Knowing my love of all things red meat Cinabar passed me these packets which were very kindly sent to us to try. Produced by Jack Link's Meat Snacks this Original Beef Snack, described as a "tasty strip of select beef - seasoned, cooked & dried", I immediately thought this beef snack was akin to beef jerky. I tried beef jerky once before, bizarrely accepting a piece from an over generous stranger on a train on the way back from a shopping trip. I'm not afraid to say that I absolutely hated it. It was bone dry, sucking all the moisture out of my body as I tried to eat it at the same time as almost pulling my teeth out as I tried to chew it. I reckon that it was akin to trying to eat a piece of an old leather boot. And I mean old as in long worn out, fished from the bottom of a stagnant pond and then dried in the sun, sliced and wedged together in a packet and sold at a premium price. Suffice to say that when Cinabar showed me a packet of this Jack Link's Meat Snacks Original Beef Snack, I may have worried a little! However perhaps I could be wrong about this Beef Snack...?
Jack Link was established in 1885, so they must know what they're doing by now surely? The packet stated the snack is made with "quality beef", as opposed to poor quality! This quality beef is then finely chopped, seasoned, slow cooked and smoked. What did confuse me a little was that on the back of the packet it stated "100g Beef Snack is made from 142g beef". Cinabar explained that the beef would be dried and compressed to remove all the moisture from it to make it 100g. Presumably drying would be done throughout the cooking and smoking process, and compressing could be undertaken by making a surviving cow sit on it after cooking. Jack Link certainly take care in preparing this beef snack.
"So what does it taste like?" I hear you ask. Well I opened the packet and was first hit by a rather smoky smell mixed with beef. The long slim piece of beef had a reddish tint to it. I took a tentative bite and was surprised how succulent it was and also how moist it was, or at least how moist my mouth was with every bite. The Beef Snack certainly didn't dry me out like that first taste of beef jerky. It was chewy, smoky, beefily tasty with light hints of onion and garlic. I honestly found this Beef Snack a flavoursome moreish treat that renewed my faith in beefy snacks. I was rather glad on finishing it to find out that Jack Link had sent us several packets. I reckon the packet would fit in a lunch box quite happily next to your sandwiches etc... You could dice this Beef Snack and put it in a salad or several on a sandwich if you want a smoky meaty lunch or have it with a beer and a movie late at night. Maybe that beef jerky I tasted way back when was part of an old boot after all?
Information on the packet;
25g packet at 100g there are 312 calories, with 12.6g of fat and 21g of sugar. The high protein ingredients included; beef, sugar, soy protein, salt, maltodextrin, hydrolised vegetable protein, onion and garlic powder, smoke flavouring, flavouring, nitrite curing salt, rosemary extract and sodium erythorbate as antioxidants, and sodium citrate as an acidity regulator.