Monday, July 6, 2009

Pan's Mushroom Jerky

Pan's Mushroom JerkyPan's Mushroom Jerky is a product of Panco Foods, LLC, based out of West Dundee, IL. It's run by a guy named Michael Pan who launched the company in October 2008.

His family hails from the island of Borneo in Malaysia, and several years ago he took a trip there to spend time with them. He discovered they had been making this mushroom jerky, and decided it tasted pretty darn good.

Mushroom Jerky is made from the stems of mushrooms, mixed with egg whites, sugar, palm oil, and spices, and is eaten as a snack.

Today, Pan's Mushroom Jerky is still made by his family in Malaysia, and exported the USA. It's touted as being "100% Meatless", with no preservatives and no artificial ingredients.

Ingredients

Mushroom stalk, egg whites, sugar, palm oil, salt, spices.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a sweet flavor, followed by a fried flavor. I think the egg whites contribute towards that fried flavor. About 10 seconds into this, I can taste the mushroom quite well. There's a slight bit of saltiness.

The chewing flavor tastes much like the surface flavor in the same intensity.

Well, for being dubbed "mushroom jerky" there's indeed a well-noticed mushroom flavor, almost similar to shiitake. That flavor is more noticed sucking on a piece rather than chewing. But that flavor doesn't come on until several seconds into sucking a piece.

Initially, the first flavor that comes on is the sweetness. It's not a strong sweetness, I'd rate it as moderate.

That "fried" flavor is there all the way through eating a piece, and I'm guessing what I'm actually tasting is fried egg whites, mixed into the mushroom stems.

As far as the spices are concerned, I can taste hints of spice. They're in a low level, to where they don't overpower. I can't quite tell what spices are used.

Overall, it's the mushroom flavor that provides most of this jerky's flavor. That fried (egg white) flavor seems to have the second strongest flavor, with the sweet coming in third.

Meat Consistency

Like the packaging says, these appear to be whole mushroom stems, but they seem to have been flattened, or pounded, at least they don't appear to be in their natural rounded state. Some pieces are actually shredded stems.

It's a dry jerky. Each piece is quite stiff, similar to thick strips of dry jerky. But they're quite easy to chew.

The chewing texture starts out feeling stiff and woody, but chews down fairly easily and quickly. There's perhaps a slight sponge-like chewing resistance, but is only there for a few chews. There's also a some crunchiness to this in the initial chews. Once it chews down to a soft mass, it feels very similar to beef jerky, but more like mushy beef jerky. However, I can still feel some of the mushroom stem fibers.

Otherwise, these pieces seem to be all mushroom, I don't see or feel anything else, like maybe dirt, or steer manure, or whatever else they grow mushrooms in.

It's also pretty clean eating. The bite-sized pieces means not having to tear or rip pieces apart, and I'm not getting any residue on my fingers.




Snack Value

Panco Foods sells this jerky from its website at a price of $3.99 for a 2.5oz package. I purchased two bags, and paid $5.00 for shipping, which comes to a total of $12.98. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.60.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.60 price per ounce, I think it offers a fair value. I'm getting a decent amount of snackability for its overall good flavor, and easy eating. Compared to all jerky in general, the $2.60 price per ounce is considerably higher than most brands, and I think you'll get some snack value in return for your dollar, but less than an equal value.

If you can find this in stores, which it is selling in some places, and not have to pay shipping, it's a good value I think.

But specifically as a mushroom jerky, at the $2.60 price per ounce, I think it's a good value. I'm getting a good deal of mushroom flavor, and some sense of mushroom stem chewing texture. If you love mushrooms, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this, and find it worth the money.

Rating

I'm giving this a good rating.

If you love mushrooms, and I certainly do, you'll find a good deal of mushroom flavor in this jerky. At first, what you'll taste is some sweetness, and then a "fried" flavor, perhaps from the egg whites, but then that mushroom flavor kicks in.

As far as being called "jerky", I think it holds up. It definitely has a chewy, dry texture that you come to expect with beef jerky, and once it chews down to a soft mass, it even feels like beef jerky, albeit a little more mushy. But there's also a nice little crunchiness to it that I think adds to the overall snackability.

I think it's has a little bit of a bland taste to it, however. It didn't have that "wow" factor, or that eye-opening "pop" that I look for in a best-rated jerky. I actually found a great deal of snackability in this initially, where I kept wanting to eat more and more, but eventually that slight bit of blandness kicked in to where I started losing my interest about half-way through the package.

I think Pan's Mushroom Jerky is just itching for new varieties in the asian theme, like a chili-sauce variety, or a fish-sauce variety, or Japanese-style katsu sauce. That might provide that "pop" I'm looking for.

For my recommended beer pairing, I'd go with a cherry or raspberry lambic.

Rating: Good

Buy this online:

7 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of the jerky as well. Great flavor, good value, and excellent health benefits.

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  2. I love mushrooms and jerky. This is great since I don't eat meat. I enjoy the taste and texture and its a healthier alternative to other forms of snacking. I even gave a piece to someone who claims they don't like mushrooms. They thought it tasted like meat jerky!

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  3. I disagree with the review posted. I would not recommend this jerky and would rate it as "fair."

    Firstly, there is very little mushroom flavor. I tastes like something familiar, but I can't put my finger on it.

    The other problem is that all I see in the bag are stems, no caps. Not cool, IMO.

    Steve is right on one point. Once you eat two or three pieces, you have to put the bag away for a while. At first I thought it was ok, but it soon got old and I discarded the two other bags I ordered. A cool gimmick product I think, but not something I can recommend. Perhaps someone can come up with a tastier recipe for mushroom jerky. Tasty, this is not.

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  4. Too bad it's not vegan.

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  5. I disagree with bobhalford. I would recommend this jerky and rate it as "good."

    The mushroom flavor is light and I don't consider that to be a negative. I prefer the stems as I think they provide the jerky texture.

    I've personally eaten eight bags over the last couple months.
    Haven't had any in two weeks and now I'm craving it; so hasn't got old here.

    I will be ordering more!

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  6. Personally, I would give this product the highest rating possible! A small market near our home had in near the check out and I purchased my first bag a few months ago. Since then I purchased every bag they had and consume approximatly 1 bag a day if available. They have been out for 2 weeks now so I am on the search for a fix today! I have also recommended the jerky to several people and they too now are hooked. I guess it is all just a matter of opinion here with these comments.

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  7. Ohhhh boy, they are sooo delicious, particularly if like me you enjoy sweet/savory flavours AS WELL AS mushrooms. I do find you can clearly taste the mushroom -0 what a great change to meant!

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