Green Light Jerky is a brand of Green Light Jerky Company of Redwood City, CA. It's a unique brand in that it focuses on unusual flavors in a stylish design and concept. This Garlic Parmesan is their newest flavor. Read my previous reviews of their Jamaican Jerk, and Prime Rib Dinner.
It's a relatively new brand, being around only in the past few years. They claim to add no preservatives, no MSG, no thickening agents, and no food colorings, going on to say they use such name-brand ingredients as The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, George Chiala Farms in Morgan Hill, and Grandma's Molasses. Their products are sold through specialty stores in northern California, and from their website.
One thing to take note of is that Green Light recently modified their manufacturing process by adding another 24 hours to their marinade, which they claim makes it more soft and moist than in the previous reviews I wrote.
Beef, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, parmesan cheese, honey, water, onions, spices.
The first thing I taste off the surface of these pieces is a smoky flavor, and a slight salty flavor. As I start chewing, I can taste that parmesan cheese flavor in great amounts, along with more saltiness, and a identifiable soy sauce flavor.
The surface of these pieces has a light flavor, but still enough to notice that smoky, salty flavor. In other pieces, I can pick up the flavor of parmesan cheese from the surface. But as soon as I start chewing, the parmesan cheese bursts through, just as if you were pouring it out of a shaker can directly into your mouth. I can also pick up the pungent aroma of parmesan cheese inside my mouth as the scent enters my sinuses from the back door.
The garlic in this is noticeable but not as strong. This jerky is more parmesan cheese than it is garlic. But I do pick up the garlic taste, sitting behind the cheese flavor.
The soy sauce flavor starts out in the chewing as a saltiness, but quickly manifests itself as soy sauce. The parmesan cheese flavor tends to overtake the soy sauce flavor in the initial chews, but half-way through it wears off and the soy sauce takes over and dominates the latter chewing.
The natural meat flavors are not noticeable, which is quite a contrast from Green Light's "Jamaican Jerk" I reviewed earlier.
The salt intensity seems light.
Overall, what you're going to get from this a light smoky, salty, and even some parmesan cheese taste as you suck the surface flavors. But as soon as you start chewing, the parmesan cheese flavor floods your mouth in great quantities with some garlic flavor backing that up. Eventually you'll be left with a soy sauce flavor in the last few chews before swallowing.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is mostly a dry jerky, but they have a semi-moist feel. If bent with the grain, they crack open immediately, if bent against the grain resist cracking for about 45 degrees. It's very easy to tear apart with my fingers, and moderately easy to chew.
As for the claim that Green Light's jerky is now more soft and moist, it seems to be true. It's not nearly as dry and hard as it used to be, and I think that helps the chewing texture as well. Overall I'd still classify this as a dry jerky.
The chewing texture starts out stiff like most jerky, with a bit of rubbery resistance, but chews down to a meat-like texture in about 20 seconds. It takes on a steak-like texture, cooked medium-well, but somewhat crumbly. Every bite I took contained some chewy sinews that remained in my mouth as unchewable wads, but small enough to swallow without much notice.
Several pieces contained some small bits of fat, but not enough to be concerned about. I didn't find any chunks of gristle or tendon.
Tearing and biting pieces off does result in a fair amount of seasoning or parmesan cheese falling off, and could make a mess if you're wearing a lot of black. But my fingers don't seem to pick up much residue.
Green Light Jerky sells this Garlic Parmesan variety from its website at a price of $5.00 for a 2oz package. Add to that shipping costs of $3.15 if it were sent to southern California. So if you bought four packages, total cost would be $23.15, or a per ounce price of $2.89, putting this into the expensive price range.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at this $2.89 price per ounce, it presents a decent value. I'm getting a lot of snackability mostly for its unique flavor, and the novelty of getting parmesan cheese on beef jerky, as well as the ease in eating. It's definitely worth spending the money to try, though I'd recommend buying several bags, or trying all of Green Light's varieties, just to spread the shipping cost around.
As a Garlic Parmesan variety, at the same $2.89 price per ounce, it seems like a good value because I was able to get enough of these flavors to enjoy. The parmesan cheese in particular is heavily noticeable in both taste and aroma. If you think parmesan cheese on beef jerky sounds good, then I don't think this price will disappoint.
I'm giving this a best rating.
I really enjoyed the taste of parmesan cheese on beef jerky. At first, when tasting the surface flavors, I wasn't sure what to make of it, getting only some smoky and salty flavors. But as soon as I started chewing, I got a burst of parmesan cheese flavor and aroma, in a strong intensity, that awoke my senses and gave me the "wow factor" I look for in a best rated jerky. There's a noticeable garlic flavor that helps boost that parmesan cheese.
The biggest negative I encountered is that I couldn't pick up any natural meat flavors, which is unlike the previous reviews I wrote of Green Light. My only guess is that the longer marinade process may have stripped that away. Nonetheless, the garlic parmesan flavorings are good enough, but more importantly, unique enough, that it makes up for that shortcoming and diverts my attention away from it.
I'm not sure how this lack of meat flavor will affect the other varieties I reviewed, such as their Prime Rib Dinner, or Jamaican Jerk, or even their Regular variety. I think however the softer and more moist chew is a welcome addition that should help Green Light satisfy more snackers. Even though jerky aficionados might miss those meat flavors, I think the 80% of jerky snackers will be more focused on the new and unusual flavors that Green Light is known for.
I'd recommend trying a wheat beer, or hefeweizen, to go with this.
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