Next in the series on Damn Good Jerky is this Hawaiian Style Teriyaki variety. See my previous review of their Original Hickory variety.
Damn Good Jerky is a brand of Damn Good Foods, Inc., of Stillwater, NY. It's been around since 2000, launched by a guy named Greg Strope, who used to own a floor-cleaning business. He developed an interest in beef jerky, and eventually shifted focus from cleaning floors to selling jerky. In 2006, Damn Good Foods sold 100,000 pounds through convenience stores and its website.
Other websites have published reviews of their jerky, and it seems they get rave reviews. I gave them a "good" rating for that Original Hickory variety based on a strong flavor intensity of soy sauce and worcestershire.
Beef (top round), teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, honey, pineapple juice, water, black pepper, liquid smoke, garlic, granulated onion, ginger.
What I taste off the surface of these pieces is a medium-level sweetness, and little else. In the chewing, I pick up a defined teriyaki flavor, with a stronger sweet, a light saltiness, and a touch of ginger. The garlic is noticeable, and I can pick up a light meat flavor.
Right off the bat, this Hawaiian Style Teriyaki variety is quite different from the Original Hickory variety I reviewed earlier. It has a far lower flavor intensity. It doesn't really burst open with flavor. It is quite sweet, however.
For being advertised as a "Hawaiian Style Teriyaki", I think it does live up to that billing, having some noticeable teriyaki flavor. I can recognize the flavor as teriyaki, however it doesn't belt it out of the ballpark. It certainly has the sweet part well covered, but the soy sauce, wine, and ginger components are light, though still noticeable. It's more of a true teriyaki flavor than what much of the mass-market brands offer.
The natural meat flavors are light, quite light. I can just taste enough of it to know there's some there. I think the light flavor intensity of this jerky allows that weak meat flavor to show up. It's certainly not a dominant flavor at all.
The garlic is faintly noticeable in the background.
In terms of salt intensity, this seems rather light. I think the heavier sweetness offsets much of it.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this jerky is a good deal of sweetness off the surface. In the chewing, you'll get more sweetness, but a more identifiable teriyaki flavor with some sense of soy sauce, a weak tanginess of the wine, and a slight pungent contrast from the ginger. It's enough to pass as true teriyaki I feel. But that's really about it. In the latter part of chewing, the salt intensity goes up just a tad.
This a slab style jerky, in slices of whole meat, sliced medium to thick, and in small to medium sized pieces.
I'd classify this as a semi-moist jerky, that feels more moist on the outside than it does inside the meat. The sweet teriyaki coating perhaps gives it that moist feel. The meat is rather chewy, and the pieces require a good deal of effort to tear apart, even with the grain.
The chewing texture starts like a stiff piece of rubber, and requires a bit of sucking before you can start chewing. The sticky sweet glaze on the outside tends to give these pieces a gummy-like quality. Eventually it chews down to a softer mass, but it never feels like steak. It's more of a gummy texture than anything else, but still having a fibrous quality that resembles meat.
This particular review sample didn't provide as much of the chewy sinews that I found in the Original Hickory variety, though I'm still finding some. I do see some streaks of fat in a few pieces. I didn't come across any tendon or gristle.
The pieces are mostly clean eating. The teriyaki glaze is actually dry, but because these pieces require a good deal of effort to tear apart, they require me to grasp them tightly, and that's enough to leave a fine sticky film. But it's not enough to require a finger licking. Tearing these pieces apart doesn't really yield any fragments falling off.
Damn Good Jerky sells all of their jerky varieties from its website at a price of $5.75 for a 3.65oz package. The three packages I bought, plus the shipping of $7.74, brought it to a total of $24.99 for 10.95oz of jerky in all. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.28.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.28 price per ounce, this Hawaiian Style Teriyaki variety provides a weak value. I'm only getting some snackability from this, mostly for its truer teriyaki flavor. Otherwise, it's weak in flavor intensity, weak in flavor complexity, it's tough to eat, and has subpar chewing texture.
As a Hawaiian Style Teriyaki jerky, also at the $2.28 per ounce price, it offers a decent value. I do get a more of a true teriyaki flavor from this, it's just that it doesn't provide a strong flavor, it's rather light, or perhaps medium in intensity. For that higher price per ounce, I expect to get more teriyaki flavor from this.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
While this Hawaiian Style Teriyaki variety from Damn Good Jerky provides a true teriyaki flavor, it just doesn't provide much of that flavor in terms of intensity. In fact, the whole jerky is rather low in flavor intensity, and low in flavor complexity. That creates a rather bland jerky. Perhaps folks with very sensitive taste buds will disagree.
And that's about all I'm tasting in this jerky. There were nary any natural meat flavors, and just hints of garlic. I couldn't really get much else. If it had provided a more intense teriyaki flavor, I'd have awarded a higher rating.
But it's also tough to eat. It's very chewy, and difficult to tear apart into small pieces, which takes away from the snackability. While I can appreciate the notion that jerky in general is supposed to be chewy, I argue that it's really supposed to be snackable. Thus, if this could provide a stronger flavor, then I can overlook the toughness.
My beer recommendation for this is an IPA.
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