold at each and every checkout register in every Walmart across the US.
I am really familiar with this jerky, as I was often buying a bag or two while in the US. This jerky is very flavorful with good saltiness, a little red pepper to wake up our taste buds, and a pleasant smokiness. The flavors are well balanced and delicious. The aroma is bold, and the texture is tender.
Although this jerky is produced in mass quantities, it does not have a similar taste or texture to other mass produced jerky such as Jack Link’s or other dollar store jerky. It does have a rich meaty texture, and it doesn’t feel like something printed on a 3D printer.
I still appreciate Bridgford – Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Beef Jerky and it is an easy 10/10 Taste Rating.
Here is what Mark had to say about this Sweet Baby Ray’s Original beef jerky flavor from Bridgford: “Thanks Stéphane and Paul for the diverging taste reviews. I can see both of your points. Agreed in that Sweet Baby Ray’s is a great tasting barbecue sauce. This big brand jerky does have a unique, slightly processed taste to it, similar to Jack Link’s has a unique taste of beef and Marfood USA have its own unique taste of beef.”
“True as Paul mentioned, this texture is soft and tender to the point where there is no real grain to tear these strips. The texture seems unnatural. Other than that, the overall taste profile works pretty well, although I do not detect all that much other than the Sweet Baby Rays’ barbecue sauce. With Paul and I at an 8 rating and Stéphane at a 10 rating, a Very Good (9/10) taste rating will be awarded.”
This 2.85 ounce/81 gram bag of jerky costs $4.69. That equates to $1.65 an ounce, which classifies as a very cheap price
Very Good (9/10) – Taste Rating
This resealable plastic bag has everything imprinted directly onto 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 barbecue sauce.
The slogan for Bridgford Foods is “The Premium Brand”. Some facts displayed on this bag are “High in Protein”, “0g Trans Fat”, “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 website.
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