Snack Review: Joey D’s Original ‘Gourmet’ Beef Jerky
Joey D’s Jerky is freaking awesome.
I don’t know how else to put it. Yes, I may be prone to using hyperbole with the frequency of a 13-year old girl at a Jonas Brothers Concert, but let me set the record straight right now and tell you that this is some of the best jerky I have ever tasted. As good as Oberto’s new Pork BBQ Jerky? Tough to say, as the comparison between pork and beef remains one of apples to oranges. But in terms of pure, unadulterated beef jerky flavor, I feel confident in stealing a line from MC Hammer and saying that the big boy beef jerky makers just can’t touch this small business success story.
Joey D’s jerky is the product of Joey DiSalvo, a self-made jerky maker who turned his “hobby” for making beef jerky into a full-time career after working as an “inventory control analyst” (whatever that means) for Northrop Grumman in the late 1990s. Today, Joey D’s is a full-time jerky business based out of Sanford, Florida, and claims to make “gourmet jerky” from top round beef and a selection of “premium spices.”
While Joey D’s makes four flavors in all – Original, Hot, Teriyaki, and Tangy – I chose to sample the company’s ‘Original’ flavored beef jerky for review. ‘Original’ flavored jerky can be a contentious issue amongst beef jerky fans. Done right, they exhibit and even heighten the natural flavor of tough cuts of beef such as top round, while done incorrectly (as they so often are) they become stringy and bland, with little added flavor to fall back on.
Joey D’s jerky, I am happy to report, falls in the former category. The first thing I noticed about the jerky was the aroma, which smelled like a combination of Worcestershire and Soy Sauce. The cuts of meat themselves are almost flawless – pristine and uniform with no noticeable markers of gristle or fat. There is a fair amount of “powder” or seasoning on the meat, yet it remains remarkably moist and easy to chew, as if it has never been packaged and shipped at all. Fresh is overly cliché in today’s food blogging scene, but describing this jerky as anything but would be a downright lie.
The flavor is exceptional and well balanced. I can really taste the meat itself, something I don’t get with a lot of jerkies. The Soy Sauce and Worcestershire combination serve as the main flavor component, and both do an excellent job at giving the meat a slight sweetness that doesn’t deprive it of its natural “red meaty” flavor. There is a hint of black pepper in the background, yet it too is well balanced with the meat’s other components, including the sodium content, which is welcomed and not overpowering. I even pick up some of the anchovy paste (one of the flavoring used in the ingredients list) as I savor the jerky, which has that hard to describe “umami” taste without the controversy of using chemical flavor enhancers (which, personally, I am not against.)
This jerky has a spotless ingredient list and outstanding nutritional profile, yet in terms of its overall attributes both of these factors pale in comparison to the taste and texture. At $3.00 per 1.75 oz package this jerky is a bit on the pricier side (especially if you factor in shipping) but I find the cost more than acceptable given the level of quality and outstanding taste. If you’re a true jerky fan and can appreciate the natural flavor and texture of ‘homemade jerky,’ than Joey D’s has got to be considered a must buy!
- Pros: Outstanding texture and flavor. Great balance between meat, seasonings, and salt. Healthy as heck. Image of Pirate guy remains intimidating yet oddly comforting. Yes, it was the best beef jerky I have ever tasted.
- Cons: Yes it’s high in sodium, but it’s jerky…We ain’t reviewing carrot sticks here people!
GrubGrade: 9.50/10 (GrubGrade Hall of Fame)
Price: $3.00 per 1.75 ounce package
Nutrition Facts – Joey D’s Original Jerky
Serving Size: 1 ounce
Fat Calories: 22.5
Total Fat: 2.5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Total Carbs: 2g