Back in test 2009, while visiting a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida, I purchased a 1 ounce/28 gram bag of Trail’s Best original flavored beef jerky. In my limited travels across the USA, it is common to see Trail’s Best jerky for sale in stores, where they have a wide distribution network.
The Trail’s Best jerky brand name is made and distributed by the very large private labeler Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC. On this Trail’s Best jerky bag, the location of Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC was Chandler, Minnesota, where the jerky was manufactured. The Trail’s Best brand name started in 1938. Being made by a private labeler that qualifies this jerky to have a stock recipe.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Brown Sugar, Contains 2% or less of Salt, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Dextrose, Soy Sauce (Water, Protein Extracts from Soybeans, Salt, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color), Natural Smoke Flavor, Flavorings, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. Allergen Warnings: Soy
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 sugar level is respectable at 3 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is unbelievably high at 780mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less.
This jerky uses both unhealthy sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite as the main preservatives, apart from salt. This jerky does not qualify to be MSG free because the highly processed flavor enhancer hydrolyzed soy protein. Being hydrolyzed means it is also an unhealthy type of trans fat.
My apologies to Trail’s Best, back in 2009, I do not have any taste notes for this bag. However, I do remember being disappointed with this jerky, mostly because Trail’s Best jerky had a processed meat flavor. The jerky texture itself was half decent, being dry enough. Even the jerky strips had a processed look to them.
From a design perspective, the overall layout of this bag is attractive and professional looking. The bag is quite small in size, where 1 ounce/28 grams is about the smallest size you can purchase.
The Trail’s Best registered logo is interesting. It depicts a brawny guy with an ax on his shoulder, resembling a lumberjack or woodsman. Very commonly seen slogans on this bag are “96% Fat Free”, “High In Protein”, “Made With Solid Slices of Beef” and “Natural Smoke Flavor Added”.