Friday, October 17, 2008

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Jerky - Peppered

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Jerky - Peppered"Buffalo is not an endangered species" reminds the folks from Golden Valley Natural on this package of peppered buffalo jerky. I guess I never gave that a thought, even though I do recall learning in school that buffalo had once been an endangered species. But it makes you wonder if Golden Valley Natural gets asked this question all the time.

The company, based in Idaho Falls, ID, is a sister company of Intermountain Natural, LLC, the meat processor that makes this jerky. The two companies were founded by Roger Ball, a veteran of the meat snack industry having founded the King B brand of jerky in the 1960s. Intermountain Natural is a private labeler focusing on making organic jerky and jerky made with all natural ingredients. They make jerky for such noted stores as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joes.

The Golden Valley Natural brand is often offered to those natural food stores that want to sell jerky but are not ready to run their own store brands. I've seen Golden Valley Natural in a handful of stores, as well as online stores.


Buffalo, sugar, water, soy sauce, flavorings, apple cider vinegar, salt, paprika, smoke flavoring, citric acid.


The first taste I pick up from the surface is a slight sweetness, a slight smoky flavor, and a faint pepper taste. Moving into the chew, I can "kinda" get some salty flavor, and a wee bit of natural meat flavors.

There really isn't a dominant taste in this jerky, but if I had to name one particular flavor that rises above the others, it's probably the black pepper. I do taste some of it in this jerky, but it's not very strong. However, it does build up its aftertaste over several pieces.

The natural meat flavors are not very noticeable, but I can detect them. The best way to find them is to first let a piece soften up in your mouth for several seconds. Then, start chewing it. Even then, it's still a faint flavor. And while Golden Valley Natural doesn't add any preservatives to this, I didn't find any kind of old or stale taste.

The sweetness I found on the surface is also very light. You probably won't notice it much if you're just snacking away. The same goes for the saltiness, it's very light in taste.

Overall, this jerky doesn't taste bad, but it just doesn't offer much flavor. I'd say it lives up to its billing as a peppered variety, though a light tasting one. Still, I want to find some kind of flavor to enjoy in this, but can't find anything that wants to come out and play. It's a rather bland tasting peppered jerky.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced average thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

For the most part, it's a soft and tender jerky, or at least I think it's supposed to be. It seems to be on the tougher side of "soft and tender". I'm guessing that becauce buffalo is more lean than beef, it's not as soft as Golden Valley Natural's beef jerky.

I think that's fine actually, because of all the red meat jerkies I've had from Golden Valley Natural this chews more closely to real steak than any of their others. However, there are still some pieces in this package that feel a bit mushy.

This buffalo jerky is rather easy to tear apart, as long as its with the grain, and easy to chew as well. For the most part it's a clean jerky, leaving no residue on my fingers, but it does drop a decent amount of pepper on my lap.

In terms of finding bits of chewy chunks, I found one piece with a small piece of gristle on the edge. But because it was fairly small, it didn't really get in my way. Otherwise, this jerky seems to have an excellent meat consistency.

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Jerky - Peppered

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Jerky - Peppered
Product Value

I found this peppered buffalo jerky selling on at a price of $17.49 for two 3.5 oz bags. That works out to a price of $2.50 per ounce, making this an expensive buy. Keep in mind that price also includes the shipping.

For general jerky snacking purposes, that price presents a weak value mostly because this jerky doesn't offer much taste. Even though it has a great meat consistency, and eats easily, it satisfies me like a female stripper getting down to her underwear, and then putting her clothes back on and going home. This jerky looks and smells appetizing, but won't let you enjoy any taste.

As a peppered variety, it's perhaps only a bit better, but because of the higher price, it's still a lot to pay for peppered jerky.

But as a buffalo jerky, it's a poor value. That's because buffalo is supposed to provide more health benefits than beef, and this doesn't seem to provide much of an advantage. This buffalo jerky is 0.5 grams lower in fat compared to the company's beef jerky, but has the same amount of cholesterol. Otherwise, buffalo tastes exactly like beef with the exception that it's more lean. The only advantage I see in getting this buffalo jerky is that it chews more like steak than the company's beef.


I'm giving this an average rating.

I think I'm actually being generous by giving them the average rating. This jerky really doesn't offer much taste for the jerky lover, and because of that I'd normally give it a "fair" rating. But because it does live up to its peppered billing, and because this buffalo jerky chews more like real steak, I think it does rise above the other varieties offered by Golden Valley Natural.

Really, the only taste you're going to get out of this is the black pepper. Combine that with its great meat consistency, and it's enough to give this a snackability for me. It's not a bad tasting jerky, it just doesn't offer much taste at all.

I think a good beer with this is a hoppy, IPA.

Rating: Average

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