Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ganache BarPosted: July 21, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, bacon, Chocolate, dark chocolate, Trader Joe's 2 Comments
Some days I wander the aisles of Trader Joe’s, vainly seeking for something that piques my interest, and sometimes Trader Joe’s makes it easy. There was certainly no way in hell, for example, that I wasn’t picking up Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ganache Bar. If there’s such a thing as baiting the trap too richly, this is it – metaphorically and literally. We’re talking about a bar of bold, 70% dark chocolate, injected full of chocolate cream sauce and infused with crispy bacon bits. The resulting trip is as delicious and intense as that description makes it sound.
|What it is:||Dark chocolate bar, with ganache and bacon filling.|
|Price:||$1.99 for a 3 0z. bar|
|Worth it:||Yes! An intensely delicious ride for cheap.|
Not since Trader Joe’s Sweet Srircha Bacon Jerky have I encountered a product name with such scene-stealing panache. Or ganache, as the case may be. Clearly Trader Joe’s has seen what Chuao has been doing with their amazing candy and spice infused Firework bars, and decided they can one-up them at their own game.
The Uncured Bacon Ganache bar is, shockingly, exactly what it says it is. Starting with a rich, semi-sweet (read, “bitter”) 70% dark chocolate, Trader Joe’s has then piped each individual square full of syrupy caramel-and-chocolate-ganache mixture. This makes the candy bar decadent, but what really sets it apart are two things – the heavy touch of smoked salt, and the crunchy bits of bacon peppered throughout. The result is a tongue-top riot of deep bitter chocolate, super sweet caramel, and savory, tasty saltiness. In short, it’s beautiful.
The success of the whole bar depends heavily on the intense ganache filling. I have to admit that despite hearing the word almost constantly nowadays, I didn’t exactly know what a “ganache” was. In it’s basic form, it’s just dark chocolate mixed with cream to create a velvety chocolate sauce. Again, that’s in its basic form. Trader Joe’s modifies their ganache so dramatically that it probably doesn’t deserve the name any more. In addition to the melted chocolate and cream, TJ’s adds a healthy dose of pure, and unheralded, caramel that really ups the sweetness factor.
The real star, however, is the alder smoked salt. Rather than dusting the bar with salt, like they’ve done with their recent dark chocolate and sea salt offerings, the salt seems to be mixed into the ganache itself. The result is a salty-caramel-chocolate syrup filling. Like we saw with Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt grahams, and their Milk Chocolate Jumbles, a little sea salt and chocolate is a winning combination.
That equation adds up here too, where the salt content has be ramped way up and melted into the candy itself. In fact, there’s so much salt in the filling that it tastes more salty than sweet, at least at first blush. I actually liked this, because it balances out the darker, heavier tones of the dark chocolate, and also helps bring a little life to the bacon crumbles.
The bacon, by the way, needs all the help it can get. Despite top billing, the bacon doesn’t make much of an impression in this bar. Its presence is limited to a sprinkling of small crumbles which are baked into the chocolate itself, rather than incorporated into the filling. Whatever savory or salty taste the bacon still has is overpowered by the intense dark chocolate and the saltier ganache. You’ll mainly only notice these nubs as bits of texture, tough flecks of a vaguely meaty substance that show up from bite to bite. While they do lend a very subtle bacon flavor to the candy bar, there’s not really enough to make much of an impact, and the bar would be just as good without it.
Underwhelming bacon performance aside, this is a fine fine chocolate bar. Taken alongside the new Firework Bar, it signals a delicious future for Trader Joe’s chocolate aisle.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, to lovers of intense chocolate everywhere.
Would I Buy It Again: Sure, once I’ve recuperated sufficiently from this one.
Final Synopsis: A tasty bar without much bacon, but more than enough caramel, salt and dark chocolate.
Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast TeaPosted: July 9, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, breakfast tea, Tea, Trader Joe's 6 Comments
I’ve reviewed a good number of teas for this blog. Flavorful teas, and bland teas. Interesting teas and slightly unnerving teas. All of them, however, gentle teas. Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea is not a gentle tea. It’s a hardcore ass-kicker tea, capable of turning a cup of hot water blackish-red in seconds and almost frightening in its intensity.
