Jerky Report

Nov 29 2009

D.Jays Mild Pepper Soft Biltong

Mild Pepper Biltong Packet

Mild Pepper Biltong Packet

Today I tried something new. I saw this product hanging next to other Jerky at my local servo and thought it sounded pretty tasty, but I’d never heard of Biltong before so I gave it a miss to start with.

Later, I visited the company website and saw that it’s a South African dish, so I asked a South African friend if she’d like some and she was over the moon!

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff. I bought some of the hard variety for her, and some of the soft for myself. The packet I opened today is the soft biltong.

Opening the packet and taking a nice long smell rewards you with a rich meaty aroma, like a steak or a rich beef pie. It smells good, and strong.

The biltong is cut in smallish chunks, perfect bite size nibbles actually. The hard biltong was a long rope of meat and I’m guessing they simply slice that up to package the soft biltong like this. There’s very little seasoning visible, and they market it as marinated and dried so I wasn’t expecting very much. It’s certainly not oily, and unlike the soft commercial jerky it’s dry. There’s an oxygen absorbing sachet in the pack to keep it fresh and the use by shows a fairly short shelf life.

So how does it taste? The initial flavour is very mild. With no seasoning to come of on your fingers, there is none for your tongue either. But start chewing and you ge a very nice meaty flavour. The pepper here is almost non-existant to my chilli tempered taste buds and I’d say this would be suitable for all tastes.

A plate of biltong pieces.

A plate of biltong pieces.

The texture as you chew is fantastic, the meat has a lot of structure but no stringyness, breaking down pretty much like a steak would in your mouth. As you suck and chew there is a bit of salt, no sweetness. In fact the salt probably outguns the pepper just a little bit.

Before and during writing this review I’ve had the plate of biltong sitting next to me, and I just can’t stop putting it in my mouth. The pepper has stayed consistent, not building up., and I haven’t encountered any gristle or sinew.

I’m really quite impressed with this and will certainly buy it again!

Before I wrap up, a couple of negatives. It does contain the following additives: Flavour 621, which is Monosodium L-glutamate (MSG), Preservatives 202 and 250 which are Potassium sorbate and Sodium nitrite respectively. Adding MSG to food seems just a little old fashioned, surely we can enjoy it without!

OK, so that’s Biltong. A tasty meat treat indeed, good texture, strong meat flavours and a very high moreishness. This would go well with a Pale Ale and if you believe the marketting message on a pizza or in a quiche! It’s good value, an 80g pack for not much more than I paid for 25g of Jerky.  I think it’s Damn Fine.

Price AUD$6.95 / 80g bag ($8.69/100g)

Nutrition Information
Avg Qty / 100g
Energy 1245kj
Protein 55g
Fat, Total 7g
– Saturated 2g
Carbohydrate, total 3g
– sugars 3g
Sodium 1700mg
Iron 8.8mg
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Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)

Nov 27 2009

Territory Jerky – Hot Beef Jerky

Hot Beef Jerky Packet

Hot Beef Jerky Packet

Again, it’s ‘The Natural Taste of The Territory” whatever that means. I’m onto my second packet of beef jerky for the night, this one a spicier variety that I’m very familiar with. It has been a while however, and I sure wasn’t thinking about critiquing the stuff last time I hoed into a packet.

The smell of this was definitely better than the camel. A meaty, earthy smoked aroma which reminded me more of a good campfire than the random burning of a bushfire. Pulling it out of the packet it’s almost as dry as the camel, that is to say, this is a very dry jerky. (Dry enough that take a bit between your fingers and you can crumble it easily) You can see the seasoning coating the meat, but it’s not powdery and doesn’t really come off on your fingers.

I’ve had a drink, rinsed the mouth out and am ready to taste this jerky, I can see that I’m not having a proper dinner tonight! Anyway, for the firsy piece I just sit it on my tongue, let the flavour develop. Wait… flavour… I’m expecting some here, but I get nothing!

Again, this jerky doesn’t release it’s flavour without a bit of prompting. As my saliva soaks in there’s a mild tickle of spice on my tongue, but if I wasn’t expecting it I may not even have noticed it.

