Sunday, March 30, 2008

About Best Beef Jerky

Baby eating beef jerkyBeef jerky is my favorite snack food, and it's been that way since my childhood.

So I created this blog as a way to share my thoughts on the various brands and varieties of beef jerky. And not just beef, but flesh from other critters too, like pigs, turkeys, deer, buffalo, clams, etc. Yup, you can actually get clam jerky.

Best Beef Jerky is a property of Clear Digital Media, Inc., a website publishing business that I run.

Ratings Defined

Dog Treats () - A jerky that's taste bad enough that I can't handle eating it.

Fair () - A jerky that doesn't have much snackability. It still has a decent taste, it's just not great, and is still ok enough that I can handle eating.

Average () - A jerky that has a good deal of snackability. It doesn't necessarily have an outstanding taste, but good enough that I find myself reaching for more and more. For the most part, it's good enough to satisfy a snacking urge.

Good () - A jerky that has a good deal of snackability, but has some qualities that seem to set it above average. It doesn't necessarily have an outstanding taste, but it could have one or more of the following: an excellent meat consistency, or an excellent chewing texture, or a strong natural meat flavor, a strong flavor intensity, or a strong flavor complexity.

Best () - A jerky that has a good deal of snackability, but has an excellent taste, one that gives off a "wow" factor. It could also have a less-than-excellent taste, but does really well with meat consistency, chewing texture, flavor intensity, flavor complexity, strong meat flavors.


Snackability is a term I use to identify how well a jerky satisfies your urge to snack. Snackability is actually the product of several characteristics, it has the largest weight towards the ratings I assign.

A jerky with a moderate to high level of snackability will get no worse than an average rating.

To sum it up, if I find a jerky difficult to resist eating more and more of, it has a good deal of snackability.

A good flavor contributes towards snackability, as does ease in tearing apart a piece, ease in chewing, and even how "clean" a jerky eats.

Clean eating refers to how messy a jerky gets when eating, such as sticky or powdery residue on your fingers and hands, and how many fragments of meat and seasonings fall on your lap. It could also be how much smell remains on your hands. A messy jerky could take some enjoyment away from your snacking.

Finding a lot of chewy connective tissues and sinews in the meat pieces will take some snackability away from a jerky. It subtracts from the chewing enjoyment. Tendon and gristle ruins a lot of chewing enjoyment for me.

A high salt intensity will ruin snackability for me. After so many pieces, my tongue and mouth will feel scorched and I just can't handle eating any more.

Standing Up to an Advertised Flavor

I take into consideration how well a jerky represents its advertised flavor. That is if a package is labeled as "teriyaki", then I expect to get a good deal of teriyaki flavor, as well as something close to true teriyaki flavor.

A jerky that doesn't live up to its advertised flavor tends to lose some snackability because it doesn't satisfy the particular flavor that you had hoped to enjoy.

Spicy Versus Hot - when I see a jerky advertised as "spicy" I don't necessarily expect it to be "hot". I only expect it to have a strong flavor intensity of other than salty or sweet. But "hot" on the other hand, I do expect to have a strong burn on the mouth.

So Who Writes This Blog?

I'm Steve Johnson, someone who specializes in writing blogs, publishing websites, and affiliate marketing.

Because I spend a lot of time on the computer, I eat a lot of snacks and junk food. Beef jerky has become my favorite fuel of choice. I simply married my love for jerky with my skills at website publishing.

When I'm not working, I ride motorcycles. I write a motorcycle blog, "Motorcycle Philosophy", which is my deep thoughts on biker life. I'm also one of the founders of a motorcycle riding club, "HeatWave Riding Club".

I also write about the business of Internet publishing on "In Your Web".

Let Me Review Your Jerky!

If you represent a jerky manufacturer, then please send us some samples for our review. Visit our "Media Inquiries" page.


  1. just found your review site, and it's one of the best for any type of product, not just jerky. very comprehensive. thanks!

  2. I am just getting interested in Beef Jerky. Great information here.

  3. heath is an issue with these products, id add something in about it

  4. Hickory Farm Stores in Ohio use to carry loose beef jerky by the pound that you could purchase back in the 80's. It was rather dry but very tasty. It was keep in a large jar and you could purchase by the piece or by the pound. I worked at a store location in Ohio. It came in bulk in 25 lb boxes from Chicago If my memory serves me. Do you know who the manufacturer is and where I might find it?

