There’s a certain air of mystery when opening up a bag of jerky and the only two words you can read are “BEEF JERKY”. These are just the sorts of adventures jerkyology strives to explore, of course, so undaunted we dug right in. Is this meaty treat from far-away lands a tasty example of cultural exchange, or is the lesson to be learned that we should fear the unknown? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (B): This jerky is a savory jerky with a nice but subdued garlic flavor with a bit of smoky goodness thrown in. Not apparent with the first couple bites, there’s a bit of a spicy tang to be had, too. The flavor is unfamiliar, but tasty, and similar to cross between vinegar and pepper. It sounds strange, but is pretty enjoyable, and it all holds together well.
Texture (B+): This tender, natural-style jerky is cut along the grain and cut very thin. It’s easy to tear off a bite and chewing isn’t at all laborious, though you’ll definitely feel the substance of this quality beef as you eat it. Each piece is cut lean and feels nice in your mouth but would be a bit more enjoyable if it weren’t quite so thin. Still, it’s good stuff!
Smell (B): There’s an enjoyably sweet smell to this jerky, and you can make out a bit of that vinegar-like seasoning, in a mild but enjoyable scent. It smells appetizing and properly conveys the character of the jerky itself.
Appearance (A-): If your eyes could eat they’d gobble this stuff right up. This jerky has a medium-brown color with a slight reddish tint and it cut into neat 3/4″ wide strips. The pieces are all very, very thinly cut and they show the grain of the beef and somehow really show off the texture of the meat itself in a very appealing way. It all looks great.
Consistency (A-): The folks at Itoham have done a fantastic job in creating a consistent product. Each piece of this jerky is cut with exceptional uniformity both in width and in thickness. They capitalized on the thin cut of their beef to thoroughly season their jerky and every bite is as tasty as the last. Each piece is a testament to their attention to detail and the quality of their product.
Overall Impression (B): This is a thoroughly enjoyable jerky. The taste is good, it’s made of quality meat, and the attention that Itoham paid to their finished product is apparent in every piece. The Japanese clearly enjoy their beef and this jerky is a great example of a quality treat. When you’re next in Japan we recommend you pick up a bag and enjoy this tangy jerky. Eat well!