Morels was created by Stanley Chase, originally as a food truck in the Louisville area, and then transitioned to vegan food brand making sandwiches and jerky. Morels' jerky is made from soy curls. Chase had initially tried to make something called "char-sue", but left it in the oven a bit too long and it came out something like jerky.
This soy jerky is gluten-free and still has 12 grams of protein per 2.5oz bag.
Currently Morels has two flavors, this "Judas' Original" and a "Ned's Chipotle". They're working on a Sriracha Maple.
Soy curls, water, braggs liquid aminos, brown sugar, olive oil, lime juice, lemon juice, ketchup (no HFCS), vinegar, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cloves, nutmeg.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a soy sauce flavor mixed with several seasonings, namely garlic, black pepper, onion, and some tanginess.
The chewing brings in more of the seasonings and a bit more saltiness. I can pick up traces of the lemon and lime citrus, as well as the liquid smoke.
For being marketed as a soy-based jerky, it's pretty good. Compared to other brands of soy-based vegan jerky I've reviewed, it's clearly the better tasting I've had yet. This Judas' Original Jerky doesn't have that strange flavor that resembles a bowl of Lucky Charms soaking in warm milk. It's far more light on the soy curl flavor, and much more tilted towards the seasonings and ingredients.
Basically, the flavor that defines this jerky most of all is the black pepper. But I do taste a soy sauce flavor, along with some garlic and onion. There's just hints of tangy lemon and lime, and a little of that classic liquid smokiness.
For the most part, it actually does resemble the flavor of a peppered beef jerky, but with a little of that "soy curl" flavor, which isn't all that bad, and the lack of actual beef flavor.
And being this jerky is dominated by the black pepper, it tends to be spicy, giving me a little bit of a burn in the back my mouth. On my personal heat scale, I'd rate this as a mild-medium (level 2 out of 5).
These are small bite sized pieces, looking almost like a sponge that had been shredded into chunks.
It's dry to the touch, with a sponge-like feel, and a sponge-like chewing.
The chewing texture starts out, spongey, and but chews down easily. It takes on a mushy quality, similar to beef jerky that marinated in papain. Once chewed down to a soft mass, it's largely mushy.
Otherwise, I didn't encounter any strange crunchy, stringy, greasy, bits or pieces. There weren't any surprises, just very consistent, spongey, mushy chew.
In terms of clean eating, it's very clean, leaving no residue on my fingers, though some scant bits of seasoning on my lap.
Morels the Vegan Butcher doesn't sell this jerky online, it only distributes to other stores. But they do have a store list where you can find it, perhaps even buy it online from one of them.
They will, however, sell you case of this jerky, which contains 10 bags, at a price of $35.00. With $15.00 shipping (for four cases), the total comes to $50.00. That works out to $2.00 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.00 per ounce price, it's a good value (assuming you're a vegan snacker). It's clearly better than other soy-based jerky brands I've tried thus far.
I'm giving this an average rating.
Really, I'm evaluating this product simply as a snack, not necessarily against other meat-based products, and not necessarily against other vegan products.
This Judas' Original Jerky from Morels The Vegan Butcher has a great flavor, very much like what you'd find in a peppered beef jerky, with some garlic & onion, a bit of citrusy tang, and even a light soy sauce flavor too. The taste is good enough for me to get some good snackability, and just that alone warrants at a minimum of a 3-star rating.
But the chewing texture feels spongey, and isn't quite what I've come to enjoy as a snacker. Even compared to other soy-based food products (and being half-Japanese I've had many), I can't seem to get over that spongey chewing. But, if you can get over that, it's an awesome snack. Vegan jerky aficionados, on the other hand, can rejoice and relish in a jerky-product that actually tastes good.
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