The other day while perusing the shelves of Mother's Market in Costa Mesa, I came across a box of Stonewall's Jerquee. With Edwin's Wacky Snack article on cactus jerky still fresh in my mind, I tossed a couple bags into my cart half thinking that I was purchasing the same product.
I turned out to be mistaken. What I ended up with instead were two bags of soy-based “beef” in teriyaki and BBQ varieties. My opinion of poser meat tends to be dubious at best, but at under $2 bucks a pack, the price was right and curiosity probably would have driven me to try the product anyway.
When I opened the packets, this is what I found:
When I brought a teriyaki-flavored nugget to my face for closer inspection, I immediately choked on my own optimism as well as the syrupy/sweet smell that emanated from the gnarled lump of soy. The odor made me recall the Beggin' Strips my family used to feed to our old golden retriever… which was foreboding to say the least.
Praying that the 25% of product's flavor determined by the gustatory sense was enough to ride on, I popped the sucker into my mouth and chewed. I was rewarded with an overwhelming blend of seasoning that hit hard on the sweet notes and raised the viscosity of my saliva to a nauseating level. The BBQ version was less sweet, but not much better.
The texture is was fluffier and less tough than one would expect. This makes it easier on the jaw, but ends up creating an unpleasant froth in your mouth when the mass starts to break apart as you chew.
Long story short, this stuff is foul. If you've got a hankerin' for some junk food, you're better off grubbing on some fries.