Golden Valley Meat Snacks is a new line of jerky from Intermountain Natural, LLC, of Idaho Falls, ID. Intermountain is mostly known for making lines of all natural and organic jerky through its Golden Valley Natural brand, as well as private labeling for store brands like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.
Two years ago I wrote reviews of Golden Valley Natural jerky, which you can read here.
Golden Valley Meat Snacks is not an all natural product, which explains why Intermountain Natural didn't use its existing "Golden Valley Natural" brand name. According to a company spokesperson, this line is supposed to be marketed as an "old-school throwback jerky that leans toward the salty taste profiles of the past versus the sweeter flavors of the present."
This new line also uses a smaller package size that incorporates bright colors, which when combined with the "salty taste profile", suggests that Intermountain Natural is going after shelf-space currently occupied by the Jack Link's and Oberto's of the industry.
There are five varieties altogether in this Golden Valley Meat Snacks line, including this Original, an Original Ripple Cut, a Teriyaki, Sweet & Spicy, and Black Pepper, which I'll be reviewing over the next several weeks.
Beef, water, corn syrup solids, dextrose, sugar, flavorings, monosodium glutamate, smoke flavoring, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite, butter buds (maltodextrin, butter, buttermilk powder)
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light saltiness, and that's about it.
The chewing flavor starts with an increased saltiness, and then moments later some of the black pepper becomes known.
Compared the all-natural and organic lines of jerky produced under the Golden Valley Natural brand, this beef jerky certainly does have a "salty taste profile". In fact, that's largely the dominant flavor of this, which feels like it's at a medium-high level.
The black pepper having the next most noticeable flavor. I can taste it all throughout the chewing, and it builds up a decent aftertaste through several pieces.
There's a slight touch of sweet on the surface of these pieces, but if you're just snacking away while driving or sitting around a campfire with your buddies, you're not going to notice the sweet.
The natural meat flavors are difficult to find, and for the most part they just seem absent.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is mostly a medium-high saltiness with a lighter splash of black pepper, and that's it.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in small to medium sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky with mostly a dry surface feel, except for maybe a thin coating of oil. These pieces have that soft rubbery consistency that allows them to bend a full 180 degrees on themselves without cracking apart. Biting off chunks requires some tearing and a little bit of gnawing, while chewing seems overall easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling like soft pliable plastic and presents a mild bit of chewing resistance. But these thin cut slices seem to let them chew down easily without any strenuous jaw work. Once chewed down to a soft mass, they have a meaty feel, but more soft and a little mushy, similar to a steak cooked medium-rare.
Most of these pieces appear to be free of fat, with the exception of one piece that had a little bit. Otherwise I saw no streaks of gristle or tendon. There's a little bit of stringiness, but nothing resulting in an unchewable wad of tissue.
It's somewhat clean eating with my fingers picking up a fine coating of oil, but not requiring a finger licking. Yet it's still enough to pull bits of black pepper off of these pieces.
Intermountain Natural was not able to provide me with prices for this jerky, and they don't yet have this listed on their company website. I'm assuming it'll run at the same $5.99 that you find with Jack Link's and Oberto's for the same package size. Considering it's a 3.25oz package, that works out to $1.84 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the same $1.84 per ounce price, it seems to present a fair value. I'm getting a low level of snackability for an overall lackluster flavor, a rubbery meat consistency and average chewing texture.
I'm giving this a fair rating.
This Original variety from Golden Valley Meat Snacks provides a mostly a medium-high salty flavor with a noticeable shade of black pepper, and that seems to be largely it. I'm not getting any natural meat flavors, and not much else in seasonings.
That rather simple flavor is paired up with a thin sliced meat with a rubbery consistency that still manages to chew down fairly easily and offer up a meaty chewing texture though on the soft mushy side.
But considering this jerky is competing against Jack Link and Oberto for shelf space on grocery stores and gas stations, it's actually a good product. I'm finding more flavor in this than Jack Link's Original variety, and I think this meat consistency is a little more snackable. Though I think Oberto's Original is still better tasting.
But it still has a low level of flavor complexity and the lack of natural meat flavors leave me uninspired.
My recommended beer pairing for this, try a simple pale ale, go with a Stone Pale Ale or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Visit Golden Valley Meat Snacks online: