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13Jun

Howdy!

Today’s tasty testing is being conducted on a big ol’ bag of Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky procured at the local Costco.

Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

Krave Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky

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!

19Jun

Howdy folks!

Today we’re having a go at a bag of Krave Smoky Grilled Teriyaki Gourmet Pork Jerky procured in the specialty food section of the always-interesting Spec’s.

Krave Smoky Grilled Teriyaki Gourmet Pork Jerky

Krave Smoky Grilled Teriyaki Gourmet Pork Jerky

Another of Krave’s innovative jerkies, it is made with minimal processing and without artificial ingredients and promises a wholesome, satisfying snack.  We first heard of Krave a few years back on wine.woot.com when we picked up a sample pack of their unfamiliar and intriguingly flavored jerkies.  They amused.  Should you rush out and pick up a bag for yourself?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B-):  This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill teriyaki.  The flavor is unusually savory for a teriyaki jerky, with a definite sweetness but one that is not at all dominant in the flavor.  It’s a very unusual balance, and a bit disconcerting at first, but it grows on you.  After a few bites you get a better sense of the soy sauce and wine flavors mingling with the sugar and spices and somehow the pork manages to carry through, too.  It demands a bit more attention than typical teriyaki jerky to really appreciate what’s going on, but it’s definitely worth it.

Texture (A-):  What a pleasantly supple jerky this is.  This along-the-grain cut jerky is almost too moist and tender, taking the innately accommodating pork to the very edge of its goodness.  It tears easily, chews almost effortlessly, but all the while feels substantial.  This is some well done pork-work!

Smell (B+):  The teriyaki scents are nicely interwoven with a more subtle smoky smell that rolls around nicely in your nose.  It’s not a particularly potent aroma, but delivers a clear and inviting preview of the jerky itself.  You can particularly make out the soy and rice wine but they don’t really stand out, as such.  It all hold together in excellent balance and smells pretty darn good.

Appearance (A-):  With a dark reddish-brown color and a glossy hue this jerky is pork on parade.  The pieces are cut along the grain and the lean, tender pieces of pork will appeals to your eyes as much as your mouth.  The Krave folks have clearly taken care to craft a high-quality food and have attended to the detail of their wares.

Consistency (A-):  Again, the fine folks at Krave have demonstrated their skill and attention to quality in making this jerky.  The thickness, flavor, and moisture of this jerky is uniform throughout and even pieces of substantially different size delivered the same unique flavor and texture.  It’s a sign of skill that they maintain this level of control.

Overall Impression (B+):  Jerky like this makes Jerkyology fun.  This pork jerky doesn’t try to take the ordinary teriyaki experience and do one better, it takes the idea of teriyaki and does something all its own.  It’s a really enjoyable departure from the norm but still something that takes a bit of acclimation to really appreciate.  It’s a good, well-made jerky that will definitely deliver an out-of-the-ordinary jerky experience.  Grab a bag if you can and partake of its tasty goodness.  Enjoy!

19Jun

Howdy!

We’re knawing on a bag of Krave Pineapple Orange Gourmet Beef Jerky picked up in the specialty food section of the local Spec’s.

Krave Pineapple Orange Gourmet Beef Jerky

Krave Pineapple Orange Gourmet Beef Jerky

Krave offers an exciting assortment of jerkies, each sporting unique flavors and made with minimal processing and without artificial ingredients.  Their packaging conveys their love of the meat with whimsical iconography and saying.  These folks clearly love this stuff!  Is it as good as it looks?  Let’s see what you get with this one:

Taste (B):  The flavor of this jerky is great, but you might, at first, shy away from your first taste.  With such bold packaging you’d be forgiven for expecting a bold flavorful punch but you won’t find anything that clumsy here.  What you get instead is a mildly intense and only moderately sweet jerky with a deceptive complexity that takes a little time to come through.   The first thing you taste is the citrus flavors, mostly pineapple with a supporting bit of orange.  It’s a nice flavor with the fruitiness nicely enhanced with a bit of good ol’ sugar. After that already subdued flavor begins to fade you start to notice the supporting tastes so carefully woven in.  You quickly detect the soy and wine flavors and they add a truly enjoyable depth to this meaty treat.  If there’s room for improvement here it would be that the taste is a bit too subtle and leaves you wanting something a bit stronger.  Still, it tastes good and is definitely worth the time it takes to take it all in.

Texture (B+):  With a soft, almost flaky consistency, this natural-style jerky is cut across the grain and is remarkably tender.  It is exceptionally easy to eat and feels great in your mouth.

Smell (B-):  This jerky smells sweet with the pineapple scent being the most pronounced.  It smells nice, if not particularly interesting, and does an adequate job of conveying the low-key nature of this jerky.

Appearance (A-):  This jerky has a dark brown color with light yellow highlights.  The pieces are natural-cut in varying sizes and provides a nice variety to your eyes.  The surface of the jerky is moist yet has an almost dusty look to it, no doubt from its sugary glaze, that looks quite appetizing.  It’s a handsome jerky.

Consistency (A-):  The Krave folks show their stuff in the fantastic consistency of their jerky.  The thickness of each piece is uniformly thin and the moisture and texture of the jerky holds true throughout.  The taste, too, is expertly uniform and delivers the same great jerky experience from beginning to end.

Overall Impression (B):  This jerky does a lot of things right.  It’s clearly made with great skill and is a truly enjoyable treat.  Still, while the flavor is genuinely pleasant, it seems a bit too understated and you may find wishing it had a bit more to offer.  That said, it’s a really good jerky that offers a novel taste and a lot of character.  If you spy a bag of this great jerky in your favorite fine food isle pick up a bag and give it a whirl.  You’ll definitely enjoy this tasty treat.  Enjoy!

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