Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a huge fan of beef jerky. I usually make my own because it’s a lot more affordable, commercial jerky can be very pricey, and so that I can have control over the ingredients. So I was excited to be given the opportunity to taste test some New Primal Beef Jerky and Trail Mix.
Not too long ago I shared a simple paleo-friendly beef jerky recipe that doesn’t use any soy sauce and which has quickly become my favorite recipe and method for making jerky. I’ve also had a lot of feedback from others who have made jerky using this recipe and loved it as much as I do (hat tip to Ralph Provance). I mention this because it has become the standard by which I compare commercially bought beef jerky.
One of the things that attracted me to New Primal beef jerky was their use of high quality grass-fed beef instead of the more commonly used corn-fed beef. I personally try to consume grass fed beef wherever possible, depending on availability and price, but it can be a lot more expensive. Is it worth it? Is there a noticeable taste benefit? That’s hard to say in the case of jerky where the meat has been dried to remove most of the moisture, and has been heavily marinated in deliberately strong flavors. Either way it’s good to see new manufacturers providing grass-fed beef as an option.
Familiar Fruity Flavor
The thin slices of beef jerky were very dark colored, rich in fruity flavor, and extremely lean. Maybe too lean? The pieces in the packet of original flavor beef jerky that I tried were somewhat tough, definitely hard to bite into, and impossible to tear by hand. Luckily the pieces were nearly all small enough to eat whole and only took a few seconds of chewing to soften up and release the flavor.
To me surprise the “original” flavor tasted oddly familiar. Usually I’m surprised at how different jerky brands and flavorings can taste when you first try them. For me the very first piece of jerky is the one that I mentally compare to every other type of jerky I have had, whether it was good or bad.
When I flipped over the packet and took a closer look at the ingredients listed on the back, I quickly realized why it tasted like other jerky I had tried. Their marinade contained a key and potent ingredient that I also use when I make my paleo-freindly jerky recipe – pineapple juice! Great stuff :)
On their packaging New Primal uses that tag line “For the Modern Hunter Gatherer.” When I see the term hunter gatherer being used I typically think that they are trying to be associated as being paleo diet compatible. New Primal beef jerky uses soy which is not strictly allowed on a true pale diet so, despite being delicious, this is not paleo friendly.
Trail Mix – Jerky Plus!
The New Primal Trail Mix packs are built on top of their quality jerky and include just a handful of additional loose ingredients to make each pack more of a complete meal that just a protein snack. They come in three jerky/fruit variations; cranberries, mango, pineapple. Each pack also contains almonds and cashews. If you’ve ever heard of Paleo Packs then these combinations might sound familiar. For good reason, these combos are simple, work great together, and are good for you.
I’ve never taken the final step of combining loose ingredients with my home-made jerky in order to make a trail mix combo for one very important reason – I fear that the nuts are going to go soft from absorbing too much moisture from the other ingredients. Unfortunately that was exactly what had happened with these packets. The cashews and almonds had lost their crunch. The cashews were definitely the worst of the two and were nothing short of soft and squishy, I could easily squeeze them between two fingers. The almonds were better but still not as crunchy as I’d like. For this very reason I prefer to carry my fruit, nuts, and jerky in three separate pouches when I hike and pick a little from each when I want to eat.
Each packet of Trail Mix contains 2.5 oz of combined jerky, fruit, and nuts and is considered one serving. The caloric content ranges between 230-250 cals per packet, so one of these would not be considered a “meal replacement” if I were on the trail. The jerky only packets contain 2 oz of beef, are labelled as having two servings and a combined caloric value of 140 cals.
I guess I’m used to eating a lot of beef jerky, probably because I make so much and it’s nearly always on hand. I personally thought the amount that is in each packet was quite small and could easily be consumed (by me) in one sitting.
The New Primal beef jerky is delicious, there are no two ways about it. The meat is lean and crisp and packed full of fruity flavor that lasts while you chew. Their Trail Mix combos are simple, but complex in flavor. The nuts were soft and not to my liking, but it didn’t stop me from eating them and enjoying the taste combinations. I’d definitely buy New Primal jerky if I can find it in stores, but I’d stick with the plain original jerky and use it to compliment my own nuts and fruits. Have you tried New Primal beef jerky?Disclosure: Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided the complimentary packets of New Primal Jerky and Trail Mix via Deep Creek PR for the purpose of testing and feedback. The author was under no obligation to review the products.