Friday, April 30, 2010

Riley's Jerky - Peppered

riley's jerkyNext in the series on Riley's Jerky is this Peppered Beef Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Cajun, Jalapeno, and Original varieties.

Riley's Jerky is based out of Greenville, CA founded in 1980 by Riley Burkholder. Today it's run by Britt Burkholder and Bradley Bentz. Up until now, Riley's Jerky was only available in local stores throughout Northern California. But recently they launched a website and are working on getting online ordering installed.

All their jerky is hand cut into chunks and contains no added preservatives.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Smoke-N-Jerk - Original Black Pepper

smoke-n-jerkSmoke-N-Jerk is a brand of Smoke-N-Jerk Meats based in Richardson, TX. It's one of the newest brands of jerky to hit the market, run by David Quarles who with a friend found themselves in a passion over cooking meat.

They cooked meats in their backyards and on camping trips and just got at it after awhile. They hated their day jobs enough that they started Smoke-N-Jerk and took up the pledge to fight "crimes against meat", particularly over cooked, dry flavorless meat, or meat heavily covered up with flavoring that you can't taste the true flavor of meat.

They run a website where they sell jerky as well as smoked pork ribs, smoked chicken and turkey, and beef brisket.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fatman's Beef Jerky - Sweet & Spicy

fatman's beef jerkyNext in the series on Fatman's Beef Jerky is this Sweet & Spicy variety. See my previous reviews of their other flavors.

Fatman's Beef Jerky is a brand of Red Meat Foods, LLC, based out of Roswell, NM, and run by a guy named Rick Robey. Prior to launching Fatman's, Rick owned and operated a holstein calf raising business for 30 years as well as a USDA inspected packing plant.

All of Fatman's jerky is made from inside rounds of American-raised beef, marinated for 24 hours in Robey's own homemade recipes. He makes all his jerky in his own USDA inspected facility.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

McDonald's Meats Teriyaki Smokey Dried Turkey Strips

Mcdonald's meats turkey jerkyNext in the series on McDonald's Meats are these Teriyaki Smokey Dried Turkey Strips. See my previous reviews of their jerky.

McDonald's Meats is a full service butcher shop in Clear Lake, MN, in operation since 1914. It's a family-run business originally founded by John Leo McDonald, who passed it to his son Richard in 1954, who then passed it to his son Dave in 1989.

While they run a full service meat shop and wild game processing, they known well for their jerky. Boasting some 22 varieties in all, they make jerky in their own USDA inspected facility, smoking them over wood.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Battling Bulls Elk Jerky - Pepper Planks

battling bulls elk jerkyBattling Bulls is a brand of Grande Premium Elk Meats, based out of Del Norte, CO. They're also known by their website, "".

I bought these packages of Pepper Planks from "Buck Thorntons' World Of Jerky", a jerky shop in Sedona, AZ while riding my motorcycle through there. Buck's daughter happened to be there, and she told me that these Pepper Planks were ranked by Maxim Magazine as one of the top ten jerkies of all time.

Seeing that my reputation as a jerky reviewer had now been called upon, I had to buy these and see if the folks at Maxim know their jerky or not. I told her about this blog I write, and she offered me a 10% discount if I mentioned the shop, so there you go.

For the record, Battling Bull's Elk Jerky actually comes from Krehbiels Meat Market & Deli in McPherson, KS. To my knowledge, they're just the meat processor, and not associated with Grande Premium Elk Meats.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Clint & Sons Beef Jerky - Hot

clint & sons beef jerkyNext in the series on Clint & Sons Beef Jerky is this Hot variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.

Clint & Sons is a meat processing facility located in White Deer, TX. It's a family run business that goes back to 1944 when Clint Freeman opened it up. Today it's run by his sons and grandchildren.

The company's primary business is in custom slaughtering and processing, but beef jerky is a popular product of theirs. They only offer two varieties of beef jerky, the Original I reviewed earlier, and this Hot.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blerky Beef Jerky - Blueberry

blerky beef jerkyBlerky Beef Jerky is a brand of Longview Meat & Merchandise Ltd., based out of Longview, Alberta, Canada. They make the Longview Beef Jerky brand.

It's a beef jerky marinated in blueberry juice.

Longview is pushing the health and vitality aspects of blueberry, citing its high antioxidant qualities. But with the cartoonish character on the package suggests it's something targeted towards moms who want to offer a healthy snack for their kids.

