- Act fast – here’s an early access sale for some interesting Jerky! on
- Act fast – here’s an early access sale for some interesting Jerky! on
- Act fast – here’s an early access sale for some interesting Jerky! on
- Review: Kirkland Premium Beef Steak Strips (C+) on
- Review: Pacific Gold Beef Pepperoni (B) on
- Act fast – here’s an early access sale for some interesting Jerky!
- Review: The Greenhouse Tavern’s Artisanal Jerky Plate (A-)
- Review: Golden Island All-Natural Chili Lime Beef Jerky (A-)
- Review: Golden Island All-Natural Five Spice Beef Jerky (C+)
- Review: Golden Island All-Natural Kung Pao Beef Jerky (B+)
Always on the hunt for new Jerky, our friends at That Daily Deal have shared a link for an early access sale for New Zealand Premium Peppered Beef Jerky.
This stuff is described as grass-fed non-GMO and the prices are pretty good, and they get better if you order more. Head on over and pick up a few bags. We’ve ordered ours and will be posting a review as soon as they arrive.
This place is a hip and happenin’ downtown restaurant with an innovative menu, a clear focus on quality ingredients and inventive flavors, and simply fantastic service and atmosphere. When we saw there jerky offering on the appetizer menu, an item prepared daily, we were so enthused we ordered TWO. You know, for science. And it was all the more exciting when the plates arrived with TWO different meaty treats to explore – meat sticks and jerky strips! While all this makes for a fantastic dining experience, what does it mean for Jerkyology? Can an ‘artisanal’ jerky appetizer deliver the goods? Lets’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (B+): This assortment of jerky offers an array of terrific flavors. With the meat sticks you first get a wave of garlic and pepper, soon there’s a bit of clove, and after a bit maybe a hint of chili. It bares a truly enjoyable sweetness and a just touch of heat with a slightly sour hint in there to boot. The jerky strips are a quintessential dried beef – a simple beef flavor, with little added flavorings, delivering a quality clean beef taste.
Texture (A): The meat sticks are soft and moist. They have a firm bite and are easy to chew. The jerky strips are also moist, but with a tougher bite. The meat chews easily enough, though requiring a bit of effort, offering a really great tactile experience.
Smell (B+): The sticks’ scent follow right along with their taste consisting mostly of a mild but flavorful garlic and a rich but well balanced smokiness. There’s a hint of spice, maybe clove, too. It’s smells really nice. For the jerky strips it’s an exercise in simplicity. You smell the delicious dried beef and nothing else. It’s clean and genuinely appetizing.
Appearance (A+): The sticks are light slightly redish-brown with an appetizing casing with texturing along its surface. The strips are cut along grain and are a darkish brown with a slight bit of red inside. The surface of the strips are have a slight sheen and the pieces look every bit the small-batch jerky they are. Again, nice.
Consistency (A): For both the sticks and strips the moisture level of the meats were exceptionally consistent throughout each piece, and from piece to piece. Clearly there was great attention to ensuring their quality here. The flavor too was predictably good from bite to bite and every bit of this plate’s offerings were as good as the others. The level of control exhibited here was just fantastic.
Overall (A-): The fine folks at the Greenhouse Tavern sure do serve up some tasty jerky! The combination of the bold and complex flavors in the meat sticks is so fantastically complementary to the clean, essential flavor of the jerky strips. Both excellent examples in their own right, together they deliver a wonderful range of tastiness. Also, it’s important to note that the sweet brown sugar sauce drizzled on the plate added terrific dimension to the plate, too. All in, this jerky plate was an experiential feast for the senses and is definitely worth checking out if you’re in their next of the woods. Eat and enjoy!
This, the third of three Golden Island “Epicurean Flavors”, is the last of the batch to receive a thorough Jerkyology review. The previous two flavors – Kung Pao and Five Spice were definitely tasty, but the later had some issues with the edibility of the meat. They’re all truly adventurous flavors that show a real love of jerky and do their part to add to the breadth of jerky experiences. Chili Lime is a not-uncommon flavor, particularly in areas with strong Mexican food traditions, but doesn’t often turn out particularly well. With the demonstrated skill we’ve seen from the fine folks at Golden Island in the past, does this jerky deliver on the promise of an exceptional treat? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Appearance (B+): This jerky looks a bit rough at first, but once you have a few pieces and understand what you have you start seeing it for what it is and it looks pretty good. The pieces are general pretty good sized, cut slightly thickly, with some nibble-sized bits mashed in the mix here and there. They’re a darkish brown color with a red hue throughout and the surface has a ragged sort of texture. There are tiny bits of chili and peppers scattered across the surface as well, adding visual interest. All-in-all, it looks good.