I’m hoping here that this will have a bit more structure when I chew, and it does. A bit. It’s fairly fibrous but holds together a little better than the camel did. Not through a difference in smoking techniques I’d say, more the natural characteristic of beef over camel.

Territory Hot Beef Jerky

Territory Hot Beef Jerky

To be honest, it’s still a bit like chewing cardboard. My good memories of Territory Jerky are quickly being dashed. Anyway, the flavour starts to come out now. I chew on a second piece and it builds up a little. To me, it’s mild to very mild, even after a few pieces, but I know that anyone without a taste for spice would probably call it mild to hot, especially if you’re popping these in your mouth one after the other.

You sort of need to. They are quickly broken down, and the flavour is actually a little moreish so you may actually want to pop another in your mouth. Don’t chew them too long though or the fibres become too prevalent.

As I go through the packet I do detect a slight sweetness, and I think if you were drinking a light flavoured summer beer it might compliment this rather well. As I finish the packet I’m not feeling as negative about this as I was the camel.

That’s about all I have to say on this one. Summing up, a very dry, mild to hot jerky, might be ok with a cold beer but wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s also fairly high in salt, though to me the flavour isn’t too salty. It’s… OK.

Price AUD$4.50 / 25g bag ($18/100g)

Nutrition Information
Avg Qty / 100g
Energy 1420kj
Protein 70.8g
Fat, Total 4.5g
– Saturated 1.8g
Carbohydrate, total 3.2g
– sugars 1g
Sodium 2100mg
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Rating: 3.8/5 (8 votes cast)

Nov 27 2009

Territory Jerky – Camel Jerky

Camel Jerky PacketI’ll warn you straight away, this first review is not a glowing one. After deciding to put this site together I stopped of at a servo on the way home which I know has a pretty decent range of Jerky. I grabbed a packet of each of the Australian Territory Jerky flavours and headed home.

I started with the Camel Jerky because I knew it would be a mild flavour and not knock my taste buds for a six like I expect the hotter varieties to.

Now Territory Jerky is an old favourite of mine. In fact I’ve always considered their Jerky to be the real stuff, not like these over processed, foil wrapped abominations from snack food companies. So opening the packet the smell that greeted me was familiar.

The Camel Jerky has a very slight gamey smell. Possibly just my nose picking up on the unfamiliar meat, there is also a smell of burning, not so much a smoked smell, more a bushfire has passed through here recently smell. But it’s not bad, and like I said, is quite familiar and had my mouth watering.

Of course being a review it needed photographing first, so the moment was delayed.

Camel JerkyThe meat is very dry, and sliced fairly thinly but the chunks are generally of a good size. This by the way is it, these are 25g packs and you never seem to get quite enough. The seasoning stays put and I dont have to lick my fingers clean here, definitely no oiliness.

So how does it taste? Mild. That pretty much sums it up, the seasoning (Soy, Salt, Lemon Juice & ‘Spices’) is very mild and without chewing there’s very little flavour. No sweetness at all.

A mild flavour isn’t all that bad, but the real disappointment here comes when you chew. The jerky just crumbles like sawdust in your mouth, disintegrating very quickly. You can snap this in half like a piece of bark, and to be honest, that’s pretty much the experience you get, it’s like eating a piece of flavoured bark.

There is a mild meaty flavour if you really suck on it and a slight saltiness, but the meat has no structure and you’re left wondering if it’s really worth moving on to the next bit. Which I did of course, but the experience didn’t change, except perhaps for the gristle in the middle that was like chewing on an old shoelace.

So that’s it. Australia’s unique (possibly) contribution to the Jerky world, my first review, and nothing that deserves much acclaim at all. It’s pretty high in salt, expensive and tasteless, This gets a ‘Pretty Poor’ rating from me.

Lastly, the facts and figures.

Price AUD$4.50 / 25g bag ($18/100g)

Nutrition Information
Avg Qty / 100g
Energy 1392kj
Protein 68.6g
Fat, Total 3.7g
– Saturated 1.5g
Carbohydrate, total 5.4g
– sugars 1g
Sodium 2400mg
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Rating: 2.7/5 (7 votes cast)

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