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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Trader Joe's Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers


I know it's kind of juvenile and gross, but I just can't get the idea out of my head that these are somehow gophers or other small rodents just plopped on sticks and fire roasted au naturale—like something you'd see Bear Grylls whip up for supper in a far-flung mountain range. I mean, clearly, they were cooked on a grill (I hope), since they come with grill marks already on them, but their size and shape—and even their texture to some degree—suggests that they could be something other than chicken.

I'm not saying they ARE any of those non-poultry animals. When the ingredients say "chicken," I'm not so cynical YET as to simply disbelieve it outright. I'm just saying there's something foreign about the texture here. It's not a bad texture, it's just an odd texture for chicken if you ask me.


It's mysteries like these that are steering Sonia and I away from meat altogether. Sonia actually sat this one out, proudly waving her newfound pescatarian flag high. At this point in the game, I'm more "flexitarian," happily seizing the opportunity to review jerk chicken for this blog as my only meaty meal in the past week or two.

So yeah. Unusual, but not terrible, in the texture department. The chicken was super soft. It came off the sticks in juicy little bite-sized chunks and didn't need a lot of chewing. Not rubbery in the slightest. Still, there was the suggestion that the chicken was processed along with a good bit of fat, gristle, and skin, and wasn't just traditional dark meat thigh pieces.

Flavor-wise, these aren't nearly intense enough to bear the label "jerk chicken" in my humble opinion. I've only had Jamaican jerk chicken twice in my life, and both times, there was a much more significant kick to the spice. There's just enough here to be flavorful. There is a mild lingering heat to this product, though, that shows up a little late to the party. Especially when masked by the semi-sweet mango chutney, there's very little spiciness up front. For that reason, I would have just as readily consumed the skewers with some good old-fashioned barbecue sauce as I would something so exotic as pureed mango and chutney spices.

Six skewers in the box for $5.49. Decent value. They're better than the other chicken skewers we used to see around TJ's, but that's not saying a whole lot. I doubt I'd get them again, but glad I tried them. I'm torn between 3 and 3.5 stars, so we'll go with one of each since I'm scoring on behalf of Sonia.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

2 comments:

  1. If it was a bit spongy, it could have been brined. I was thinking about getting them, but those skewers look pretty small.

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  2. If you look at the sodium on the nutrition label for just the chicken skewer you can see they were definitely brined somehow.
    Surprising they weren’t more flavorful, the few jerk seasoned items i have had were like a punch in the face!
    Ttrockwood

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