Clearly this tea is brewed by and for people who live in miserable northern latitudes, who have to drag themselves out of their drafty stone cottages to go cut peat in a bog all day. It’s a straight and strong black tea – grown in the Himalayan Assam Valley and delivered straight to you in a box of 80 tea bags for a mere $2.99. That’s a good deal for any tea – let alone one that is both a) very drinkable and b) strong enough to brew a couple of cups off of.
|What it is:||Strong black tea.|
|Price:||$2.99 for 80 tea bags.|
|Worth it:||Yes. This is good, bold tea.|
Unlike Trader Joe’s much milder, if still strong, English Breakfast Tea, their Irish Breakfast Tea is so bold and robust that all you need to do is steep it for a few seconds. Let it soak for a minute or more and the tea becomes so strong it’s practically belligerent. Full-bodied and earthy, are the adjectives that Trader Joe’s elects to use. Sure, full-bodied in the way you might call Andre the Giant full-bodied. Earthy like you might call the Earth earthy. And that’s good, because it makes it my go to tea when I need to get my butt engaged in the morning.
Is it pleasant to drink? Not exactly. It’s not necessarily a harsh tea, but like any black tea it’s going to turn astringent and bitter after an over-long soak. It’s just that in this case, an over-long soak means ” almost immediately”. Luckily there’s a natural palative to an overly strong Irish tea – a dash of milk or cream. That’s how the Irish themselves take it, mellowed out to a relaxing brownish-tan with a good dash of dairy. Unless you enjoy rocking your tongue with a little extreme tea drinking, it’s how I’d recommend it to you as well. Of course, it’s just as good with any of Trader Joe’s milk substitutes, such as their coconut milk, or soy milk creamers.
For me, this tea was the equivalent of a tattooed biker with a heart of gold. It was a bit of a rough customer at first, and I wasn’t sure I was going to warm up to it’s brash ways, but then I noticed that all the tattoos were hearts that said “MOM” inside. It might take some getting used to, but once you start enjoying Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea, you’ll come to love it’s uniquely strong take on an otherwise mild beverage.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, but be ready with the milk.
Would I Buy It Again: I just finished my first box, and I miss it already.
Final Synopsis: Like three bags of regular black tea at once.
Trader Giotto’s (Joe’s) Bambino Pizza FormaggioPosted: July 8, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, Pizza, trader giotto's, Trader Joe's 1 Comment
Reviewing TJ’s 5 Cheese Greek Spiral the other day got me in the mood for other cheese and dough related, disc-shaped appetizers of Mediterranean origin that are suitable for a variety of toppings. By which I mean pizza! Luckily, Trader Joe’s was able to deliver with their Bambino Pizzas Formaggio – a box of 4, tiny little 5″ cheese pizzas that come frozen and ready to get cooked up in your oven.
|What it is:||Mini cheese pizzas|
|Size:||Four 4oz. pizzas.|
|Worth it:||Yes. This is acceptably tasty pizza.|
Trader Joe’s has had a variety of these pint-sized pizzas for years – however, they’ve recently debuted an eye-catching new box design that ditches the “boring Italian-food look” for an aqua blue that really pops out at you. Hey, it worked on me – good job box designers, you’ve tricked my ape brain again!
Aside from the box, there’s nothing really all that innovative about little cheese pizzas you cook at home. These are basically what you’d expect – medium crust, cheese and marinara sauce pizzas about the size of CD’s. What really suckered me in (as it so often does) was the cool name Trader Joe’s stuck on these. Or should I say “Trader Giotto”.
As I’ve talked about time, and time again, the little noms de cuisine Trader Joe’s utilizes both delights and frustrates me. On the one hand, as a borderline insufferable psuedo-intellectual, I treasure these slyly literate winks. “Ho ho”, I think, not unlike Dr. Hibbert, “I wonder if anyone else caught that”. On the other hand, their consistent lack of consistency drives me right up the wall. Case-in-point, Trader Joe’s Guacamole vs Trader Jose’s Spicy Edamame and Guacamole dip.
Apart from the exotic name, these are actually pretty basic fare – your standard no-fuss, frozen cheese pizzas. However, the execution is pretty much beyond reproach. You’re always going to loose a bit of quality when you scale down a pizza to personal size – you end up with more crust for a lesser amount of sauce and topping (not unlike the miniaturized Trader Joe’s Pot Pies) – however TJ’s does a good job making sure there’s still plenty of rich and tangy marinara sauce, and melty mozzarella cheese to satisfy.