Consistency (A-): The flavor of this jerky is spot-on throughout the bag; the balance of the flavors and their overall intensity is expertly delivered. The moisture, too, is delightfully consistent from bite to bite. Importantly, given the tough time we had with the Five Spice flavor, the meat in this bag is cut with a nicely uniform thickness and there were only a few bits of gristle to be found. This is an expertly made jerky.
Overall Impression (A-): We have a winner! This Chili Lime jerky is an absolute joy and a welcome departure from the usual assortment of jerky flavors. The flavor is just fantastic, with depth and balance that point to genuine skill, and the pieces feel every bit like the quality beef they are. Not everyone is going to go for the chili lime flavor itself, but if you’re at all a fan (or you just have the curiosity to give it a whirl) you’re going to love this stuff. Grab a bag… grab several… and dig in. Eat well!
This is the second of three “Epicurean Flavors” from Golden Island to receive our Jerkyology attention, picked up at the local Costco. While the variety of any type of item at Costco is, by design, pretty limited, their reputation for quality is well-known. Golden Island makes a number of jerkies, generally tasty and of good quality, and this special selection of flavors appears to be available only online and through Costco. For the curious, a typical “Asian Five Spice” is a combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, and cennel seeds, though recipes may contain a variety of alternative ingredients like tumaric and ginger. The important thing though is just how good this Five Spice jerky is. Challenge accepted. Let’s see what you get with this one:
Smell (C+): The scent of this jerky is okay, but not particularly remarkable. It has a surprisingly weak aroma considering the strength of its flavor and making out anything specific from what you can smell is a challenge. This isn’t bad by any stretch, but it doesn’t add much to the overall experience. So while the generally nondescript scent doesn’t offer anything of note it doesn’t offend in any way.
Appearance (B+): This jerky looks pretty good once you get used to it. The pieces are medium to largish in size, though there are a fun number of crumbs to be found. They are a dark brown color with a ragged surface that looks at first like a coating of seasonings but with some scrutiny turns out to be tattered bits of the meat itself. It’s a very distinctive look.
Consistency (C-): While it is clear that a great deal of attention went into crafting an enjoyable and high-quality treat, this particular jerky has some consistency challenges. First, there is an exceptional amount of gristle in the bag. More than just bits of fat here and there – something you’d generally expect, particularly in higher quality jerkies made with minimal processing – this jerky had dozens of pieces that you just couldn’t eat. After the fist few unsuccessful bites you end up eyeing the next piece with suspicion and end up trying to visual week out the disagreeable bits by hand. It’s more than a bit distracting. The pieces themselves are cut thickly and are generally substantial, but again not reliably so. A sizable portion of the bag has pieces 2-3 times as thick as the norm and their moisture content varies from dry-but-tender to nearly-desiccated and ‘old’ feeling. The flavoring too suffers from lackluster execution. While the majority of the bag delivers the sweet and tasty five spice flavor well, it’s a slight majority. Easily a third of the jerky in the bag had either a very weak flavor or a flavor that seemed out of balance with the norm. Overall this inconsistency of the meat itself, its thickness and moisture, and flavor really take a toll on the appeal of this jerky.
Overall Impression (C+): This is so nearly a great jerky. The flavor is good and the meat enjoyable, but with the significant inconsistencies in the jerky itself the quality suffers greatly and it really diminishes its appeal. The folks at Golden Island have the makings of something great, but for now at least it’s merely “okay”. If you’re willing to wade though the tough bits and can overlook the variability of execution from piece to piece, it really is a tasty jerky and there’s still something there to enjoy. Be brave and try a bag – maybe you’ll have better luck than we did. Eat well!
Texture (A): This jerky is tender and moist and tears easily. While cut along the grain, the pieces’ have a slightly rough, almost ragged looking surface that feels a bit fluffy, for lack of a better word, as you take your bite. It is, initially, a bit unfamiliar but the effect is a pleasant one and you quickly acclimate to it. In practice it almost seems a clever way to up the surface area of the jerky so it can accommodate more flavor.
