I’ve recently developed a love for jerky. It’s got a lot to do with the need for snacks on hikes, trips, long days at work, or midnight snacks. It’s growing into an obsession as I find new brands (I don’t think I’m the only one falling in love–jerky is now popping up everywhere). I’m learning about the process and developing cabinet staples I wouldn’t have expected us to have a year ago. Why? I have always felt jerky was really high in sugar, and we work to limit sugar in the household as much as possible when it comes to daily consumption. It all started with some jerky I found at Costco–it was Korean BBQ flavor and was deliciously sweet–we treated it a lot like a sweet treat/dessert (meat dessert, gross?). Then I met Mike, the owner and founder of Shurky Jurky–he turned my jerky world upside-down.
Here’s why–it doesn’t look, chew, or taste like the jerky I’ve had in the past. It’s much dryer, brittle really–it sort of is reminiscent of fruit leather in appearance but it’s so dehydrated that when you first bite into it you think–oh, this is different…then your saliva mingles in and flavor punches you in the face. I love chewing it for a couple of minutes, extracting everything out of it I can. I wanted to show you a side by side to my dessert jerky so you can see the difference in two products.
The jerky I’ll use as my standard is by Golden Island–it’s Korean BBQ flavor (both samples I’m comparing are pork). I purchased it at Costco and it runs about $22/lb.
Here’s a visual comparison
(Ingredients: Pacific NW free-range pork, Bragg Liquid Aminos or coconut aminos, fresh pineapple, vinegar, anchovy paste, various spices including black pepper, cayenne pepper, guajillo chili pepper, onion, garlic, tamarind, and smoked paprika).
(Ingredients:Pork, Sugar, Water, Korean Inspired Seasoning (Sugar, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce [Fermented Soy Beans and Salt], Natural Flavor), Brown Sugar, Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, May Contain Rice), Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Chili Powder (Red Pepper, Salt), Sesame Oil. Contains: Soy, Sesame Seed)
Shurky Jurky’s Jerky comes in different cuts, which makes for some fun variety–the pictured is City Slicker. Cowboy is slightly thicker & drier meat cut with the grain for an old-fashioned style chew. City Slicker is slightly thinner & tenderer meat sliced across the grain for a more contemporary style snack. Sugar levels differ slightly between the jerky’s, as Shurky’s has 3g per 1 oz serving and Golden Islands’ contains 5g per 1oz serving. One thing that’s difficult to compare is quality–mostly because there isn’t a lot of information about where big box jerky (or Golden Islands in this example) gets its meat. Shurky Jurky‘s meat claims to be from PNW farms, raised on non-GMO (and hormone-free) feed. It has no sugar added, and more importantly, you know what all the ingredients are. That said, for the quality, the price is definitely higher. You pay for good quality–a pound of their pork jerky is going to run you $50 (lucky you though as there’s no sales tax!). The flavor and texture alone make it worth trying, and small bags are available for $10. My favorite item to note about Shurky Jurky is that you won’t find any of those gross silica packs in your jerky–it’s dehydrated to the point where you don’t need “fresh packs” and (in my opinion) this means less overall chemical additions.
In the hopes that my jerky journey continues–let me know if you have a favorite jerky you indulge in within the comments!