Slim Jim is a type of dried sausage or meat snack which is commercialized by ConAgra Foods in USA. They have gained immense popularity due to their taste, texture and differed marketing strategies. Every year more than 500 million slim jims are produced in about 20 flavors. Beef jerky, cheese, beef, beef steak, are some of the popular flavors of this meat based snack. Also, Slim Jim is one of the food products which adhere to the guidelines set by USDA by listing mechanically separated chicken as one of its ingredients.
History of Slim Jim Snack
This snack was invented by Adolph Levis who marketed pickles, sausages, relishes and other condiments from the basement of home during the years of great depression. But he soon realized the kind of foods that he sold were not exactly what people needed. It was then he started experimenting with meat sticks and sausages. In 1928 Levis produced cured sausages which became instant hit amongst customers. The beef sticks were commercialized in big jars with the image of man in cane and hat. Levis branded his product as Slim Jim. The early advertisements for the product announced that “ready-to-eat spiced sausage” was on sale. It is believed that the meat sticks which are commercialized today were different from the original Slim Jim recipe developed by Levis. The current recipe was developed by Lon Adams who worked with Goodmark (who had purchased the meat stick brand from Levis in 1970’s).
Ingredients in Slim Jim Snack
Following are some of the chief ingredients used in the preparation of this meat treat.
- Mechanically Separated Chicken: The meat chicken is processed in large conveyer belts to form a bright pink paste and bones are separated from it.
- Beef: According to US Department of Agriculture the beefs are differentiated into 8 qualities and the ConAgra owners have always been secretive about the quality of beef used in the preparation of Slim Jim.
- Hydrolyzed Soy: The glutamic acid salt produced from hydrolysis of soy protein is used as a flavor enhancer in the snack.
- Corn and wheat proteins: They are the common constituents of this snack and many other snacks produced by Corn Agra.
- Salt: This is used to bind the water molecules found in the snack which prevents it from spoiling too.
- Lactic Acid starter culture: This culture is used to firm the meat and to lower the PH value of sausage. And also helps in killing the bacteria.
- Sodium Nitrite: This is added to the snack to retain the freshness of the meat and to stop it from turning grey. This chemical prohibits the botulism.
- Dextrose: The lactic acid starter culture thrives on this chemical.
Other than the main ingredients corn syrup, flavorings, spices and paprika are also used. The ConAgra foods have not agreed to party with the secret of spice mix used to flavor the meat.