Smell (B+): The first thing you smell is a sweet and soy scent that is really quite appetizing. With a few more whiffs you start to make out a bit of the tang from the chili flakes / pepper / powder. It’s a distinctly Asian-style scent that nicely foretells of the great flavor that follows.
Appearance (A): The pieces are generally medium to largish in size, easily providing a few or more healthy bites each, and are a dark brown color with inviting red hues throughout. It also sports a substantial coating of visible red pepper and other spicy bits, a warning sign of the heat it brings to your mouth. All together it has a distinct appearance that is both attention-getting and appetizing.
Consistency (B+): This jerky has been made with a clear attention to the execution of flavor. Each bite, big or small, brings the same sweet and savory flavor with an escalating heat. The moisture level, too, is consistent throughout, demonstrating great control in the jerky making process. The one area where this jerky falls a bit short is in the meat itself. While the meat definitely seems to be of good quality, there were too many pieces with inedible bits of gristle. While it would generally not be that noteworthy to have one or two bites with these unappetizing inclusions in a bag of this size, there were numerous pieces compromised in this way. Some of the gristle was small and easily discarded while other pieces were large and invasive enough to abandon the bite or the large piece altogether. This is by no means enough of a distraction to dull the joy of this jerky but it does diminish its otherwise excellent execution.
Overall Impression (B+): This is a great jerky! It’s tasty, fun, and delivers a really compelling kick in the tongue with a spicy heat that’s full on flavor rather than gratuitous pain. The Golden Island folks truly do make great jerky and their Kung Pao Beef Jerky is a great example of their skill. If you enjoy sweet and savory heat then this jerky will likely find a happy place in your world. Pick up a bag and give it a whirl, but don’t forget to keep that beverage handy. Eat well!
The focus of today’s Jerkyological assessment is a bag of Trader Joe’s Natural Original Beef Jerky, picked up at one of the Trader Joe’s in Silicon Valley.
Trader Joe’s is known for its healthy choices and straightforward fare from meats to fresh product to a wide variety of snacks and side dishes, it’s a fun place to shop and explore. That they have jerky is not surprising given how nutritious and wholesome jerky can be. Still, given the broad focus of Trader Joe’s selection will their jerky prove a gem in the rough or something a bit less interesting? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (C+): This is foremost a sweet and slightly tangy jerky. The sugary flavor stands well above the soy sauce and apple cider vinegar flavors with a lingering bit of smokiness trailing off somewhere indistinct. It’s a pleasant flavor, but not a particularly interesting one. If you’re interested in a simple, straightforwardly sweet bit of jerky then you’ll probably be thrilled, otherwise it’ll likely land a bit on the forgettable side of the experience.
Texture (C+): The jerky is slightly moist and pliable. It’s cut across the grain and is easy to tear or bite. While eating the jerky is easy and generally enjoyable, it is just a bit drier than it seems it should be. As a result the meat seems to shred up unexpectedly as you chomp, with pieces staying connected at times when it seems like they should be separating. Not unpleasant at all, but not particularly remarkable either.
Smell (C): The scent of this jerky is all about the soy sauce, which smells nice… still, there’s very little else in the smell. Again, nice but unremarkable.
Appearance (B): This is a attractive jerky. The pieces are cut to varying sizes, ranging from a small bites to a couple of inches to a side,and have generally straight cut edges paired with natural sides. The jerky is cut a bit thick and has a dark brown color with a hint of red here and there. It has a somewhat dry looking exterior and there’s a bit of marbling here and there. They look appetizing and are one of the better aspects of this jerky.
Consistency (B): This is a reasonably well-made jerky. The taste, while not particularly remarkable, is true from bite to bite throughout the bag. The moisture level of the meat is a bit variable, though not distracting at all. The thickness of the jerky is very consistent throughout the bag and the jerky looks well made.
Overall Impression (C+): You often wonder if the notion of ‘healthy’ food often suggests something less flavorful and there’s cause to wonder if that’s what has happened here. The jerky is unremarkable in any way, but it is still tasty and enjoyable overall. As an opportunistic purchase you’ll doubtlessly be pleased, but it isn’t something that you’d make a special trip for. All told, it’s a nice and simple bit of meaty treatness that you’ll probably not think twice about after polishing off the bag. If you find yourself opening up your own bag after your next trek to Trader Joe’s you’ll surely enjoy it, but you’ll probably not crave another any time soon. Eat well!
