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Serving Size: 95 grams
Calories Per Serving: 330
Recommneded Soak Time: 20 minutes
Retail Price: $8.60/Single Serving | $15.50/Double Serving
What We Liked
While a Creole staple like gumbo could be over-the-top with flavor, Good To-Go kept things reasonable. While spicy, this dish is midly flavored, not too salty, and rehydrated nicely.
What We Didn't Like
Unlike some of Good To-Go’s other offerings, which are complex and layered, the flavor profile here is more one-dimensional. The recommneded 15 minute soak time needs to be extended by 5 additional minutes.
Review Location: Cranberry Wilderness, Pocohontas County, West Virginia – Elevation 3400′
Mike: In the realm of intensely flavored Cajun cooking, it would be easy for a dish like this to be completely and unpleasantly over the top. Instead, Good To-Go’s interpretation of a Creole classic is somewhat subdued. That is not to say it doesn’t have flavor, but it shows some restraint. It’s a little peppery (maybe too much for some averse to spice) and a little smokey. Beyond the heat, the authentic file blend of marjoram, thyme and sassafras amount to a subtle and pleasant bayou flavor. Aside from that, there’s not much more going on here and there are no surprises – which is not a bad thing. Sometimes you want to be slapped in the face with flavor, while other times a gentle caress will do.
Bre: The dish is not overly salty compared to some backpacking meals. After eating, there are no lingering, unpleasant after-taste. Instead the flavors finish in a well balanced smokey and slightly spicy way, but don’t stay long on the palette. This is something that I personally like since with some Cajun meals I will be tasting for the rest of the day. No antacids needed.
Mike: Yeah, I have to commend Good To-Go for their uncompromising yet balanced amount of heat. Here the spiciness strikes that rarte balance of being pronounced while still totally manageable. Sitting in a cool shaded holler in the Cranberry Wilderness this spring the spice was very welcome.
Mike: After the 15 minute recommended soak time, everything except the chicken rehydrated nicely. The rice wasn’t crunchy but could have benefited from another 5 minute soak. In true Creole fashion, this gumbo is heavy on the okra, which was the one vegetable clearly distinguishable. The substantial pieces of gumbo reconstituted into the slippery-textured mellow vegetable you either love or hate.
Bre: There really is quite a bit of okra. Fifteen minutes is fine for an el-dente cooked rice, but my preference is for a softer rice so the dish needs and extra 5-7 minutes of cooking to get nice and soft. Also, the chicken is more flakey rather than chunky. There is more of a chicken essence in the broth, but not noticeable on the spoon.
Mike: Being primarily rice and okra, and at around 330 calories per pouch for the single serving option, this is just perfect for a light dinner.
Bre: Filling to the water line on the package yielded a very soupy bag of gumbo. The meal got better towards the end after additional soak time. Lesson: use slightly less water than recommended and opt for an additional five minute soak.
This could be really spruced up with the addition of chopped scallions, a dash of olive oil, or a spicy dried cured meat.
Final word: Try For Yourself
Bre: I moderately liked this meal. I don’t think this would be my first option for backpacking meals. However, if I am craving Cajun food or something a little spicy then this fits the bill. My four year old daughter has eaten this without hesitation and didn’t mind the spicy factor that this meal had. This meal will fill a bell, but not leave you overly full either.
Mike: This is one of the meals I wouldn’t go entirely out of my way for. It wouldn’t be my absolute first choice for a weekend hike. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this solid offering from Good To-Go. In the world of intensely flavored backpacking food, Good To-Go’s Chicken Gumbo is kind of nondescript by comparison, which actually might be its greatest strength.