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I found something interesting while grocery shopping this weekend, Primal Strips: Meatless Vegan Jerky. What the what?! I couldn’t pass them up. I went into the taste testing process extremely skeptical, and honestly, I am kind of blown away. After purchasing our snacks, I was trying to keep my expectations low (I mean, veggie jerky; come on), but I was really excited. I ate a lot of jerky before I became a vegetarian, and I assumed it would be one of those things for which I’d never find a good replacement. We tried three of the four flavors they had at our local Whole Foods: Hickory Smoked, Thai Peanut, and Texas BBQ (I passed on the Mesquite Lime).
First of all you have to remember that this is not going to taste like your standard beef jerky. Like most of the other vegetarian/vegan products I tried, it’s good on it’s own, but if you go in thinking it’s going to magically taste like meat, you’re going to be disappointed.
Hickory Smoked – texture wise, this reminded me a lot of a Slim Jim. While a little toothsome, it shredded as you pulled it apart. It definitely had the smokey flavor you’d want from jerky and a bit of sweetness to balance out the flavor.
Thai Peanut – probably the most “jerky” like of all three texture wise. The flavor was really subtle, and I may not have been able to identify it as “Thai Peanut” if it hadn’t been stated on the packaging.
Texas BBQ – very similar texture to the Hickory Smoked (probably because they are both made of soy). Nice rich Bar-B-Q flavor, definitely the sweetest of the bunch, although not enough to be off-putting.
Overall – All of the flavors ended up being a little “wet”, I’m not used to having to wipe sauce off my fingers when I eat jerky. While not exactly like meat, the bases were pretty close texture/flavor-wise to chicken or turkey jerky.
I would absolutely buy these again. Each stick is 10 grams of protein, and it’s a perfect snack for keeping in your desk at the office or in your purse or briefcase. Andy gallantly offered to help me taste test, and he said even as a meat eater he’d definitely buy these again. Andy’s favorite flavor was the Thai Peanut; mine was a toss up between the Texas BBQ and the Thai Peanut. Still, if neither of those flavors were available the next time I went to the store, I would pick up the Hickory Smoked and not feel like I was missing out at all.