In celebration of Saturday (because any day you can eat Jerky is worth a bit of celebration) we’re training our taste on a bag of Oberto Applewood Smoked Bacon Jerky purchased while traveling in Toronto, Ontario.
This is the forth bacon jerky we’ve reviewed but, while the previous three were seemingly identical and likely produced by the same contract manufacturer, this jerky is Oberto’s very own recipe. They’re proud that this jerky is all natural, made without artificial ingredients or preservatives. This jerky, recently spotted with a completely new package design, is readily available in the US and Canada. More importantly, it’s BACON. Yes, one of the greatest mouth-joys of life refined into a shelf-stable meaty treat. So, is Oberto’s take on bacon jerky a joyful rendition of our favorite breakfast meat? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (B+): Yay, bacon! This jerky tastes like slices of good ol’ bacon. Really, how could that not be pretty awesome? Your first impression is the applewood smoke flavor. It’s simple and enjoyable. The next thing you’d notice is the saltiness of the bacon. It’s very salty, but not overly so, and does manage to pair nicely with the smokiness. And… that’s about it. It is salty smoked bacon in a bag. Nice.
Texture (B-): Tender and dry, this jerky tears easily and chews with only a minor effort. The pieces are sliced relatively thin and are enjoyable to eat.
Smell (B+): Behold the scent of smoked bacon! This jerky smells just like it tastes and that’s a good thing. The scent, mostly applewood smoke, is very appetizing and gives you a clear impression of the taste to follow. The smell is strong, but not at all overbearing, and is really quite a pleasant introduction.
Appearance (B+): This jerky looks like tasty bacon. Again, nice. This relatively lean bacon is sliced thinly and has an attractively marbled appearance ranging from light creamy brown to dark red. The slices are packaged in half-strip lengths and vary in width. Their natural bacon shape just further reinforces that you’re getting real bacon in the bag.
Consistency (B): It’s a tricky thing trying to wrangle naturally inconsistent bacon into a consistent jerky, but the folks at Oberto have done an admirable job of it. The slices are cut uniformly thin is predictably dry piece to piece. The pieces come in two general sizes: half-strips and bite-sized. The flavor of the jerky, particularly the intensity of the smokiness and the salt, is remarkably solid throughout the bag. Given that the lean/fat ratio of any given piece of bacon jerky can range pretty significantly, this shows a level of quality that is definitely worthy of kudos.
Overall Impression (B+): This is a well done bacon jerky, and even slightly better than the others we’ve reviewed. It’s a simple, straightforward bacon with a strong smoky flavor and a great eatable consistency. It looks good, tastes good, and really… it’s bacon in a bag. If you run across a bag of this tasty jerky feel confident in picking up some for yourself. Eat and enjoy!
KRAVE has been crafting a unique, nontraditional assortment jerky for several years. They pride themselves on providing all-natural jerky that’s minimally processed sporting one-of-a kind taste experiences. We reviewed their Smoky Grilled Teriyaki Gourmet Pork Jerky and Pineapple Orange Gourmet Beef Jerky about a year ago – tasty stuff – and jumped at the opportunity to try this their newest flavor. Is it as good as its predecessors? Here’s what you get with this one:
Taste (A): From your first bite you taste delicious pork that starts with a mild, almost timid sweetness. There’s sugar, honey, and molasses in there but it takes a little time for them to be distinct. The cherry flavor comes next, riding the wave of the sweets. It’s a carefully balanced fruitiness that adds to the taste all on its own. The savory flavors that follow, a bit of red wine and the garlic and onion, quickly capture your attention without detracting from that delightful fruity sweetness. There’s a bit of a spiciness that tops it all off, after a spell, culminating in a terrifically complex yet subtle taste that’s nothing less than masterful. Still, in every bite, you taste that delicious lean pork, its flavor elevated through this impressive display of skill and execution.
Texture (A): This pork is exceptionally tender, cut along the grain, and tears easily in strips. It is particularly easy to bite and chew and has a substantial feel to it. It provides a really enjoyable bit of eating.
