Monday, April 28, 2008

Golden Island Beef Jerky - Mandarin Orange

Golden Island Beef Jerky - Mandarin OrangeThe Golden Island brand of beef jerky is manufactured by Southern California-based Universal Food Company, and focuses on making asian-flavored beef jerky that mimics favorite chinese food dishes. Their products can be found at select Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, and Costco locations in California and Texas.

This Mandarin Orange variety is meant to mimic the same Mandarin Orange Beef that you might at your local chinese resturant. Upon opening the bag, there is a strong orange scent that permeates out. This jerky is very oily to the touch and requires some finger licking.


The ingredients list shows the following: beef, sugar, mirin wine, orange juice concentrate, pineapple juice concentrate, soy sauce, spices, vegetable oil, salt, pineapple concentrate powder, orange concentrate powder, less than 1% of the following: sodium nitrite cure, sodium erythorbate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Yellow #5.

Note that it does not contain MSG.

The first taste that strikes me is the thick sweetness that indeed gives off an orange flavor of the Chinese kind. There is some tanginess that seemingly continues on forever as you chew and chew. There is some saltiness to it, but it's subtle.

The meat actually reminds me more of chinese-style BBQ pork (which Golden Island also offers). I can't taste a whole lot of the natural beef flavors, but with some chewing you can extract just enough of the taste to let you know that it's somewhere in there.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be real cuts of meat, sliced medium, and presented in medium to large pieces.

I can see quite a bit of gristle, and was able to find some large chunks of fat.

The meat tears apart and chews with ease, but I found another piece that required more chewing effort. But it's not moist. The meat itself is on the dry side, but the layer of oil covering these pieces helps break the fibers apart and makes chewing easy.

Product Value

I paid $5.99 for this 4oz bag at a Fry's Electronics store in San Diego, CA. That works out to $1.50 per oz, within the average price range.

I'd say it offers a good value as a beef jerky. For the most part, it's easy to tear off and chew, and offers plenty of flavor with every chew. The heavy layer of oil can be a little annoying as you have to suck your fingers clean before touching anything else. As a "mandarin orange" variety, it certainly does offer a lot of value with some great taste.

The large streaks of gristle did make eating this jerky a little bit of a fight, but it may have just been the review sample I had.

This product does not come in a resealable bag, so you'll have to finish it all, or find a zip-loc bag to keep it in.

Golden Island Beef Jerky - Mandarin Orange

Golden Island Beef Jerky - Mandarin Orange


I'm giving this an "average" rating.

It's strong point is it heavy flavor, that does indeed mimic something you'd expect to taste at a chinese restaurant. It's for the most part, a soft and tender jerky.

However, the oily touch and the large streaks of gristle (and chunks of fat), kept this from reaching a higher rating. I had one piece where I had to nibble the meat off the gristle, and throw the gristle away. This just lessens the enjoyment of eating beef jerky.

Otherwise, it does offer some good snackability. The strong flavor kept me reaching for more.

Rating: Average

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