A few months ago I decided to give the “Paleo diet” a try. Not because I’m overweight (in fact, I’m quite the opposite), but for health reasons. I simply wanted to be healthier all around, and as someone prone to colds, it seemed like a good idea. It turned out it was, and I’ve been healthier than ever, but that’s not what I’m here to write about; Robb Wolf explains it much better anyway. No, I’m here to talk about jerky.
Beef jerky is a delicious snack. I’ve been a fan since as far back as I can remember, and I often stuffed myself to the point of near-vomiting on my summer camping trips. The problem, is that most beef jerky is absolutely full of crap and wacky ingredients, and simply isn’t Paleo… not by any stretch of the imagination. So I started looking around and found two major players in the paleo beef jerky market: Primal Pacs, and Hunted & Gathered Paleo Jerky.
Paleo Beef Jerky Review(s)
What you’re about to read is a brief review of both jerkies separately, and then my declaration of the “winner”. I’ll list out what I like, what I don’t like, as well as irrelevant and disgusting things that come to my mind as I’m writing this. Enjoy.
Primal Pacs Paleo Jerky
I’m going to start off with Primal Pacs, simply because I’m eating some right now.
Primal Pacs are made from organic, grass fed beef. They’re completely gluten free, and are also sans grains and preservatives. Awesome, this sounds perfect for us Paleo people, and for the most part that’s true. To my (admittedly amateur) eyes, the beef seems high quality; it’s not chewy or tough, and the texture is consistent. The taste is also decent, though somewhat lacking in the flavor department. Considering the jerky is only seasoned with Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Granulated Garlic and Garlic Salt, well… not too surprising, and perhaps that’s one of the trade-offs for eating Paleo jerky.
Now, I do have a few minor qualms, mostly in terms of the presentation. I’m just going to say it flat out… these primal packs look like the colostomy bag of a diseased old man. They’re vacuum sealed, which seems like a good idea, but because the beef is slightly moist, the entire thing takes on a very unfortunate look. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t with some trepidation that I finally bit into the jerky. Perhaps something can be done to improve that a bit?
Hunted & Gathered Paleo Beef Jerky
This brand is also made from organic, grass fed beef, but with a few major differences. The jerky is hand made in Australia, and they’ve also added a bit of organic brown sugar into the mix for flavor. Sugar is generally a no-no in the Paleo world, but it certainly made for a tasty piece of jerky. Yes, in terms of flavor, the Hunted & Gathered jerky was definitely more potent. It had a bit more bite, and tasted closer to the non-paleo beef jerky I grew accustomed too.
My only gripe in the flavor department was that it was overly “peppery”. If that’s your bag (so to speak), then you’re in for a real treat. I also found it substantially tougher than the Primal Pacs jerky, and though that’s more along the lines of traditional jerky, I actually preferred eating the softer stuff; call me crazy.
In terms of presentation, I the Hunted & Gathered packing quite a bit better than the Primal Pacs. Everything looked very professional. I realize we’re all here to eat the damn stuff, but clean presentation doesn’t hurt either.
Who wins the Paleo Beef Jerky Showdown?
Now, I’m going to suggest a winner, but with a few caveats. Each of these two brands have their own strengths and weaknesses, and in truth, I’ll probably just buy both. I think that overall, I like the taste of the Hunted & Gathered paleo beef jerky better, but the texture and consistency of the Primal Pacs wins hands down; it almost melts in your mouth.
If you’re looking for a delicious Paleo snack, give Primal Pacs and Hunted & Gathered a try, and let me know what you think in the comments below. Aside from the yucky presentation of the Primal Pacs, I think you’ll be pretty satisfied with both of them.
12 comments on “The Paleo Beef Jerky Showdown – Primal Pacs vs Hunted & Gathered”
I’ve tried both as well, and I have to say I really preferred the taste of the Primal Pacs, myself. Like you said though, the consistency inside the bag is somewhat off-putting. Your hand gets slimy reaching inside, and the ingredients list doesn’t really suggest anything that might be producing the slime. I’m guessing the vacuum sealing does a better job of keeping the jerky more tender, so I don’t necessarily see it as a packaging issue, but I feel like scrubbing my hands down with soap the instant I reach inside.
As for the Hunted & Gathered jerky, it’s really, really tough to chew, and mostly flavorless, in my opinion.
Something I wish both manufacturers would pay a bit more attention to is the relative difficulty of opening the packaging. For a snack on the go, they’re really hard to get into with your bare hands (I have to use my pen to stab through the bag).
We now offer both a “loose” packaged variety that no longer is messy. Quite clean actually. We also still sell the “old school” version which will leave your fingers a bit sticky 🙂 Worth a look though if you like organic grass fed jerky. Just look up Primal Pacs and check out the new product!
It is hard to find really good jerky. My dad always makes awesome deer jerky, but it goes quickly. I am thinking of trying the Tanka Bites, and I am curious if you ahve tired them. They are made out of bison and cranberries (not quite jerky, but similar).
Deer jerky sounds awesome. As for the Tanka Bites, I have not tried them. Could you provide more details? 🙂
Deer jerky is by far my favorite because of the leanness. I’m here in Texas, so it’s hunting season (more jerky time for me). Tanka bites and Tanka bars are avaliable on tankabar.com or on rei.com. REI is opening this month in my city, so I am going to have to swing by and get some.
I am a HUGE fan of Sophia’s Survival Food! 🙂 No Sugar, just straight up delicious grass-fed/finished beef!
Awesome, I’ll check that out. Perhaps I can do another comparison between a few brands. 🙂
Thank you Gigi for the awesome continued support and video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwWtqshGP3o I’d say my product definitely falls into the tougher jerky category, the stuff people grew up eating back when beef jerky didn’t have all the comercial fillers (added to increase product yield and produce a very soft-chew). Just depends on your preference.
Since I went paleo I had quit eating jerky, even the deer jerky that my brother makes because he uses brown sugar in his marinade and I love jerky. Didn’t even know there was a paleo style jerky available so I’m really happy to have found your post. I like both soft and the tough jerky but usually opt for the tough because I can put a small piece in my mouth and leave it there for a long time, softening up gradually until I can easily chew it. The soft kind I just gobble up too quickly.
Yeah, I know what you mean re: soft jerky. I often like something a bit more… leathery.
Thought the Primal Pacs including the beef jerky were great, however have never received such horrible customer service with any company. Still have not received all of an order that was paid for over 6 weeks ago and any and all attempts to contact the company have been futile! Inexcusable!
I would be frustrated too. Have you tried giving them a call?