Editors note: A couple months back, we were thrilled to get a packet of non-meat, beef jerky snacks called Primal Strips. We love jerky so we were happy to give this stuff a whirl. We grabbed a couple hiking friends, tramped to the top of a mountain and broke out the jerky. But someplace around the fifth or sixth comment that “this doesn’t taste like jerky” we realized that we were doing a disservice to these good folks who make the stuff. We were all carnivores. We wanted to tear into the dried flesh of an animal. Primal Strips is made for the vegetarian. So, we tracked down a vegetarian. Neil Lovett is a fellow hiker and runner here in New Hampshire who’s training for the Manchester 1/2 marathon. He was happy to try our snacks and is a much better yardstick of these treats. So, thanks Neil!
I am a vegetarian because I’ve chosen not to eat meat. I like the taste of meat, but in the last couple of years I’ve bought into the whole plant based diet thing (no need to go any further than that). So if you are asking me to review Primal Strips as a wanna-be “mock” beef jerky, I say no, it isn’t beef jerky, not even close to the best jerky I’ve ever eaten. If you like beef jerky, then eat beef jerky.
However, if you are looking for a tasty non-meat, protein rich, backpack friendly snack to give you a boost of energy and needed salt intake during endurance type activities, then I recommend you check out Primal Strips.
If, as a vegan/vegetarian, you are not a fan of seitan or soy protein, then many of the flavors may not be for you. My favorite flavor is the Hot & Spicy snack which is made primarily of shiitake mushroom. If you are okay with the texture and make-up of seitan or soy, you should enjoy all the tasty flavors Primal Strips have to offer.
Again, assuming you like the taste and texture of seitan the Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime and Teriyaki flavors are extremely flavorful. For those who don’t know much about about seitan, sometimes called “wheat meat”, it is a high-protein (31 grams of protein per 4 oz. serving) meat substitute. It blends particularly well in stir fries and like tofu, tends to take on the flavor of the spices and sauces it is mixed with.
Primal Strip also makes a soy based product that comes in a hickory smoked flavor. I felt this variety most resembled a traditional beef jerky. It is not as chewy but has a consistency of a less than fully dried beef jerky snack. The taste is outstanding.
Primal strips are what they are and I can’t say it enough: they are not meat jerky. I don’t believe they market themselves to those who eat meat products. But as a convenient, highly transportable vegan/vegetarian snack food, Primal Strips fit the bill.
Dan and Neil atop Mt. Isolation in the White Mountains.