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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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trader Joe's Natural Buffalo Jerky

I was going to buy more turkey jerky, but I was afraid I might gobblegobble it all up.

Then I thought maybe I'd get more salmon jerky. I wonder what in the heck spawned that idea.

Then I recalled my coworker promised me some kangaroo jerky, and that made feel very hoppy. 

But I got me some Trader Joe's Natural Buffalo Jerky anyways because, umm, Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo? Right. I have no idea what that means, and I'm not even an intimidating American bison from Western New York State.

Nah, I bought the buffalo jerky because of the high recommendations of you, our faithful readers, and needing a shelf stable, tasty, protein-laced snack for work as part of a diet/exercise regimen I'm trying out (down about 4 pounds in a week!). As much as I'd love to have a Foreman grill at my cubicle, I don't think I could swing that. I'd rather fight for a yoga ball to sit (a la the mayor in "Portlandia") on instead of our 0 WAR* office chairs anyways.

You know, I swore I had this a few months back while on a massive jerky tilt, and thought I wasn't too terribly impressed. I remembered dry, tough stringiness without much flavor. Maybe that was just an exceptionally sad sack, or equally as possible, my brain checked out completely, because this is good, good, good jerky. Darn good. Each chunk I sampled was actually soft and tender, like 90% dehydrated slices of buffalo steak rather than jerky. No stringiness. No tough little bits to dig out from molar crevices. Just soft, sweet buffalo meat.

And I do mean sweet. Apple cider vinegar was a brilliant call as it shines through, yet it's balanced out by a little smokiness and slight bit of sugar. Very tasty. Just...it says "spicy" on the package. I don't expect a Tabasco-laden karate chop to the taste buds, but there's not quite enough, at least not upfront. Some sneaks back up the windpipe, but just even a scant shake of black or even crushed red pepper, just to give a little hint of heat, would've really taken it to the next level. Still, I'm very appreciative of the flavor which, even though there's a good bit of sodium each serving, is still much less than many competitors.

Alan, my loyal jerky companion (who actually did supply some kangaroo jerky, which was also tasty yet strangely reminiscent of a Hebrew National hot dog) agreed, giving a description that only he can. I quote: "More buffalo tender than jerky.  Consistent meat, no filler, smooth like the first hit off a Marlboro Red.  Perfection transcended upon the combination of sugar, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar.  Creeper spice, nothing on initial tasting, but snuck up behind and bit the tongue."

I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: the term "creeper spice" to catch on. Wonder which one she was. Zig a zig ha!

Seriously, though, good jerky, probably the best I've had in recent memory. Price isn't too bad: $5.99 for a 3.5 ounce bag. You'd be hard-pressed to spend less elsewhere, even at the online mecca of Amazon. Just needs that extra kick of spice, and it'd be a Pantheon shoo-in. As is, it knocks at the very door.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Natural Buffalo Jerky: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons
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* Sorry, baseball nerd talk....it's almost Opening Day! And yes, our office chairs are Ryan Doumit...at best. Which is kinda appropriate if you think about it.       

4 comments:

  1. What's NOT Good at Trader Joe's?! We LOVE this store! Just sorry they don't have more stores in Florida, where we have been the last 20 + years. Some of our favs are the cases of 2 Buck Chuck Cab Sav, TJ crunchy PB, TJ coconut oil and frozen salmon. Unfortunately, we don't have too much stash space in our RV we now call "home sweet home on wheels". Trader Joe's is just another reason we think, '"the West is the Best!" Oh, and love your blog! Cheers! rvnomads2too.blogspot.com

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  2. You know, just got another bag and had some...this bag is noticeably spicier. If this bag had been reviewed and not the other one, I think we'd have a 10 on our hands!

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  3. I just picked some up today and my mouth is on fire. It was very spicy. This is some seriously good jerky!

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  4. A nutrient dense snack is one benefit of jerky, Click here to know that it's convenience and shelf life is another benefit that keeps many coming back for more.

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