McSweeney’s beef jerky is a somewhat common sight in Ontario stores, usually the bigger store chains. This review will focus on their 2.8 ounce/80 gram bag of their Hot Asian Spice flavor bought in 2012 at a convenience store in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
This McSweeney’s jerky brand name is made by Direct Plus Food Group located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They provide service to about 12,000 retail locations, with a focus on sales and distribution with a number of other non-jerky related brands. They advertise their jerky as being smoked.
Ingredients: Beef, Sugar, Spices (Including Crushed Red Chili Peppers), Salt, Soy Sauce (Soybeans, Salt, Wheat, Maltodextrin), Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (Corn, Soy and Wheat) and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed and Soybean), Apple Powder, Vinegar Powder, Sodium Nitrite, Malic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Torula Yeast, Smoke Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
The liquid marinade is comprised of an average soy sauce, and unhealthy hydrogenated vegetable oil. Being hydrogenated makes it a type of trans fats, which is now banned at some places.
Apple powder and vinegar powder are interesting and healthy choices. Crushed red chili peppers are actually very healthy if eaten in moderation.
The sugar level is on the high side at 5.6 grams of sugar used per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less. The salt level is very high at around 485mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or under.
Unhealthy sodium nitrite is used as the main preservative, apart from salt. Ascorbic acid, otherwise known as a form of Vitamin C, and vinegar powder also acts as preservatives to a lesser degree.
This jerky uses the highly controversial flavor enhancer MSG. Making matters worse, the highly processed flavor enhancers hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed corn protein, and hydrolyzed soy protein are all used. These ‘vegetables’ are boiled in a vat of acid, and then neutralized with something such as caustic soda. The resultant sludge is scraped off and dried, which contains the unhealthy trans fatty acids. Torula yeast is believed to be a form of MSG also.
Bad (3/10) – Ingredient Rating
The strips were medium in size, and sliced to a medium thickness. There is a slightly dry texture. Handling this jerky leaves no oily residue on your fingers.
I don’t recall this Hot Asian Spice flavor being overly spicy. It did not have much of an Asian flare, but tasted decent enough.
I paid $4.99 for this 2.8 ounce/80 gram bag of jerky. That works out to $1.78 an ounce, which rates a borderline average price. Considering a bad ingredient list was used, this jerky is not recommended as worth your money.
No doubt this is a professional looking resealable bag. Everything is imprinted directly on the bag itself, both on the front and back. Being a bag from Canada, there are French translations for everything.
McSweeney’s slogan is “Good as Gold”. There are some facts printed on this bag such as :”Naturally Smoked”, “Solid Strips of LEAN Beef”, and “New Flavor”.
All major bag categories are covered. Missing is a blurb about the jerky and flavor. This Hot Asian Spice appears to have been discontinued now.
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