Smell (B+): You can detect a good bit of the flavors of this jerky in its scent. The garlic and onion are prominent along with that red wine and black cherry. It’s very appetizing and easily preps you to take that first bite.
Appearance (A): This jerky looks great. The generally large strips of pork are natural cut and sliced moderately thin. The meat itself is lean and sports a rich reddish-brown color overall with lightly colored edges here and there. The larger pieces are accompanied by a variety of smaller jerky bits – thin strips, tiny nuggets, etc. – adding to the artisan feel of the meat.
Consistency (B+): The cuts of meat exhibit a good bit of variety in size and shape, though most are larger strips. Every piece in the bag is sliced to a uniform thickness throughout, even the tiny bits, and the moisture content is just perfect down the last bite. The flavor is almost as consistent. The overall flavor throughout the bag was really, really good, but the balance of flavors did vary somewhat from piece to piece. In some pieces the sweetness and the black cherry flavors seemed notably more pronounced while in others they were more subdued relative to the spicy and savory flavors present. While the aggregate intensity seemed to be pretty much the same this variation was notable. To be clear, it didn’t detract from the jerky in any meaningful way but it didn’t seem intentional, either. It’s a minor blemish in an otherwise masterfully made meat.
Overall Impression (A): Its always great to find a unique jerky flavor that delivers on the prommise of being something special, and this jerky is definitely something special. The novelty of the black cherry flavor alone would make this a noteworthy treat, but made with such a delicately balanced flavor while honoring and preserving the innately delicious pork itself… wow! Nicely done, Krave! If you have the opportunity you should definitely pick up some of this exceptional pork jerky. Great snacking awaits you… eat well!
Being a fan of Texas Best Smokehouse’s delicious meats, it was a no-brainer to swing by on a recent road trip to central Texas to stock up. This particular bit of tastiness is one of many different meats available in their store. Along side the bison, elk, and good ol’ beef, the venison was a particularly tempting option. So, does the deer hold its own among the other available meats? Here’s what you get with this one:
Taste (A-): This meat starts out with a slight sweetness followed by a nice peppery tang. The venison flavor is mild and savory and the garlic and other seasonings are perfectly balanced to enhance but not overwhelm it. The pepper builds over time, bringing a bit of heat as you work through the bag, but never too much. It’s a tremendously enjoyable flavor, with the sweet and savory in terrific harmony, and delicious through and through.
Texture (A): The meat itself is quite dry. While a little pliable, with only a bit of flexing and you’ll begin to tear off pieces. Since it’s cut along the grain tearing the meat is easy, and while it starts off pretty dry it moistens up quickly in your mouth and delivers a really great chew. The pieces are relatively thin, but still substantial, and you can feel the leanness of this meat it in every morsel.
Smell (A): This jerky has a low-key scent, primarily that of the meat itself with a bit of support from the garlic and pepper. The venison smells fantastic, too – solidly meaty – with the seasonings just teasing your nose a bit around the edges. It sets you up nicely for that first bite, foretelling the taste to come.
Appearance (A): With natural cut pieces, mostly in substantially sized strips, this jerky looks very appetizing. It has an almost dull sheen, with spots of shininess here and there, and a dark brown color with red highlights peeking through the depths along the with-the-grain cuts. This is a fine-looking jerky.
Consistency (B+): This is an expert-made jerky by people who clearly love what they do. The pieces, while natural cut, were uniformly thick. The meat was consistently dry and slightly pliable through and through, too. In only one way, this particular bag was a touch less consistent than we’ve seen from other Texas Best Smokehouse wares – the flavor. While every piece was delicious, some of the pieces seems to lack some of the sweetness of the rest. It didn’t seem to be the normal variation of the meat itself but rather a subtle difference in the intensity of the flavorings. To be clear, it was ALL really, really good, and didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the meat at all, but the difference was a noticeable one none the less. Even with that, the Texas Best Smokehouse folks make some awesome jerky and this venison is another great example of their skill.
Overall Impression (A-): One word: Delicious! This is an incredibly great jerky. The venison flavor is frame perfectly by the seasonings of the jerky and the pieces themselves are a joy to eat. They look as good as they taste and you’ll enjoy the bag from beginning to end. This jerky is a definite winner. Grab a bag and we’re sure you’ll agree this is some seriously tasty jerky. Eat well!