Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jerky Direct - Organic Beef Jerky - Sweet & Spicy

Jerky Direct - Organic Beef Jerky - Sweet & SpicyJerky Direct sells jerky through a multi-level marketing system, similar to the way companies like Arbonne, Partylite, and Medifast operate, where products are represented by a salesman and sold directly to consumers. To buy Jerky Direct, you have to contact an authorized sales rep, visit their website, or find them at street fairs and farmers markets.

Jerky Direct is manufactured by Intermountain Natural, LLC, based out of Idaho Falls, ID. In fact, the two companies were started by the same guy, Roger Ball. Ball also founded another direct marketing company, "Melaleuca", which sells health and wellness products.

All of Jerky Direct's products are manufactured by Intermountain Natural, the same company that makes meat snacks for Golden Valley Natural, as well as jerky for store brands like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market. I've reviewed jerky for all of those brands here on Best Beef Jerky, and it's all largely the same stuff, just different labeling. Though, I haven't had these "beef steak sticks" before.


Organic beef, organic evaporate cane juice, water, organic soy sauce, organic flavorings, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, organic paprika, natural smoke flavoring.


The tastes I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a good deal of sweet flavor, as well as a red pepper flavor, perhaps cayenne pepper. In the chewing, I get some salt flavor, and then some more of the sweet and red pepper flavor.

Right off the bat, this jerky does have a fair amount of spiciness, which I admit surprised me. I remembered eating some Golden Valley Natural, Sweet & Spicy beef jerky, which is also made by Intermountain Natural, and I expected this stuff from Jerky Direct to taste exactly like that. But it clearly has a more intense level of spiciness.

As a sweet & spicy variety I'd say it does live up to that billing. I get a medium-level of sweetness from the surface and throughout the chewing, while there is a clearly identifiable spiciness to this. It seems to taste more like cayenne pepper. On my "hot scale" I'd rate it as medium, though others might see it as medium-hot.

Considering this is organic beef jerky, I don't get any natural meat flavors. That's a disappointment in my book, for one because I really like getting lots of natural meat flavors in jerky, and two because with an organic beef product you'd expect to taste beef the way nature intended it to taste.

The salt intensity in this is rather light, just enough to be noticed.

The soy sauce listed in the ingredients is hardly noticeable.

Overall, the dominant flavor of this jerky seems to be the sweetness, with the spiciness being second-most dominant, and the light saltiness coming in third.

Meat Consistency

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

It's more on the dry side, but very much soft and tender. I found it easy to tear apart, and easy to chew.

The chewing texture has some steak-like, fibrous, quality to it, but just enough mushiness to remind you this isn't exactly steak.

In terms of cleanliness, this jerky leaves some tiny fragments on my lap, and it also leaves some powder on my fingers which I think might be the red pepper. But it's seems pretty lean; I found no pieces of fat, or chewy connective tissues.

Snack Value

Jerky Direct sells this organic sweet & spicy variety at a price of $12.00 for two 3oz bags. That works out to a price of $2.00 per ounce, putting this on the border between expensive and average.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a fair value. It has some snackability to it, but not a strong one. I can see myself reaching for more, but I don't see it difficult to resist. It doesn't offer an impressive taste, but just good enough to keep a jerky snacker pacified.

As a sweet & spicy variety, it presents a decent value because I do get a considerable amount of sweet and spicy flavors. It's only a decent value because of this higher $2.00 per ounce price. If priced lower, then the value becomes better and is worthwhile buying.


I'm giving this an average rating.

While it does have some snackability to it, it's not very snackable. It's not something that I find hard to resist. It's not a good tasting jerky, but it doesn't taste bad. Combined with the easy to eat consistency, it's just enough to keep me eating some more. But it's the fact that this jerky does a good job of living up to its sweet & spicy billing that strengthens the average rating.

Aside from that, the taste is somewhat bland. I don't get much flavor complexity out of this other than sugar, red pepper, and salt. The fact that there's no natural meat flavors in this forces this jerky to rely on that trio of seasonings, and well, it's just not an impressive collection of flavors.

The chewing texture is not exactly great either.

Overall, it's just enough to be snackable, but mostly satisfies as a sweet & spicy jerky, and nothing beyond that.

For a good companion beer with this, try a brown ale.

Rating: Average

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