Friday, January 23, 2009

365 Organic Beef Jerky - Teriyaki

365 Organic Beef Jerky - Teriyaki365 Organic is the store brand of Whole Foods Market. And Whole Foods Market is of course is the largest natural food store chain.

The beef jerky that Whole Foods Market sells under this brand is made by Intermountain Natural, LLC, out of Idaho Falls, ID. They're a meat processor that private labels organic jerky for brands, including Trader Joe's, Golden Valley Natural, and Jerky Direct. You can click those links and read all the reviews I've written.

While organic jerky always conjures up thoughts of real beef jerky, the way folks would have made it centuries ago, the fact is that all the organic jerky I've had thus is anything but. It's tasteless stuff, with a chewing texture that's clearly unnatural.

So why I do bother reviewing organic jerky? And why do I bother reviewing the same jerky from Intermountain Natural, brand after brand after brand? Well because it's yet another brand, and because people want to know about that specific brand.

Ingredients

Organic beef, organic evaporated cane juice, organic soy sauce, organic pineapple juice concentrate, organic apple cide vinegar, sea salt, organic paprika, natural smoke flavoring, organic black pepper, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder.

Taste

The tastes I pick up off the surface of these pieces includes a moderate level sweetness, and a very slight bit of smokiness. In the chewing, what I taste is more sweetness, and maybe a smidgeon of salt.

Like I said, this stuff is pretty tasteless.

On an individual piece basis, that moderate level sweet is the dominant taste of this jerky. And that's it. While I do pick up a slight smokiness off the surface, and a smidgeon of salty in the chewing, those flavors are too slight to identify as dominant.

But after eating several pieces, certain aftertastes build up towards an identifiable level. There's a very slight garlic aftertaste, and a very slight black pepper aftertaste. But they're slight enough that I've had to think carefully to find them. Otherwise, you wouldn't notice them during a snacking binge.

With this as a teriyaki variety, suffice to say I'm not getting any teriyaki flavor. All I taste is the sweet. No soy sauce flavor, no ginger contrast, no geisha girls giving me a bath. It's disappointing.

And the natural meat flavors? Absent as well. I've always figured that with an organic beef jerky, I'd get more natural meat flavors. But thus far that's never been the case. Are organic cattle always tasteless? Is it the hormones and pesticides that give beef its delicious flavor?

But there are copius amounts of fat to be seen on these pieces. More fat than what I would see from other brands of jerky. There's enough here to give a piece a rather foul rank taste. That may be the only beef flavor I get from this jerky.

And as for the salt intensity? It's very light.

Meat Consistency

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

These pieces seem to be more moist than dry, but clearly somewhere in between. Some pieces are easy to tear apart, others require more effort. The chewing seems to be easy to fairly easy.

The chewing texture has something of a waxy feel that chews down into something mushy. Because these pieces have lots of fat, there's an oily texture as well. My mouth gets coated in a film of lard. Some pieces are fibrous in character, and there seems to a meat-like texture there. But even those pieces have an oiliness to it.

In addition to having a lot of fat, I'm finding several pieces with gristle.

But as far as being clean eating, well I pick up maybe a very fine residue of oil on my fingers, though that's mostly because I've avoided touching the fat. But these pieces do leave an unpleasant smell on my fingers. But no pieces of meat fragments on my lap.




Snack Value

I paid $5.99 for this 3.0 ounce package at a Whole Foods Market in Irvine, CA. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce, putting this on the border between average and expensive.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a poor value. I found no snackability in this. There was no flavor, other than sweet, to enjoy at any significant level. The flavor intensity of that sweet was moderate at best, and obviously no flavor complexity. Instead, the generous helpings of fat creates a foul taste, and the chewing texture sucks.

As a teriyaki variety, it's another poor value. Even at a cheaper price, it's a poor value. There's just no taste of teriyaki in this. You will find a noticeable sweet, but that's it. You may as well snack on a Starburst fruit chew, you'll get more sweet, and something that chews about the same.

Rating

I'm giving this a dog treats rating.

That's just based on the fact that I can't get myself to eat anymore.

What ruined this jerky the most is the copius amounts of fat. While I've said I actually enjoy some fat in jerky, this is too much. At this point, it's making the taste foul. It's like I'm Bear Grylls chewing on a leg of a rotting gazelle in the African savannah.

And there's the fact that this is merely a sweet jerky. There really isn't any other flavor of a significant level to enjoy. Barely any salt, just a tad of smokiness, just faint traces of the garlic and black pepper aftertaste. It's bland, bland, bland.

Jerky is supposed to be seasoned, it's supposed to be marinated. I can't tell with this stuff.

And then it's marketed as "organic"? Is that supposed to make up for how awful this jerky is? Am I supposed to tolerate a clearly inferior product in exchange for the satisfaction of being toxin-free?

Well, enough of my ranting. I urge you all to try this, just so that you know what bad jerky tastes like.

And while you're at it, pick up a bottle of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale to cleanse your palate of this putrid filth.

Rating: Dog Treats

Where to buy:
  • At any Whole Foods Market

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