It’s not every day that jerky shows up on your doorstep for a taste test. But manufacturers reach out to us frequently, and the pitch from The New Primal was a little different than most. “Not only is the the healthiest jerky in the world, but it tastes delicious!”
Big claims there. I’ve never thought of jerky as a health food, but it’s definitely been a backpacking staple for me. I always cringe when I pick up those red-and-black packages, knowing I have to swap chewy for protein. I’m never that disappointed in the flavor – except for the salt content – but the texture. Usually, it ends up cut into very small pieces with the Swiss army knife and tossed into whatever dinner is for the evening. Or I’ll opt for pre-cooked bacon. Or tuna packets. But jerky, basically a way to preserve meat so you don’t have to refrigerate it, has been a mainstay of backpackers and campers for years, and it is what it is. I didn’t think the texture of jerky could change.
I was wrong. The package from The New Primal doesn’t look like something you’d find in the jerky section of the local convenience store. I enjoy using rosemary in my cooking, but dates, not so much. And frankly, I was afraid that chicken jerky would just taste like tough chicken. Not so. The dates are used instead of honey to keep the glycemic index down, which is important to me. The other natural ingredients include free-range chicken (no GMOs), pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, ground rosemary, ginger powder, granulated garlic, sea salt, and lemon juice. No funky preservatives, all natural.
And dang, it was good. So good that I when I finally broke it open at lunchtime, I almost didn’t pass it around. But they tried it too, and liked it. I finished it off just like that. No, that wasn’t hiker hunger. It was day two and our second break of the day. It was just plain good. The texture was smooth, almost soft. Not at all what I expected from a jerky, so a surprise and delight.
Other flavors in their line include Classic and Spicy beef jerky and Classic free-range turkey jerky. Meat sticks come in uncured bacon, habenero pineapple, barbecue, and cilantro-lime flavors. They’re sold at Whole Foods, or you can find them online, where signing up for their emails nets you a discount code for your first order.