There was a time I would purchase a Gardein product with more than a little caution. The brand’s approach to rapid product release and development meant the overall line was, shall we say, mercurial. Amongst the array of plant-based goods, some good, some base, some ugly. In their defense they seem to iterate quickly – many of the products I’ve previously rated poorly no longer exist.
And then came along their relatively recent Ultimate line up, resplendent in big and bold packaging. The Ultimate Chik’n Filets are the best plant-based chicken burgers for my money, hands down. The same goes for the Ultimate Tenders. But wait, what’s this, vegan jerky with the Ultimate moniker? Surely this one can’t live upto the heights of the chicken?
Taste and texture: Surprisingly good. Actually, I was exceptionally surprised. This vegan jerky uses gluten as the base, but there’s none of the associated murky taste. Instead, it’s all smokey and salty and sticky sweet flavors. The texture is remarkably meaty like, though it doesn’t have that “on and on” chew that you’d expect of meat based jerky. Lets be clear, jerky aficionados will never do anything but scoff at this, but vegans? This is truly a decent product. It achieves MUCH more than I thought possible with gluten.
Overall: The catch to all this is there’s a measly 2.25oz per package. Seriously, check out the picture below, I almost laughed out loud when I emptied it only the plate. This is a $6 product. The ingredient versus package cost feels egregious in my mind. Sure the product is a a very reasonable facsimile for those craving a jerky reminder – but the price – wow.
Is Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Jerky any good?
Yes, this is a remarkably good interpretation of the real deal. As a confessed meat eater, I more than happily enjoyed snacking on this. The flavor is smokey and sweet and salty, and the texture has at least a little tear and chew. The price though – at least for the package I picked up – is currently far too high.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC – Utah’s biggest and oldest online food magazine; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I started Shop Smart to catalogue my adventures in the grocery store and kitchen. Follow along on Instagram too!