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.
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.