Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Trader Joe's Wild Salmon Jerky

In a way, I knew this purchase would be inevitable. I just knew it, unless I got lucky and Nathan would buy it instead, ingest as much as he could stand, then write a review. Salmon jerky just does not sound like a good idea. It's like a somewhat incomprehensible manifestation of my previously espoused "chocolate gum theory," which basically states that two things that are good separately are not necessarily good when combined. I mean, I really like salmon, or as I prefer to call it, the steak that swims. And jerky? Man, I love that too, and after a fairly good first go-'round with some TJ's turkey jerky a couple weeks back (and subsequent fairly mediocre rendezvous with the teriyaki turkey - tastes exactly the same), I figured now was as good as time as any. This was all despite my impending fear of purchase that ranked right up there among my worst of TJ's premonitions.

I promise you that I tried to like it. Really, I did. As proof, let me tell the positives...ummm, positive...first. The flavoring of the brine itself was good, and actually shone through admirably well. Brown sugar, molasses, sea salt and maple syrup make an excellent match - this would be really good on some turkey, and perhaps some other meats, like venison. I appreciate the full flavor without defaulting to sodium overloadium like so many other jerkies.

But that's about where this ends. It...just doesn't work. First, the smell. I opened the bag at work while at my desk, and immediately about the half the row gagged. And the smell lingers like, well, dead fish. I'm just glad I wasn't dragged down to HR for it. It kinda tastes like it smells, too, and it's extremely chewy and tough even by jerky standards. Plus, I definitely felt a little off afterwards.

Don't take my word for it? That's fine. I somehow cajoled three coworkers to try it, and here's their take.

Melanie: "It made my tummy hurt a little...It gives jerky a bad name. They should stop making that." Were you shot thru the heart and this jerky's to blame? Sounds like it... Her score (out of 5): 0.
Laurette: "It seems chewier than a normal jerky. Tastes more like tuna than salmon, and it smells like a drained fish tank...It's not horrible." She also added that no one would want to kiss you after eating some, so it may be an okay snack for a date-free night. She fits in very well at our office. Her score: 2.5.
Alan: "I would eat it again but not purchase...after the flavor had a chance to dissipate on my palate I received a smoky fish taste. It may be for some others but not for me." I would like to point out that one of Alan's main delicacies is days-oldasiago cheese bagels so I ever-so-slightly discount his somewhat strained positivity.  His score: 3.

Regardless, here's four jerky aficionados who were all not in favor of this flavor. Kinda an office downer, which is exactly what's needed on a busy Monday. Not.

I guess what it comes down to is, there's certain meats which jerky works for (perhaps even most meats) but salmon just isn't one of them. I don't think it matters that it's from chum salmon - apparently that's pretty low-grade stuff, but it's not like most jerky is made from the choicest cuts of meat either. Maybe this is really just made for a certain niche which I will never, ever join. It happens.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Wild Salmon Jerky: 3 out of 10 Golden Spoons

9 comments:

  1. Ewww, chum? that is the lowest of low... worse than bottom feeders... I guess there's a market for everything.. TJ does test market their stuff so, maybe they went to a backwoods area to test this?

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  2. This stuff was disgusting, and I love salmon.

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  3. Return that bag of nastiness and exchange it for the buffalo jerky-- it's quite good. I think I might prefer it to the turkey jerky.

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    1. I actually returned it this morning and got teriyaki beef - the buffalo wasn't stocked and I was in a hurry. That's absolutely on my list.

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  4. Quick website comment (there's no forum for these!): minor issue, but the link in each article for 'comments' leads to a spot *after* the comments and even after the field to enter comments, requiring an upscroll every time. Can you change the link so it goes to the start of the comments? thx!

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  5. "this is really just made for a certain niche which I will never, ever join." Hilarious. Literally laughed out loud.

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  6. I'm a very adventurous eater but this one was just a heck no. I like to think that my opinion is more forgiving than yours but I'm willing to give this a ZERO!

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  7. This is my favorite jerky of all time. Great flavors. Much preferred to a bad piece of beef jerky any day. And less sodium.

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  8. There are not many foods that I won't eat, and this has entered the short list. My friend purchased this today, and I had a very difficult time getting it down. I even started to gag before eating a few cookies with it to get it down and get rid of the awful taste. I accused my friend of accidentally buying wild salmon dog treats instead of jerky, but I was wrong. I have liked their other jerky but not this one. I do not recommend!

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