I love, love, love, beef sticks and jerky. They are tasty, relatively harmless health wise, and an inexpensive ‘pick-me-up.’ Better for you than a Red Bull, I imagine, and certainly better for you than a Snickers.
I’ve even journeyed to outlet stores in search of quantity stock-up deals to satisfy the late Mrs. BurgerDogBoy’s jerky appetite; there’s one for Jack Links in Minong, Wisconsin, a couple in the Pacific Northwest for Oberto, (Seattle and Albany, OR), and Tillamook Country Smoker has one next to their plant in the Oregon town of the same name. (While in the town, go tour the cheese / ice cream factory!) (free samples!).
Today we had 7-Eleven’s house brand, 7-Select, both beef and pepperoni varieties. I’ve been a fan of these for some time, they have a diminutive size that used to be 4 / $1 that I was quite fond of (still am, but price has been jacked.
In the past couple decades, 7-Eleven has made a move away from being your mega chips and soda provider to having ‘healthier’ options, even some fresh packed salads and sandwiches, with manufacturing contracted out to top regional suppliers. In the Northwest, for example, a number of the 7-Eleven sandwiches are made by Lufthansa’s catering division. House brands for the c-store chain has been a brilliant move, enabling them to offer priced competitive products with in-house quality control.
The 7-Eleven version of beef snack sticks are made from beef and mechanically separated chicken, smoke flavor and a smattering of spices. The large ones are less than an ounce of meat, at around $1.50, making that snack stick clock out in the $24 per pound range, about the same as most beef jerky products.
The taste and texture is fairly indistinguishable from competitors; beef sticks are an ‘extruded’ product, meaning, the ingredients are made into a slurry and then forced through a mold prior to smoking.
The snacks are manufactured for 7-Eleven by Monogram Foods, which was created in 2004 when some investors bought some “orphan brands’ off Sara Lee. Monogram has a number of its own brands, Wild Bill’s, Hannah’s, Trail’s Best, O’Brien’s, King Cotton, Circle B Brand, Enjoy and Hickory Best, and some licensed product as well, Bass Pro Shops®, Butterball®, Glory Foods®, Johnsonville®, Realtree®. Monogram has just made a major move into the frozen appetizer business with the acquisition of the (reported) $100 million revenue Golden County Foods out of Wisconsin.
Monogram has a half dozen plants around the country; their website lists that their snack meat plant is in Chandler, MN (pictured below), but the USDA establishment number on the product points to a facility in Martinsville, VA.
7-Eleven Meat Snack Review