Today we’re digging into Jack Link’s Teriyaki Matador Beef Jerky, courtesy of the fine folks at Frito-Lay. Their marketing folks generously sent over a couple sample bags so they could receive the Jerkyology once-over. Thanks, Frito-Lay!
The Matador brand is relatively new and is offered as a bold, tender snacking experience. This is a ‘people treat’ style jerky made into small, bite-sized pieces. Does it live up to expectations? Let’s see what you get with this one:
Taste (B): This is a straightforward, tasty jerky. Just like the bag says, the flavor is bold and the teriyaki taste is sweet and pronounced. There’s a good mix of smoky and sweet, in fact, that starts off strong and keeps going. For fans of in-your-face teriyaki this one will be a real winner. This isn’t a jerky that pushes for complexity or nuance – it’s just good, tasty stuff that’ll make your mouth happy.
Texture (A): True to their word, this is an extra tender jerky that gives you just a bit of a chew but doesn’t wear you out in the process. The texture is simple and feels good when you bite in, and even better as you keep going. As a formed jerky this one is simply very well done.
Smell (B+): When you first open the bag the flavor of this jerky is very clearly foreshadowed by the smell of it’s contents. The smoky and sweet teriyaki aromas are nicely balanced, neither overwhelming the other. Nicely too, the teriyaki itself isn’t at all dominated by the soy sauce sort of scent that so often comes across too strongly. They got it right and, while you can definitely make out the soy sauce it is a balanced part of the teriyaki and it just works. Again, this is not a tale of subtlety… this is a simple, straightforward jerky and it works.
Appearance (A-): This people treat jerky is made in uniform oblong pieces with a dark, rich brown color baring a slight sheen. They look pretty good with a slightly mottled surface and a clean, well-executed shape. They’re a good size to nibble on or just to pop straight into your mouth, too. Noteworthy too is that while the pieces are very uniform in size and shape, there’s just enough variation in the little details of each piece to make it all just that much nicer. All-in-all, it’s a very appealing package.
Consistency (A+): The expectations for the consistency of people treat style jerky is pretty high given the control the maker has on combining the meat and the flavorings into making their final product. This jerky is a poster child of doing it right. Throughout the entire bag every piece had the same great flavor, the size and shape was uniform, and the texture was unwavering. The Jack Link’s folks have been doing this for a while and it shows.
Overall Impression (A-): This is a solidly well done jerky. In many ways the people treat style jerky is the height of everyday meat snackery and the Matador Teriyaki Jerky does it right. When you get a chance to grab a bag you can be confident you’ll enjoy it from beginning to end. Enjoy!