Taste Test: Trader Joe’s Natural Beef Jerky

If you like jerky, you’ll like this a lot
Dan Myers

These were full of smoky flavor and not too tough.

When you buy a new brand of beef jerky, you never really know what you’re going to get. It can be rock-solid, soft and mushy, super-peppery, sweet, smoky, fatty… the possibilities really are endless, and every brand is different. We picked up a bat at our local Trader Joe’s, and can report that it’s more moist, soft, and chewy than tough, sweet, and smoky, not overly salty, and pretty much spot-on.

This all-natural product contains no preservatives, nitrites, MSG, or artificial ingredients, and the beef used is lean and free of hormones and antibiotics. Whereas most jerky tastes primarily of salt and pepper, this one tastes a bit like barbecue, possibly brisket in a Kansas City-style sweet barbecue sauce. It has that satisfying jerky flavor, one which will most likely satisfy just about everyone who tries it, especially those fans of chewier, sweeter jerky.


This beef jerky contains beef, sugar, water, soy sauce, cider vinegar, salt, flavorings, paprika, and natural smoke flavoring. One ounce contains 1 gram of fat, 70 calories, 270 milligrams of sodium, and 11 grams of protein, and costs $4.99.