Unlike, say, french fries, pizza is one food that manages to hold up well when frozen. Just pop these in your oven for 11 minutes and they come out bubbling and crispy. It may not be the most exotic thing Trader Joe’s has ever brought to market, but they’re easy to cook and perfectly tasty. And just like our aforementioned 5 Cheese Greek Spiral, they’re easy to dress up with a spring of basil, a few slices of pepperoni, some olives, or you know, whatever. Nothing wrong with that!
Would I Recommend Them: Sure, everyone can agree on mini-pizzas.
Would I Buy Them Again: I don’t see why not.
Final Synopsis: Yum yum, tasty tiny pizzas.
Trader Joe’s Ts and Js Sour GummiesPosted: June 30, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, Candy, Kosher, Trader Joe's Brand, Vegan 3 Comments
Trader Joe’s candy selection is just as interesting and varied as any of their other product selections. In the past we’ve looked at some of their intriguing chocolate offerings (some more successful than others), their honey mint patties, and even their mango gummies. However, out of all of the candies I’ve tried so far, Trader Joe’s new Ts & Js Sour Gummies have got to be my favorite.
|What it is:||Sweet and sour gummy candy.|
|Price:||$1.99 / 7 oz. bag|
|Worth it:||Yes. They’re like better Sour Patch Kids|
Sometimes you want something salty, sometimes you want something sweet, and sometimes you just want to pucker and grimace on something that will scour your taste buds with a coarse blast of citric acid. Trader Joe’s Sour Gummies is their answer to that masochistic desire for sour candy, and a marked upgrade on the only other contender for that slice of market space, the classic Sour Patch Kid.
What you get with these sour gummies is a 7 oz. bag of little letters “T” and “J” in four citrus flavors, dusted by rough grains of cane sugar. Sweet at first, for just a moment, the sugar quickly gives way to a single so-tart-you-love-it punch to the kisser. Trader Joe’s isn’t pulling the punches either – these little candies are every bit as sour as Sour Patch Kids, and then some. After a handful you’ll be ready to put them aside and give your mouth a break for a minute.
With four great flavors, you’ll actually enjoy the punishment. Unlike the vaguely differentiated “flavors” of Sour Patch Kids, Trader Joe’s actually delivers four distinct and interesting flavors – tangerine, Meyer lemon, key lime and grapefruit. Made with real fruit juice, you will be able to distinctly tell each little bite-sized letter apart by taste, if not by color. Best of the lot, in my opinion is grapefruit, which hits you with a kick of that unmistakably bitter grapefruit zest before giving way to the sweet gummy core.
Even better, these candies are vegan, kosher and all natural – right down to being colored by natural vegetable extracts. At only a $1.99 for a bag, what are you waiting for. Drop those Sour Patch Kids off at the orphanage and pick up some of these instead.
Would I Recommend It: Definitely, a great sweet and sour combo.
Would I Buy It Again: Yup.
Final Synopsis: Trader Joe’s Sour Patch Kids.
Trader Joe’s Kale and Cauliflower Curry SaladPosted: June 23, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, cauliflower, curry, kale, raisins, Salad, Trader Joe's, wheat berries 4 Comments
There’s no way in hell this crazy combination of vegetables and spices should work as a salad – and yet it does, and does so beautifully.
|What it is:||A kale, cauliflower, raisin and wheat berry salad.|
|Worth it:||Yes, all this actually works.|
On the surface of things, you might expect a salad made from cauliflower, wheat berries, kale, canola oil and raisins to be a true disaster. None of those things seem like they should work well together – let alone when combined with curry powder – and yet the whole salad executes beautifully.
In fact, this is probably the most daring salad that Trader Joe’s has ever put out. On top of the eponymous kale and cauliflower, you also get a whole army of wheat berries, a scattering of big, sweet golden raisins, a liberal drenching of canola oil and, to top it all off, a “curry” salad dressing that isn’t actually curry flavored, at least not if you expect curry to be at all spicy. A better description would be “arid and pungent turmeric sauce”, because what it lacks in spice or complexity of flavor it makes up for in a potent turmeric punch. And the weirdest part is, I’d go back for seconds.
