Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just in Time for Thanksgiving...Turkey Jerky Challenge Results Are In!




It's hard to believe the holidays are already upon us with the heat we've been having in San Diego. I love hiking our local mountains so much that I go even with heat advisories. Turkey jerky is my go-to salty snack for hot days on the mountain, but most of it has weird additives. I tried making my own, but just couldn't get it to taste right. So I went back to store-bought. With all the different kinds of jerky on the market, a taste test was in order!


I've been a fan of the taste test ever since I took the Pepsi Challenge on my first date with a blonde surfer named Kurt at the Del Mar Fair in 1986. My mission? Find the yummiest, healthiest jerky for the best value that doesn’t crumble into a million pieces when you stuff it into your pack.


There are several unique varieties of jerky, like basil citrus and lemon pepper. For me, the fancy kinds aren't as appealing to eat on a hike, so I went with teriyaki for the taste test. I also want a good value so I kept the price in the low to mid-range. Super cheap jerkies have nitrites and preservatives, so I threw those out of the taste test. I ended up with 3 brands of low to mid-priced teriyaki turkey jerky with no to low additives. I transferred each contender from its branded bag into clear ziploc bags and numbered the ziplocs for my reference. I asked 10 jerky-loving hikers to sample and rate each jerky. On a 5-point scale (1=Yuck! to 5=Yum!) they rated each brand for taste, texture, freshness, and saltiness (1=not very salty to 5=very salty). I also asked overall which one they'd take on a hike.


THE CONTENDERS

Contender #1:  Sprouts Turkey Teriyaki Jerky


  • $5.99 for 3.25 oz bag
  • Cost:  $1.84 per ounce
  • Calories 90 per ounce
  • Fat 2g, including 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat
  • Cholesterol 35mg
  • Sodium 390mg
  • Carbohydrate 7g (all 7 grams are from sugar)
  • Protein 10g
  • Caramel color and natural smoke flavoring added
  • No nitrates, erythorbate, or added MSG (MSG is naturally occurring in soy sauce, which is an ingredient)
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Made from turkey raised without added hormones. Sprouts also discloses on the bag "federal regulations do not permit the use of added hormones in turkey." Good to know.

Contender #2:  Turkey Perky Jerky, Teriyaki


  • $5.69 for 2.2 oz bag
  • Cost:  $2.59 per ounce
  • Calories 70 per ounce
  • Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 25mg
  • Sodium 330mg
  • Carbohydrate 6g (5 grams are from sugar)
  • Protein 11g
  • Gluten-free
  • No artificial ingredients, preservatives, nitrites, or added MSG (MSG is naturally occurring in soy sauce, which is an ingredient)

Contender #3:  Trader Joe's Natural Turkey Jerky, Teriyaki



  • $6.49 for 4 oz bag
  • Cost:  $1.63 per oz
  • Calories 60 per oz
  • Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 10mg
  • Sodium 270mg
  • Carbohydrate 6g (5 grams are from sugar)
  • Protein 11g
  • Natural smoke flavoring and caramel color added
  • No preservatives, nitrites, or added MSG (MSG is naturally occurring in soy sauce, which is an ingredient)
  • Turkey raised without added hormones. Like Sprouts, Trader Joe's also states on the bag "federal regulations do not permit the use of added hormones in turkey."
RESULTS


THE SCOOP
Perky Jerky came out on top. Hikers really liked the consistency of Perky Jerky, saying it's almost tender enough to throw on top of some rice and have yourself a teriyaki bowl. They also liked the sticky coating of teriyaki sauce on Perky Jerky. Interestingly, hikers' assessment of saltiness (1=not very salty to 5=very salty) didn't correlate with actual sodium content. Not sure what happened there. Perhaps the level of sweetness affects perception of saltiness. Even though hikers preferred Perky Jerky's texture, they said Sprouts is better because it's not sticky and keeps your hands clean. They also said that Perky Jerky would get shredded to bits in their pack, but Sprouts' thicker cut would hold up well.


AND THE WINNER IS...
SPROUTS! It's perfect for hiking, camping, long trail runs, or just for snacking. It's a good value too, priced less than Perky Jerky. Thank you hikers for taking the Jerky Challenge. Now drop, yodel, and give me 50 mountain climbers. Yodel-lady-hoo!!!!

Links:  sprouts.com
           perkyjerky.com 
           traderjoes.com