Sunday, October 26, 2008

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Sweet & Spicy

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Sweet & SpicyWhen so much organic and "all natural" jerky in this country is made by Intermountain Natural, LLC, a beef jerky reviewer like me can't seem to get away from the stuff. The Idaho Falls, ID-based company makes that type of jerky for several store brands, including the "Golden Valley Natural" brand. Golden Valley Natural is actually a sister company to Intermountain Natural, being founded by the same guy, Roger Ball.

Golden Valley Natural was launched in 1999 and offers jerky in both "organic" and "all natural" styles. The All Natural line, which I'm reviewing here, contains no added hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, MSG, or artificial ingredients.

Intermountain Natural makes jerky for several store brands, including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's. For those stores that want to offer jerky appealing to the health food consumer, but are not yet ready to do private labeling, the manufacturer offers the Golden Valley Natural brand. Many online stores like have carried Golden Valley Natural as well.


Buffalo, sugar, water, soy sauce, flavorings, apple cider vinegar, salt, paprika, smoke flavoring, citric acid.


The first taste from the surface of these pieces is a medium-level sweetness, with some slight smoky aroma. Moving into the chewing, I can get a bit of saltiness, and a few extra flavorings.

Those few extra flavorings is hard to discern, maybe some kind of chili powder. It's very faint, however.

For being a sweet & spicy variety, it's got a fair amount of sweetness on the surface the pieces, but almost no spiciness. I can get a faint tingle from some kind of spice in there, but I would not call this hot at all. It's actually very mild.

I taste no natural meat flavors. None. Zip. Nada. But being preservative free, it has a rather fresh taste.

It's not very salty either. Folks like me who don't like heavily salted jerky will find this having a perfect amount of saltiness.

The predominant flavor of this jerky is the medium-sweetness off the surface, followed by a slight bit of smoky aroma, and then the ever-so-slight bit of spice flavoring. Like with all the other jerkies made by Intermountain Natural, this stuff has very little taste, but doesn't necessarily taste bad.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be cuts of whole meat, sliced medium to thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

It's a soft & tender style of jerky, being semi-moist. I find it easy to tear apart, and easy to chew. It doesn't necessarily chew like real steak, however. It has a softened consistency, with some pieces going so far as being somewhat mushy.

It's somewhat clean, leaving my fingers mostly without residue except for just a little bit of red powder off the surface.

I also found a good deal of fat on these pieces. The fat didn't really add much to the taste, however. I also found a couple pieces with gristle, though still soft enough chew without notice.

Overall, it's a fair meat consistency, not really providing a steak-like chew, and a good deal of fat, though still being easy to eat.

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Sweet & Spicy

Golden Valley Natural - Buffalo Sweet & Spicy
Product Value

You can buy this Golden Valley Natural Sweet & Spicy buffalo variety from at a price of $38.86 for eight packages of 3.5 ounces each. That works out to a price of $1.38 per ounce, making this an average priced buy.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it offers a fair value at that price. Actually, it's only because of that lower price would it be a fair value. Otherwise, this jerky offers little taste satisfaction. The fact that it's easy to eat, and doesn't taste bad, gives it some snackability.

As a sweet & spicy variety, it offers a fair value as well. It's pretty much only a sweet variety. I really don't see this as being spicy. If you love the foods that are both sweet and spicy, I think you might be disappointed in this purchase. But if you like sweet jerky with just a touch of spice, then maybe it's a better value.

And as far as being a buffalo jerky is concerned, there's just no taste of the natural meat flavors in this, and that softened texture doesn't provide you with a steak-like chew. You'll have to decide if that's worth the money.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

It's saving grace is that this jerky doesn't taste bad, and that it's easy to eat. Otherwise, it provides very little flavor, only a medium-level sweetness and a tad bit of spice.

The level of fat and gristle was a also concern for me if I spent money on this. I think, however, that's just a hit-or-miss issue because I've had other jerky varieties from Golden Valley Natural that didn't have any of this. Even then, I didn't find that provide any chewing issues.

If you can manage to find this jerky at the same price I noted above, or lower, it might be worth having as part of high-protein-low-carb diet. It's very low in fat, at just 3.5gm for the whole bag, and contains no sodium nitrite.

But if you're going to have a beer with this, try a brown ale.

Rating: Fair

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