When Jack Link's came out with ham jerky I thought it was a bit of an oxymoron, being that ham is already cured, salted, and smoked. All you had to do was take a perfectly good slice of ham, and dry it out.
But that wouldn't be following in the brand's reputation for soft and tender jerky. So I was always curious about it. I finally got a chance to pick up a bag at a local Wal-Mart and try it out.
The ingredients list shows the following: ham, sugar, water, brown sugar, salt, less than 2% maltodextrin, natural maple flavor, MSG, maple syrup, flavorings, molasses, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, spices.
While this has salt, like ham should, I don't taste much salt in it.
Several pieces into this, I start losing my sense of the ham flavor, and all I'm only tasting is the sweetness. Though I can still sense some slight ham flavor at this point, I have to focus heavily to notice that this is still ham and not beef.
Otherwise, there's isn't much flavor than ham and sweet.
These are definitely real cuts of meat, though it's hard to distinguish this from their beef jerky, as I stated just above. This might be ham, but it's not sliced in the way you'd expect ham to be sliced. It's sliced every which way but.
The slices are of medium thickness, just like most of Jack Link's varieties, and the pieces are medium sized, with some bite-sized smaller pieces.
Most of the pieces are soft, but on the drier side, and on the chewy side. I don't find much fat, except for one tiny chunk, or pieces of tendon.
I paid $2.97 at Wal-Mart for a 3.25oz bag, which works out to $0.91 per ounce, cheap. I have to commend Wal-Mart for making my jerky eating habits affordable. I know other stores would have charged more.
As for being "Maple and Brown Sugar" flavored, well it's definitely sugar flavored, but not much maple to be sensed. If you're the type who craves ham all day long, perhaps this is a cheap way to get your fix. But as jerky, it doesn't impress me.
I'm giving this a "fair" rating.
Only that this was priced cheap, thanks to Wal-Mart, that can I find some satisfaction. Otherwise, the only value in this is the novelty value of being ham. It doesn't provide much snackability for me either. I don't particularly feel like wanting to reach for more. This doesn't taste awful, it could be good for some others. It just falls below my expectations.
While I understand that a piece of maple and brown sugar ham isn't supposed to have any spiciness to it, why not? How about some clove, or cinnamon? Those sound like they go well with ham.
I also found it interesting, and perhaps a commentary on Jack Link's jerky, that after several pieces, I could not discern this as being ham. It all started tasting just like their beef jerky, which is that you can't really taste any natural meat flavors. It was only that first piece that I put into my mouth, that gave me any ham flavor.
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