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A Very Jerky Father’s Day – Episode 35

In honor of Father’s Day, Hugh conducts our most groundbreaking experiment yet with the manliest food out there: beef jerky. Read the full “Lab Report” here: JERKY TENSILE STRENGTH. The guys also sample some jerky on-air, and Rod puts Slim Jim’s “snap” claims to the test. Then, the guys discuss their own dads, and Rod unveils a never-before-heard interview with his own dad: Hotbobby Budget… The Swami of (cole)Slaw.


Collages3Testing the Tensile Strength of Jerky (Beef, Turkey, Pork)

Introduction and Findings: Any experimental scientist knows, the most difficult part of research is not the science itself – it’s the funding.  Unfortunately, The Hungry Dads’ federal grant request was denied – so undeterred, we performed the experiment with the resources at our disposal. Here, a perfect experiment would have provided a larger and more consistent variety of jerky options, repeated trials, and failure-proof equipment.

While recognizing the margins of error inherent in our methods, we do believe that there was sufficient accuracy to support the following findings:

  • Finding: #1: Flavored, pork jerky was delicious, the softest and most pliable, yet surprisingly strong.
  • Finding: #2: Store brand beef jerky is not as strong as name brand (Jack Link’s)
  • Finding: #3: Turkey jerky is cut thick and is strong as hell. It could replace steel cable in a pinch.

Experimental method, materials, parameters, and resulting data: The Hungry Dads devised a one-of-kind jerky testing apparatus by which bits of jerky are clamped on two ends, suspended and subjected to the pull of gravity. An increasing amount of weight was added to the pull on the lower clamping mechanism until jerky failure occurred. Each bag of jerky was audited for the piece that appeared most robust (density, thickness and size).  Four jerkies were tested with the following results:

  • Trial #1: Jack Link’s Beef Jerky – tensile failure at: 3.75 lbs.
  • Trial #2: Market Pantry Beef Jerky – tensile failure at: 3.5 lbs
  • Trial #3: Market Pantry Turkey Jerky – tensile failure at: 7.24 lbs.
  • Trial #4: Krave Black Cherry BBQ Pork Jerky – tensile failure at: 4.24 lbs

Future trials: We are anxious to repeat the experiment, or see another laboratory enhance the experiment to validate or refute the above; perhaps answering questions that could not be determined – such as the correlation (if any) between tensile strength and flavoring/seasoning. Any reliable theory could only be validated by repeat experimentation and sampling.

Experimental challenges to consider: This experiment, above all, proved that working with jerky was significantly more challenging than expected . The use of water as a weight proved troublesome as it did not provide sufficient mass on the initial rig. Subsequently, a larger capacity rig was used, but then broke during the first trial. The original rig was resurrected with additional pre-weighed water bottles tied thereto, allowing for sufficient tug on the jerky.