Why Pan’s Mushroom Jerky Is Better Than Most Beef Jerky

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is so good that it’s better than most beef jerky. I didn’t expect to be writing this, to be honest. I’m somebody who usually isn’t a fan when vegan food tries to mimic meat’s style.

To me, buffalo cauliflower sucks; I think it’s lazy, tasteless, and all it does is just make me want buffalo chicken wings. Impossible Burgers are indeed impossible (at tasting good), veggie dogs are somehow more of a monstrosity than actual hot dogs, and I don’t know what inspired people to buy a Tofurky Ham Style Roast, but it’s deeply upsetting. Faux ham, complete with roast-style netting, is a Frankenstein level abomination that feels like it was hooked full of wires and brought to life by being struck by lightning, or at the very least, reincarnated through the religious chants of hooded druids. If you brought a Tofurkey into a Catholic church, it would instantly burst into flames. Also, seeing “Ham Style” on the box is weirdly sexual. Please, for the love of God, don’t call anything “ham style.” Point is, vegan food that attempts to imitate a meat dish is rarely good. So, now that you know how I feel about bad vegan food, let me say this again: Pan’s mushroom jerky is phenomenal.

If Pan’s sounds familiar, then maybe you’re a fan of Shark Tank, where Michael Pan first presented his mushroom jerky. The story goes that his father was from a small fishing village in Malaysia. On a family visit, he reached into a bowl on the kitchen table, started munching on whatever was inside, and thought, “This must be pork.” Turns out his cousin is a vegetarian Buddhist and had been making mushroom jerky for himself, his family, and his neighbors. Michael found the taste to be remarkable, and Pan’s mushroom jerky was born.

He was right—the texture of mushroom jerky is incredible. It’s strikingly meaty, with a concentrated umami blast that rivals steak. It’s chewy in all the best ways, fibrous, and full. It tastes downright juicy, which is hard to accomplish when you dehydrate anything. Mushroom jerky is a straight up flavor bomb. This is quite undeniably, a tastier, meatier, and just flat out better product than many of the top-selling jerkys you’ll find at the gas station. Too often, store bought jerky can  be stringy, dry, and bland. Pan’s jerky, however, despite its complete absence of red meat, is meatier than actual meat. It beams with sturdy meat flavor, and a texture that begs to be savored. These smoky little shitake nuggets satisfy my deepest cravings. 

I normally buy the original Pan’s flavor, which has a nice balance between smoky and sweet. The ingredients are minimal, which is a great sign as well. Shiitake mushrooms, avocado oil, water, coconut sugar, pink salt, and organic chia seeds are all that comprise this tasty mushroom snack. There are a few other flavors, too, including Curry, Zesty Thai, Salt & Pepper, Applewood BBQ, and Teriyaki. 

The only thing this snack lacks is protein. So, if you’re looking for a quick fix of that, you might want to go for beef, turkey, or chicken jerky. However, if you want just pure flavor, or if you’re looking for a snack that’s a tasty meat alternative you can bring with you on a road trip, hike, or have stuffed in your car or office drawer for emergency hunger pangs, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is the perfect food. In a sea of confused vegan products, Pan’s outshines its meaty predecessors and gives hope for tasty meat alternatives that don’t feel like they’re trying too hard to play meat’s game.

About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • These are the hot takes I’ve been looking for in my life 🙂

  • My job just started selling these this year and oh my GOD they’re deliciousssss