Halal Jerky is a brand of Halal Jerky, LLC based out of Corona, CA. It's a new brand having launched in February 2010.
The name "halal" refers to any product or activity that's in compliance with Islamic Law. In the case of meats, animals must be "zabihah", which is a specific method and ritual in which animals are slaughtered. The folks at Halal Jerky, LLC claim that they have personally inspected the way in which cattle have been slaughtered, and their packaging carries a Zabihah stamp.
The company offers four flavors, this Original, plus a Hot Hickory, a Teriyaki, and a Sweet & Spicy. There's also a Soft Chew Nuggets variety coming out soon. I'll be reviewing their Hot Hickory, Teriaki, and Soft Chew Nuggets later on.
Beef, seasoning (salt, spice, sugar, garlic, hydrolyzed soy protein, potassium sorbate). Contains: wheat/soy. Liquid smoked added.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a moderately salty, light soy sauce flavor. A light bit of smokiness comes in with some sucking.
The chewing flavors start with a natural meat flavor, but are quickly overtaken by an increased saltiness, and a bit more of a soy sauce flavor. Touches of garlic and black pepper are noticeable.
The primary flavor that comes through when eating this seems to be that soy sauce and saltiness. The saltiness is actually more noticeable, while the soy sauce flavor tends to add some color. The black pepper and garlic are very light, and adds overtones of flavor to the soy sauce and saltiness.
The natural meat flavors are quite noticeable right away in the chewing, but are quickly overcome by the soy sauce and saltiness. It's actually a mixture of natural meat flavors and fat. There's lot of maribilization in this review sample.
The level of saltiness in this feels to be at a medium level.
Despite the sugar listed in the ingredients, I don't really taste any sweet.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this is a soy sauce flavor, with a medium level saltiness. The natural meat flavors mixed with some fat is quite noticeable as well, with light touches of garlic and black pepper.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into thin slabs, and in small, medium, and large sizes.
This is a dry jerky, with a dry surface feel. The slabs are very flexible, able to bend a full 180 degrees back on itself with only a little cracking. It's very easy to tear apart with my fingers, and chewing seems quite easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling dry, but soft and pliable. There's only a little bit of initial chewing resistance, but it seems to chew down to a soft mass quite quickly. At that point, it has a steak-like feel, comparable to one cooked well-done, but still somewhat soft.
These slabs are well marbleized with fat, and they do add a fatty flavor to the chew. I also see significant streaks of gristle running through the larger pieces, which do add more chewiness, but being how dry this jerky is, it doesn't really hinder much. These slabs are also quite stringy, and can result in some unchewable wads of tissue.
As for clean eating, it seems to be quite so. I get no residue on my fingers, and only a few small bits of black pepper falling off as I tear slabs apart.
Halal Jerky sells this Original variety from its Amazon store at a price of $5.99 for a 3oz package. They offer free shipping for orders of $25.00 or more. If you ordered five packages, it would work out to a price of $2.00 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.00 per ounce price, it seems to provide a decent value. I'm getting a good overall snackability for a satisfying flavor, easy eating, and decent chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky you'd find at the grocery store, I think it's a slightly better value.
Compared to other halal jerky brands I've reviewed (I've reviewed only one other brand thus far), it's a good value. The flavor and meat consistency seems to be within the ballpark, but priced considerably less per ounce.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Original variety from Halal Jerky offers a good deal of flavor, mostly as a soy sauce and saltiness, with a decent amount of natural meat flavors, and touches of black pepper and garlic. It's easy to tear apart and chew, though it tends to have a lot of fat, stringiness, and some significant streaks of gristle.
The flavor is not really all that unique or exciting, but it still seems to generate some snackability for me in that I find myself wanting to eat more and more. I think the fact that it offers an easily noticeable natural meat flavor helps create that snackability. I also like this being thinly sliced and dry. That too seems to generate more snacking satisfaction.
Overall, it's a snackable, enjoyable jerky, that offers the Islamic community a way to enjoy a classic American snack food. Compared to all the other brands of jerky I've reviewed, it doesn't really stand out as being above average, and there's plenty of other brands priced less and offer better flavor and meat consistency. But as a halal jerky, this seems to be a good value.
As for my recommended beer pairing, well I don't know if beer is halal or not, but I'd go with a more refreshing pale ale. I'd try the Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, or the Firestone Double Barrel Ale.
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