Honestly, no one is more shocked than me. I’ve been completely grossed out by a couple of Trader Joe’s more recent, “hip and daring”, salad developments – notable their divisive Kale and Edamame Salad, and their offensive bulgur and carrot salad nightmare. What is it that this equally out-there salad gets right?
For me, it comes down to one thing – the wheat berries. Wheat berries are nothing more than whole wheat kernels, and when soaked and added to salads provide a sort of satisfying, chewy toothsomeness and mild nutty flavor. In fact, one of my all time favorite Trader Joe’s salads – Trader Joe’s squash, quinoa and wheat berry salad – makes similar good use of this wholesome grain.
Although they don’t get top billing here, wheat berries make up the bulk of this salad – providing the binding agent that holds together the piquant curried cauliflower and intensely robust kale leaves. In fact, kale is more of an accent vegetable in this salad than the backbone. A few shreds of kale leaves hang out alongside the crunchy cauliflower – deep green, uncooked to the point of toughness, and tasting almost aggressively nutritious. If you’re looking for more roughage in your diet, this kale is eager to provide it.
The cauliflower is its typically mild and roughly textured self, but without the springy, soft wheat berries to pad out the bites in between the two vegetables this salad would be a much less tasty experience. Not to be overlooked, of course, are the raisins. Providing interesting bursts of sweetness to the otherwise beige-tasting affair, the raisins work brilliantly with the tumeric dressing and compliment the mild wheat berries perfectly.
Despite everything that’s going on in this salad, it’s not so much of a taste sensation as it is a texture experience. The flavors are bold, but not overwhelming. Far more notable is the vivid spectrum of textures that play across your tongue from bite to bite. If the thought of slippery wheat berries mixed up with strong ribs of kale makes you shudder, you’ll definitely want to give this one a miss. If you can get past that, however, this is a nutritious and wholly original salad perfect for shaking up your culinary routine.
Would I Recommend It: Cautiously – this salad isn’t going to be for everyone.
Would I Buy It Again: To my own amazement and surprise – I would.
Final Synopsis: There’s no way this outrageous salad should work – and yet it does.
Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers with Black Beans and Roasted CornPosted: May 28, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, black beans, burger, corn, quinoa, Trader Joe's, veggie burger 6 Comments
Here come’s the quinoa again! Yes the International Year of Quinoa, so declared by the goddamn United Nation itself in 2013, stretches on into yet another year as the psuedo-grain’s popularity continues to grow unabated. Case in point, Trader Joe’s surprisingly tasty Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers with Black Beans and Roasted Corn.
What gives you the right to deem something as a “cowboy” food – particularly if that something is a veggie burger made of quinoa? The cowboys were many things, and much falsehood and oversimplification has entered the public consciousnesses regarding these rough riders of the West, but even so it’s safe to say that veggie burgers probably didn’t make up a substantial part of an ol’ cowpuncher’s diet. It seems as far as Trader Joe’s is concerned, if something is spicy and has beans in it it’s a “cowboy” food – case in point Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar Salsa.
Speaking of, Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar Salsa is actually one of the two main ingredients in this burger – the other one being Trader Joe’s Organic Tri Color Quinoa. As the official Trader Joe’s website notes, these two products have been mixed together and shaped into hockey pucks for your unique enjoyment. To my surprise, I actually found myself liking this seemingly slapdash combination more than I had expected.
I’m a bit warm and cold on the whole quinoa craze – it’s a fine seed, eaten in moderation, but when you start putting it in sushi rolls then we have a problem. In this case, however, it seems to work for me – the quinoa lends its unique nutty, nutrient-packed flavor to the toothsome assembly of boiled beans, soft corn kernels and other chopped up veggies (red pepper, onion, tomato and jalapeno).
Tastewise its just right – warm, satisfying, filling and flavorful with a slight spiciness. Burgerwise, it doesn’t quite do as well. Even after preparing it in the oven to the listed specifications, I found the “burger” far more crumbly than you would ever hope to eat on a bun. Compared to Trader Joe’s excellent Veggie Pizza Burger or Veggie Masala Burger, which hold up very nicely, this was a little disappointing. If you tried to cook one on a grill, for instance, it would just crumble through the slats.