    1. It is the Indian Style Jerky from Mahogany Smoked Meats in California.


    2. The Hickory Farms beef jerky you described was very tough and dry and contained MSG. I used to buy it back in the 1970s and I remember it well because I would buy a big bag of it and take it with me to summer camp. The 'Indian Style Jerky' from Mahogany Smoked Meats is similar in that it is tough and dry and also contains MSG. The flavor is not the same though. A better match for the Hickory Farms jerky is the 'Old Fashioned Beef Jerky' from Yolo Land & Cattle Co. in Woodland, California ( It is tough and dry, also contains MSG, and tastes like the old Hickory Farms jerky in the glass bottle.

    3. Anonymous Beef Jerky Consumer~
      When you have a chance, could you please contact me at regarding YLCC jerky? Thank you!

  5. Steve- I can't tell you how happy I am to have found your jerky blog! My husband and I were pleasantly surprised with the detail you provide in your reviews and now we can use your site as a portal to many great jerky companies. One point I'd like to make though is that you are featuring some companies that don't have legal packaging. If you look closely some are missing a USDA inspection number and/or ingredients, which means they cannot ship that product across state lines and their labels are not meeting food code. Just an observation...maybe you removed them from their original packaging. Anyway keep up the good work! Judy

  6. Judy, it sounds like you know a lot about beef jerky packaging. My job is to show other jerky lovers what other brands exist out there, what I think about the taste and texture, and where they can get it. It's not to tell them what packaging is legal, which I am not qualified to judge anyways.

  7. Steve -You don't need to know anything about packaging to recognize if there is a USDA stamp approval on the bag. It would benefit your readers to make that notation on your new reviews... whether is approved by the USDA or not, because it if is not, it can represent a potential real health hazard to anyone who consumes it. Also when you compare price per ounce from a non-approved package to a USDA approved package... the approved one has a much higher investment to get that approval and maintain the product to USDA standards and so those companies would naturally would have to charge more than someone making jerky in their kitchen. On a more positive note, other than the USDA approval, the comprehensive nature of your reviews is absolutely outstanding! Thanks for doing this and keep up the good work.

  8. Thanks for all the work. I now enjoy a more consistent beef jerky experience. How do you find out the company history of these companies? Ever think about formulating a recipe, or starting a brand yourself?

  9. Well this is the law: A company that slaughters beef and other animals needs to have an FDA stamp and inspection, and the USDA stamp and inspection. A restaurant does not need an FDA stamp or a USDA stamp because they ALREADY purchase it from a place that has one. So if a restaurant wants to sell beef jerky, or other items on their menu, they can sell it out of state as long as the other items are frozen and sent that way.

  10. Labeling requirements are that it needs to have the company name, address, unless its in the phone book, NET WT., and ingredients. Nutrition information is required if the company has more than 100 employees or does over $100,000 in revenue.

  11. It would be nice to sort by Value or Price per ounce. Of course with the stipulation that prices change. Great site!

  12. THANK YOU! I love jerky and your site has opened me up to many new brands and flavors of it. Can't wait to try some of these out. These brands all owe you some money!!!

    Nice work.

  13. i'm from pennsylvania, how do i find out the regulations and packaging. If i have a registered kitchen am i allow to sale my jerky to sportsmans clubs and bars in my town? I'm geeting alot of different information. One person says yes and one says no. The meat that i use is federally inspected.

  14. Can't find your response to the guy asking about the old "by the pound" jerky from Hickory Farms. I've been looking for years and have never found any like it again. Do you know who made it or how I can find some. My mom used to put it in our stockings Christmas morning and we LOVED it! Thanks, Gina

  15. Hey Steve, my name is Tyler and I'm currently a freshman at Bryant University currently trying to make a beef jerky business expand a little more than it is now. Even if I'm a really small business currently, is there anyway I could send you a sample to try and get a review?

    The website is great by the way.

  16. I'm looking for the old Hickory Farms jerky as well. It's the best!