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Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky

June 13, 2011

You’d think, working in a health food store, that I’d have an abundance of vegan treats for lunch. And you’re right, I do. My problem is that I can only order a Very Veggie Stuffed Sandwich with no tomato so many times before I admit that I’m in a lunch rut. Today I was determined to escape the confines of sammie hell and try something new. While moseying around hopelessly I realized I was being watched by an older gentlemen nibbling on a piece of jerky. I recognized him as the man who comes through my check stand and hands me an empty wrapper of, you guessed it, jerky. Vegan jerky to be exact. Curious yet? I was.

The people at Primal Spirit Foods run a line of meatless vegan jerky simply called Primal Strips. Its contents range from wheat gluten to soy, even shiitake mushroom. These snacks come in six flavors (though my store only carried five) and are high in protein, non-GMO, vegan, and even kosher.  I brought home Thai Peanut, Hickory Smoked, Teriyaki, Hot & Spicy, and Texas BBQ. None of which honestly looked very promising. I mean it’s vegan jerky, something about that is already contradicting itself…more so than other faux meat products in an odd way. Lets hope mystery jerky nibbler has decent taste.

They should really call these things Primal Strips: Boyfriend Proof, because mine couldn’t for the life of him tear these things open. That’s not to shine any negative light on the packaging, my boyfriend just happens to have a chronic case of permanent butterfingers, I opened them almost effortlessly. He was impressed.

Lets talk about flavors. Or, when it comes to Thai Peanut, lack there of. That’s a good place to start.

Thai Peanut: Easily the worst of the bunch. Bland, very wet, and the undesired wheat gluten taste came through loud and clear. Smelled of peanuts but not a whole lot of Thai. On the plus side this made for a great dog treat.

Teriyaki: Only slightly better than Thai Peanut and shared similar problems. Sauce lacked teriyaki flavor and smelled very dull. Texture was tough but not in a very jerky way.

Hot & Spicy: This was the only mushroom jerky. It was very dense and looked different from the others. The outer surface was protein bar-esque but had the mouth feel very similar (or at least from what I remember) to a Slim Jim. I can’t say if this is exactly a good thing, but it made this jerky slightly more appealing than the previous two.

Hickory Smoked: Immensely better than it’s fellow faux meat treats. A soy based strip with a smokey barbecue sauce made for a snack that I quite enjoyed, though I can’t say I was a fan of the heavy liquid smoke aroma. It’s texture was something more along the lines of jerky, which I’m assuming only soy can accomplish.

Texas BBQ: This was the flavor mr. jerky nibbler recommended to me, his clear favorite and I have to say it’s mine as well. It had a sweet barbecue taste and the texture was by far the most jerky like. It, along with the Hickory Smoked flavor are both gluten free and soy based. I guess when it comes to vegan jerky soy really has the upper hand.

Final thoughts? Primal Strips Meatless Jerky is far from perfect. The flavors were too hit or miss, the misses in particular being inedible. The hits were nothing extraordinary but they were pretty good. Still, next time I think I’ll stick to my usual Very Veggie Stuffed Sandwich with no tomato.

Price: $1.29 each
Place: Jimbo’s…Naturally!

  • Thai Peanut: 0.5/5 (that half a point comes from dog appeal)
  • Teriyaki: 1/5 (again, mostly dog appeal)
  • Hot & Spicy: 2/5 (edible texture, still gross)
  • Hickory Smoked: 3.5/5 (soy protein, gluten free, smokey)
  • Texas BBQ: 4/5 (actually pretty good)
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