I’d actually recommend treating the patty-like form of the burger more as a suggestion than an obligation. Instead of dealing with the hassle of trying to get these onto a bun, just break them up into a salad, or crumble them into a taco. I found the “burgers” worked best with non-traditional condiments as well. Trader Joe’s suggests sliced avocado and salsa, and you might consider adding to that shredded lettuce, hot sauce or sour cream.
This is probably the first heavily quinoa-based dish I’ve ever really liked. The intriguing spiciness, the good mix of roasted veggies, and the crispiness of a good oven-toasting making these quinoa burgers much more than just a dry mouthful. There’s a lot to enjoy in these, jut don’t get hung up on eating them like a burger.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, just not as burgers.
Would I Buy Them Again: I would – these made me some fine tacos.
Final Synopsis: Toasted quinoa and tasty veggies in an inconvenient burger form.
Trader Joe’s Brewed Ginger BeerPosted: May 21, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, Drinks, ginger, ginger ale, ginger beer, Trader Joe's 9 Comments
There’re ginger ales, then there’re ginger beers, and then there’s this. Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew is an intense, carbonated ginger drink unlike anything else I’ve ever had – and I’ve drunk a liter of Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Brew.
There are a lot of types of ginger drinks in the world – ginger ale, ginger beer, this stuff, each one offering its own take on the complex, nuanced spice of ginger. Growing up on the ubiquitous Royal Canadian brand of ginger ale, I remember being absolutely gobsmacked the first time I tried a bottle of Reed’s Jamaican Style Ginger Beer. Never had I suspected that ginger soda could be so intense – never had I dreamed that someone would dare!
Since then I’ve warmed up to the idea of extremely gingery soda. Not a beverage you enjoy so much as explore – a sippin’ drink. The whiskey of the soda world. But even I was taken aback by Trader Joe’s Brewed Ginger Beer – a real ass kicker of a ginger soda that doesn’t let you off the hook just because you wanted to drink something sweet.
TJ’s Brewed Ginger Beer has the same intense ginger flavor of the seasonal Triple Ginger Brew, but adds in a mixture of lemon and lime, as well as a proprietary mix of natural flavorings and extracts – additions that are quite visible in the sediment that settles onto the bottom of the bottle. Not that you’ll be able to pick these flavors out from behind the fierce wall of extra ginger gingeriness that blasts you in the mouth.
However, it’s not just the ginger that makes this drink so unique, it’s the bitterness. Lurking behind the first blush of sweetness and the sharp slap of ginger there is a hard, bitter burn – like a hint of tonic water. That shocker is what sets this brewed ginger beer apart from other’s of it’s ilk. Of course bitterness isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, in this case I actually think it’s a nice touch, adding an extra dimension to the already complex play of flavors without being unpleasant to drink..
Trader Joe’s Brewed Ginger Beer certainly feels like a manly ginger ale, earning the bold nautical imagery TJ’s throws on the label. It’s so manly, in fact, that I can’t help but think about using it as a mixer in alcoholic drinks. Any ginger soda will work for your Dark and Stormy (dark rum and ginger ale), Moscow Mule (vodka and ginger ale) Horsefeather (whiskey and ginger ale) or Ginger Shandy (beer and ginger ale), however Trader Joe’s Brewed Ginger Beer’s complexity and not-too-sweet delivery is a natural choice for adding extra depth to your drink.
This may not be the most quaffable ginger soda in the world, but if you’re looking for a good ginger beer to savor, or an high-class mixer for your cocktails, it’s tailor made for you.
Would I Recommend It: To certain refined palettes, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Would I Buy It Again: Yeah, along with some more dark rum.
Final Synopsis: A strong, slightly bitter ginger beer with a lot of complexity.
Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Sweet StrawberriesPosted: May 5, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, Fruit, strawberry, Trader Joe's 4 Comments
Know who loves a good strawberry? Everybody. Sweet, red, plump, fragrant and delicious – this time of year strawberries are overflowing the shelves of our local supermarkets and piling up at quaint roadside stands.
Know what sucks though? Have you ever brought home a batch of big honkin’ strawberries, only to bite into one and be completely let down. Plump, red and fragrant sure – but just not all that sweet. Certainly not sweet enough to scratch that summertime strawberry itch. You might luck out with a perfectly batch from your local farmer’s market, but supermarkets are notoriously bad about selling you huge strawberries that taste more tart and watery than sweet and delectable.
