Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Trader Joe's Beef Jerky - Organic Peppered

Trader Joe's Beef Jerky - Organic PepperedTrader Joe's is a chain of grocery stores across the United States that specializes in eccletic brands, natural and organic foods, and the basic staples.

The company got its start in 1958 as a convenience store. When the hippie movement took off in the 1960s, the company saw a niche that needed filling and reinvented itself with larger stores, and offering the products that you see on its shelves today. And because hippies never had a lot of money, the grocery store chain established a reputation of keeping prices cheap, something they still focus on today.

Like most grocery stores, Trader Joe's offers its own store brand of foods, such as this beef jerky. It's private labeled through Intermountain Natural, LLC, of Idaho Falls, ID. Intermountain Natural focuses on making natural and organic meat products, and also makes jerky for the Golden Valley Natural, and Jerky Direct brands.

This particular variety of Trader Joe's Organic Black Pepper Jerky carries the USDA Organic seal, as well as the Certified Organic seal of Quality Assurance International.


Organic beef, organic evaporated cane juice, water, organic soy sauce, organic apple cider vinegar, salt, organic black pepper, organic paprika, natural smoke flavoring, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder.


A slight sweetness is the first taste I pick up upon biting off a piece, followed by a light taste of black pepper, and not much else.

The natural meat flavors are largely absent in this jerky. Even after letting a piece sit in my mouth for 30 seconds, and then chewing it, I don't really taste the meat.

It's not salty at all, in fact, it might be good get some more salt just to have something to taste.

The black pepper can be detected on each piece in light amounts. But after eating several pieces, I can get a good deal of its aftertaste in the back of my mouth.

The other flavorings mentioned in the ingredients list cannot really be tasted. I don't really pick up any of the soy sauce or onion powder, but I do get a faint sense of the garlic.

Overall, this jerky doesn't taste bad at all, it just doesn't have much taste to offer. I'd say the black pepper is largely what I taste in this, mainly because its aftertaste builds up in the back of my mouth. Otherwise, each specific piece offers mainly that slight sweetness at the beginning, and not much else.

Meat Consistency

These pieces appear to be solid cuts of meat, sliced into average thickness, and in medium sized pieces.

This is mostly a soft and tender variety of jerky, being semi-moist. I find it very easy to tear apart, and very easy to chew. All those hippies having lost their teeth will have no problem with this.

I found most pieces with a thin strip of gristle on one edge, and could pick up a bit of its chewiness. But, the tenderization process has rendered it largely unnoticeable if you're not analyzing it closely the way I'm doing. I did find a piece with a small bit of fat on it. Otherwise, these are very lean pieces with no chewy extras.

Overall, this jerky offers an excellent meat consistency, allowing me to focus on the largely non-existant flavors.

Trader Joe's Beef Jerky - Organic Peppered

Trader Joe's Beef Jerky - Organic Peppered
Product Value

I paid $4.99 for this 4oz bag of jerky at a Trader Joe's in Temecula, CA. That works out to a price of $1.25 per ounce, making this an average priced jerky.

For general jerky eating purposes, it's an "ok" buy being that $1.25 per oz is actually on the lower-end of average, it offers a great meat consistency, but very little on taste.

As a peppered jerky, it fits the billing, but doesn't offer enough black pepper taste. Even though there is plenty of black pepper to be seen on these pieces, it's flavor doesn't match up. If you love peppered jerky, you might find this to be a waste of money.

But as an organic jerky, it offers an excellent value. $1.25 per ounce is a darn good price for organic beef jerky, even though it doesn't offer much taste. At least you could look at it this way, it's doesn't taste bad at all.


Trader Joe's Beef Jerky - Organic PepperedI'm giving this a fair rating.

This variety of organic peppered jerky from Trader Joe's offers a great meat consistency, being easy to tear apart and chew, with a light flavoring of black pepper.

But that's where the positives stop. Otherwise, I can't taste any of natural meat flavors, which is what everyone wants to taste in a "certified organic" beef jerky. For the most part, it's a slight sweetness that I taste throughout the chew, with just a light presence of black pepper.

The kind of consumer that would really appreciate this are the organic food freaks who have to have everything organic. In that case, they may not care that this jerky is light on taste, but they'll really appreciate the low price.

But considering that beef jerky is a snack food above everything else, I don't really find a lot of snackability here, since I can't get much taste. This would be like eating a package of rice cakes without any topping. Still, it doesn't taste bad, and isn't something I'd throw to my dogs.

Rating: Fair

Where to buy:
  • At any Trader Joe's store

1 comment:

  1. You're right on the money...this is extremely "fair". In web speak, it's totally "meh".