Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tofurky Jurky - Peppered

Tofurky Jurky - PepperedTofurky is a brand of vegan food, originally meant to mimic turkey, but made from mostly tofu. It got it's start as a Thanksgiving substitute for the real deal, trying to cash in on the vegan food movement.

The brand is owned by Turtle Island Foods of Hood River, OR.

The concept of tofu-based meat is perhaps one of the biggest oxymorons in vegan cuisine. My assumption is that vegans love vegetables, hence the name "vegan". So why would vegetable-fanatics even desire anything meant to mimic meat? Considering how successful Turtle Island Foods has done with Tofurky, I guess they do.

Not to mention it's got to be the furthest thing from being natural. It's got enough ingredients to make a fertilizer scientist wet his pants.

But I digress.

So why would I, a beef jerky lover, would even bother trying tofu jerky? Well, something in the back of my mind told me that if I wanted to be the nation's foremost expert on jerky, I must try it all.


Water, vital wheat gluten, organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), expeller pressed canola oil, natural vegetarian flavors, shoyu soy sauce (water, wheat, non-genetically engineered soybeans, culture), non-genetically engineered corn starch, white bean flour, garbanzo bean flour, cracked peppercorns, lemon juice from concentrate, organic evaporated cane juice, granulated garlic, calcium lactate from beets, cultured dextrose and maltodextrin.


I knew going in that this stuff would not mimic anything close to real beef jerky (or turkey jerky at that), so I tried to keep an open mind. I just wanted to know if this stuff would taste good on its own.


OH - MY - GOD!!!

I took just one bite, only one bite from just one piece, and that's all I needed to know. I don't even want another bite.

This stuff sucks.

If I was a vegan, I would eat real food, like celery, oranges, peanuts, bread. Why on Earth would anyone proclaiming to love all natural foods, would desire to eat anything so foul as this? Are vegans secretly desiring a rib eye steak so badly, that they'll stomach this kind of hellish putridity?

Ok, this stuff kinda tastes like rotten tofu, that's been doctored up with enough salt and spices to make it somewhat plausible. I know what real tofu tastes like, because I've eaten enough it, due to having some Japanese ancestry in my lineage. This is just horrible.

This stuff smells like dog treats. I know, because I have a couple of dogs, and have purchased many varieties of dog treats. I'm telling you, this stuff smells exactly like dog treats.


It offers some chewiness, similar to "formed jerky", where they ground up the floor sweepings of beef, and press it into strips. Except this stuff obviously contains no beef. This stuff crumbles apart in your mouth.

These pieces are also rather sticky to the touch. They leave your fingers with the same dog treat smell that you'd get from tossing out real dog treats.

If you tried to bend these pieces, they break apart.

Tofurky Jurky - Peppered

Tofurky Jurky - Peppered

Product Value

I paid $3.15 for this 2.0 ounce bag at a Sprouts store in Temecula, CA. That works out to $1.58 per ounce, putting this into the average price range.

I'd say that this offers very little value for your money. Albeit that only vegans would eat this stuff, it taste so horrible I just can't see how anyone would want to eat it. My guess is that the original Tofurky, which is the tofu-based turkey, is probably better, or else the company would be out of business.

Take a look at the nutrition label below, and notice this stuff actually contains more fat, and more carbohydrates, than real beef jerky (or even real turkey jerky). If you wanted this for dieting purposes, you're better off with the real stuff.

If you're a vegan, and you want to pack something small, that offers plenty of protein, then pack some trail mix. This stuff just sucks.


I'm giving this a "dog treats" rating.

Horrible taste, horrible consistency, a smell that resembles dog treats, and offering nothing that mimics real jerky in any way, shape or form, Tofurky Jurky sets a new standard for the bottom of the barrel.

(And yes, I gave the rest to my dogs)

Rating: Dog Treats

Buy this online:


  1. I disagree, I totally love this stuff and think it is VERY good. In fact, I like it better then the real stuff!

  2. I have to say, I also disagree. This is by far one of the BEST out there. Much better than the real stuff, and if you think the ingredient list on Tofurky is bad... pick up a slim jim.

  3. I LOVE this stuff!! You are crazy. I have been eating jerky for many many years and I think this stuff is GREAT!

  4. Do you have some kind of tofu/vegetarian fear/complex? Sounds like you were tasting with your head and not your tongue. This shit is delicious. Taste it again, drunk, with a way more open mind or something, forgetting everything you know how what food is "supposed to be." Texture is amazing. Flavor is amazing. Extremely, extremely close to real jurkey. And no kidding about the slim jim cdiddy..

  5. Tofu/vegetarian fear complex?

    Look, I come from Japanese heritage, I was raised on tofu. The Japanese have all sorts of tofu-based snacks, and they all taste great. If anyone can judge tofu-based snacks, it's me.

    Unfortunately, Tofurky doesn't get it. Tofurky tastes really bad. Instead of trying to make a really good tofu snack, they tried to make it taste like meat. And that's irony of Tofurky. Why would a vegetarian/vegan want something that tastes like meat?

    Put emphasis on the goodness of tofu, instead of trying emulate something else.

  6. Steve, just because we're veg*an doesn't mean we hate the taste of meat! Actually, most of us LOVE the taste - but not the cruelty.

    Don't be scared off of vegetarian fake meats because of one try - I know of a lot of brands that are delicious.

    There are many other types out there. Maybe you should try Stonewall's Jerquee or Primal Strips.

    By the way, I've tasted some NASTY real-beef jerky before I was vegetarian. How would you feel if someone tasted real-beef jerky for the first time, got one that didn't taste very good, and swore that ALLLLLLL jerky had to be nasty.

    That's how you reacted.

  7. The above commenter, I grew up in a Japanese household, I've eaten an awful lot of Japanese-made soybean-based foods, snacks, and meat-substitutes, and they all taste far better than Tofurky, Stonewall Jerquee, and the other American-made soy stuff. What I'm saying is that I KNOW FOR A FACT, that tofurky tastes horrible, because I come from a culture that thrives on soy.

  8. I did not enjoy this at all!

  9. This is the BEST jerky substitute I have ever had! Many people choose to be vegan/vegetarian for many reasons. I dont think many people choose it because they love vegetables. I chose to be vegan because I cant stand the thought of killing an animal to feed myself when its not necessary. So please dont generalize us veg's because you didnt do your research!