Enter Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Sweet Strawberries – a direct answer to the millions left wanting by subpar strawberries. These ruby red fruits promise you succulent, sweet supping with their deep red coloration and wonderful fragrance – and it’s a promise they deliver on.
This is not the sort of strawberry that you’re used to seeing in the supermarket, even at a Trader Joe’s. You’ll find them (while they last) in the produce section next to Trader Joe’s two other varieties of strawberry – regular and organic. Both the regular and organic strawberries have the usual bright red color you expect, which makes the deep red of the Premium Extra Sweet Strawberries much more striking. You won’t notice any white patches on these burgundy beauties – they’re dark red from stem to tip.
In fact, they’re a little too dark red. While every batch of strawberries has a few soft spots in it, you’ll notice that most of the strawberries in this “premium” batch are a bit on the soft side. While that may not sound ideal, it’s an unavoidable quality of these sweeter strawberries – the higher sugar content means they have a shorter shelf life and are more prone to going squishy than their firmer, lower-sugar counterparts.
If you don’t mind your strawberries a little on the soft side, they’re well worth the extra thirty cents per pint – these strawberries are notable sweeter and more flavorful. Even the duds in the bunch are a bit sweeter than your ordinary strawberry, while the softer, darker red ones are positively bursting with strawberry sweetness – not a hint of tartness to be found.
While the softer texture may make them a little hard for some people to enjoy straight from the box, they’re certainly ideal for cooking with. Slices of these very sweet strawberries will elevate your shortcake, spongecake or ice cream to premium levels.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, so long as you don’t mind soft strawberries.
Would I Buy Them Again: In a heartbeat. Thirty cents extra is a steal for actually flavorful strawberries.
Final Synopsis: Much sweeter, and squishier, strawberries.
Trader Joe’s Biltong Beef JerkyPosted: April 23, 2015 Filed under: Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 4 stars, beef, biltong, jerky, Snacks, south african food, Trader Joe's Brand 9 Comments
Trader Joe’s has unleashed some strange jerkies on the world already – the unusual salmon jerky and addictive sriracha bacon jerky both spring to mind – but Trader Joe’s new South African-inspired Biltong Beef Jerky has got to be my new favorite. With a more nuanced and flavorful mix of spices, and thicker, more robust slices of beef, this jerky elevates a classic snack to a new level.
Biltong, as the bag will tell you, is from the Dutch bil and tong meaning, literally, “rump strip”. The Dutch name reflects the origin of the recipie. The notion of drying cured meat strips had been native to South Africa since time immemorial – but the arrival of Dutch settlers brought the notion of spicing the meat with black pepper, coriander, sugar, salt and vinegar – putting the jerk into the jerky, as it were.
The result is something extremely beef jerky like… and yet not. At first blush, beef jerky and biltong jerky are damn similar – after all they’re both beef, they’re both spiced and dried – but they vary in small, interesting ways. The first thing you’ll notice is that the biltong is narrow but thick – about half an inch wide and nearly that thick. It’s a much more orderly snack than your usual, raggedy, crumbly pile of wafer thin beef jerky – easier to eat and easier to share.
This same thickness gives the biltong jerky an amazing chewiness. Where ordinary beef jerky tends toward dryness, biltong tends toward juiciness. One strip will give your jaw muscles a full on work out. Once you’ve popped a strip in your mouth, however, you’ll quickly notice something else.
The blend of spices and flavors marinating the biltong is subtly different from most beef jerkies. While Trader Joe’s plays coy with the exact mix in their description – calling it a “family secret” – the result is a taste that is less intense than ordinary beef jerky (which, as we know, often tends toward extreme flavor profiles), and since it hasn’t been smoked the flavor of the meat itself is more apparent. Aside from the expected saltiness of the biltong, there’s a gentle pepperiness along with a faint fruitiness (thanks to the apple cider vinegar used in the curing process) and perhaps even a hint of floral notes – from Trader Joe’s Flower Pepper perhaps?
In any case, the resulting biltong is a whole new take on ordinary beef jerky – with thicker juicer slices, and an equally savory, if more subtle, flavor palette.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, a definite must try for jerky fans – enlightening.
Would I Buy It Again: Absolutely, I love a good jerky.
Final Synopsis: Beef jerky’s slightly more refined older brother.