Market Pantry is a brand name belonging to Target Corporation, the chain of department stores. They use this brand, along with others, for their line of store-branded foods.
But Target doesn't make its own jerky, in this case it's made by Jack Link's. And after looking at the nutrition facts and the ingredients list, it appears to be the same stuff.
"Target Beef Jerky" comes in other varieties, including teriyaki, and peppered. This package has a "Best By" date of May 29 2010, so I'm assuming it pretty fresh stuff.
Beef, water, sugar, vinegar, salt, maltodextrin, flavorings, monosodium glutamate, spice, sodium erythorbate, citric acid, sodium nitrite.
The tastes I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a slight saltiness, a slight sweetness, and a very slight smokiness. In the chewing, I get more saltiness, and that's about it.
My initial thoughts on this is that there's more surface flavor on this than in other Jack Link's-made jerky I've reviewed. I think it's due to this package being much more fresh than the others. But it's still a very light surface flavor mind you. Either way, it's an example of why you should always check the "Best By" date.
Overall, the dominant flavor of this jerky? Man, that's tough to say. I'm not sure there's a dominant flavor in this. If you look in the photos below, you can see some pieces are darker than others, drier than others, more fatty than others. I've tried them all, and can't really find a flavor that dominates.
If anything, what I get is an initial sweetness that gives away rather quickly to a light-to-moderate saltiness. And that's pretty much the story with this jerky.
I find no natural meat flavors at all.
After having written this section on Taste, I pulled up my review of Walnut Grove Market - Original, which was also made by Jack Link's, but for Longs Drug Stores. I found that I had written basically the same thing, even though that jerky had been close to its expiration date. The only difference is that I detected a slight staleness overall, and no surface flavor at all.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to average to thick thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.
It's largely a semi-moist jerky, though it's perhaps better described as a mixed bag. I found a few dry pieces, and a few moist pieces, but most are in between. It's relatively easy to tear apart, and somewhat easy to chew, maybe a little bit of effort.
The chewing texture of this jerky is a mixed bag. Several pieces had a rubbery-like chew initially, but didn't really break down into something steak-like. It was kinda half-way between steak and gummy candy if you can imagine that. It has the fibrous quality of steak, but with a chewy stickiness of gummy worms. However, other pieces were more steak-like, feeling like a well-done cooked steak. The drier pieces, however, tended to chew down into crumbled particles.
I found a few bits and streaks of fat on some pieces. I didn't find any gristle or tendon, but I did find several pieces containing some membranous sinews that remained in my mouth as unchewable wads of tissue.
It seems to be pretty clean eating, with no residue on my fingers, and just a few fragments of meat falling on to my desk and lap.
I paid $3.28 for this 3.5oz package of original beef jerky at a Super Target in Menifee, CA. That works out to a price of $0.94 per ounce, putting this into the cheap price range.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price per ounce, it's a fair value. In terms of snackability, it actually doesn't have much. The taste isn't all that spectacular, though not bad. The chewing texture is mixed, some pretty good, some kinda bad. It's just the low price point that makes it worth considering.
If this were priced above $1.00 per ounce, I wouldn't consider it.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This original variety from Market Pantry doesn't really provide much snackability for me. I can eat this and not be disgusted with it, but I don't really find any inspiration to eat more.
For the most part, there isn't much flavor to this, aside from a light-to-moderate saltiness. Worse yet, no natural meat flavors. That means this jerky has to rely on its seasonings to get a high rating, and the only seasonings it offers is some sweet, smoky, and salty, and that just doesn't cut it for me.
The chewing texture is mixed, but that only means it's inconsistent, which means you'll never know what you're getting from one package to another. It's only saving grace is that it's priced cheap. That might be enough for some. But if that's the case, then buy Wal-Mart's store brand jerky, it's also made Jack Link's, but priced even cheaper yet.
A good beer to have with this? A hoppy, full bodied, IPA.
Where to buy:
- At Target Stores