This review will focus on a 2.5 ounce/71 gram bag of Chef’s Cut Real Jerky roasted red chile flavored chicken jerky. The bag was purchased in December 2014, for $6.99 at a Fairway Market store in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
This Chef’s Cut Real Jerky jerky brand name is distributed by RSJ Ventures LLC. They are based out of Naples, Florida. The chief and founder, Blair Swiler, is a chef. Initially, Blair only made jerky for his family using a proprietary smoking process. Then his business partner, and now co-founder, Dennis Riedel, realized the potential of selling “Filet in a Bag”. In their words, it is “Jerky Done Right”. They aspire to only make the best jerky they can, where they don’t believe that anything, or anyone, should ever stop improving.
Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Soy Sauce (Water, Hydrolyzed Corn and Soy Protein, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate), Sugar, Horseradish (Horseradish Roots, Vinegar, Salt and Mustard Oil), Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract), Liquid Smoke (Water, Natural Hickory Smoke Concentrate), Chipotle Paste (Water Dried Chilies, Salt, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate as preservative), Black Pepper, Red Pepper, Sodium Nitrite. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Anchovies
It is mentioned that chicken breast is used, which is known to be lean. The chicken used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the chicken is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
On the other hand, the soy sauce ingredient list is terrible. The highly processed flavor enhancers hydrolyzed corn protein and hydrolyzed soy protein are used. When you see the word hydrolyzed that means it is a type of very unhealthy trans fat.
The sugar level is somewhat high at 5 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less. The salt level is high at 400mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less.
The chipotle paste contains the unhealthy preservative potassium sorbate, as does the soy sauce. There are chilies used, which can be healthy if eaten in moderation. Easily the most interesting ingredient used is horseradish, where horseradish roots offer multiple health benefits, and are in the superfood category.
While their web site states that the jerky is nitrite free, sodium nitrite is a listed ingredient on this bag. This jerky does not qualify to be MSG free, because the flavor enhancers hydrolyzed corn protein and hydrolyzed soy protein are used.
These strips are medium sized, and thick. There is a great dry texture that is relatively easy to chew. Handling this jerky leaves no oily residue on your fingers, and there are no visible signs of fat.
The first taste detected is the horseradish, which actually tastes excellent on jerky. There is a pleasant mild to medium soy and Worcestershire sauce taste combination. This chicken jerky does not taste all that different than beef jerky, and is flavorful. The salt level is moderate at best, and is mildly sweet.
With this being a roasted red chile flavor, you would expect this jerky to be spicy. While there are some red chiles on these strips, the heat level is barely even mildly spicy. Nonetheless, this jerky still has an interesting combination of flavors.
This is a standard sized bag that is resealable. Everything is imprinted directly on the bag itself, both on the front and back. There are no labels affixed to this bag.
There is a graphic of a chicken. Their trademark slogans are “Real Chicken Jerky”, and “Real Jerky”. Other notes printed on this bag are “High in Protein”, “Made With Chicken Breast”, “Smoke Flavor Added/Smoked Chicken Breast”, “12g Protein Per Serving”, and “Gluten Free”.
The majority of bag categories are covered here. Missing is a blurb about Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, or their jerky. Also, missing is a transparent window to view the jerky, and the jerky weight is not stated in grams.