Blerky Beef Jerky, along with its sister brand, Longview Beef Jerky, are made in Canada, and are only available in Canadian stores.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Liberty Jerky - Teriyaki

liberty jerkyLast in the series on Liberty Jerky is this Teriyaki Beef Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Original, Garlic, Spicy, and Smoke varieties.

Liberty Jerky is a new brand of beef jerky to hit the market, having opened business in November 2009. The company is based in Lincoln, CA. It was started by the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Ann Browne, who have been making beef jerky for over 20 years.

All of the jerky varieties seem to be based on a worcestershire sauce base with a Montreal Steak Seasoning blend.

The company describes this Teriyaki variety as a having a "sweet & spicy" flavor.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chocomize Beef Jerky Chocolate Bars

chocomize beef jerky chocolate barsChocomize is a company that let's you customize the ingredients of your chocolate bar, letting you choose from three types of belgian chocolate, and then choose from over 90 varieties of nuts, seeds, candies, seasonings, and even beef jerky.

Yeah, beef jerky chocolate bars!

And so the company was kind enough to send me a couple of beef jerky chocolate bars, a plain jerky bar, and one with pecans. Both are dark chocolate.

While beef jerky and chocolate is a crazy combination it's not really unheard of. It actually has quite a bit of folklore thanks to the Internet, and some companies have actually offered such products. Diva Chocolates, which is no longer in business, had offered beef jerky coated with chocolate dust, and you can read my reviews here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1st Annual Jerky Challenge

Wanted to let everyone know about another jerky contest, and this one I'll be participating as a judge. Here's the official press release....

Do you make jerky that you think out rivals the store bought variety?

Do you think your jerky is the best you have ever tired?

Do you think if there were a jerky competition you would win it?

Now you have your chance to prove yourself. Best Beef Jerky is teaming up with Peppers and More, I Love It Spicy, Hot Sauce Daily, and Scott Roberts Web to sponsor a World Class Jerky Competition. If you want to step up and prove your jerky is the best around then you need to enter! There will be four categories to enter, and with every category there will be a prize. A $5 fee will be charged for every entry with all money to be reserved for the competition. You can enter as many times and/or categories as you wish. All entry fees will be paid through PayPal.

A jerky entry must be in a vacuum sealed pouch with the Category and Contestant # (to be given out after payment is received) clearly written on the pouch. All entries must disclose the sauce utilized ahead of time if one is used. The judges to be selected will know nothing more about the jerky than what their eyes, nose and taste buds tell them. It will be the sole responsibility of the contestant to mail the jerky to the respective four judges. All judges are on the top of their game when it comes to jerky.

1st Annual Jerky Challenge

The Categories:

Non-Spicy Beef Jerky - You can use any marinade or seasoning you like as long as it is not spicy. This category will include Teriyaki, BBQ or any non-spicy marinade.

Spicy Beef Jerky - This category is for all you spicy jerky makers. You may use any spice or level of spiciness as long as it does not contain chile pepper extract. Judges will be looking for great flavor as well as heat.

Extract Beef Jerky - This is an award that will be given to the best tasting jerky that uses extract. Any type of marinade can be used here as long as there is chile pepper extract in the jerky. A few of our expert judges can handle the heat, so let's see if we can burn them...

Unique - Notice we said "unique". There will be no beef used in this category. You may use any other, poultry, venison or whatever...get the idea? As long as it's not beef. Be creative!

There will be one winner for each category. Since there are four categories, each category winner will win a cash prize and a trophy, and will be entered into the chance to win the Grand Prize and be crowned the Champion of our Jerky Challenge. The Grand Prize winner will receive a brand new Excalibur Dehydrator (cash value of $350.00) along with a cash prize and trophy.


To register, please e-mail Doug from Peppers and More at The deadline to enter is April 30, 2010.

Sending Jerky

All participants will be required to send one bag of jerky to each of our four judges. All bags should have two nice-sized pieces of jerky.

If you want to send more, that's up to you. After you have paid your registration fee you will be e-mailed the addresses of our four judges.


Excalibur Dehydrator
Jack Links Oberto
Scott's Jerky Cure

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mountain Ranch Jerky - Fiery Hot

mountain ranch beef jerkyNext in the series on Mountain Ranch Jerky is this Fiery Hot variety. See my previous reviews of their Original Beef Jerky and Mountain Peppered Jerky varieties.

Mountain Ranch Jerky is a brand of Mountain Ranch Smokehouse located in Fruitland, UT. The company is mostly known for its jerky products, but also smokes hams and turkeys, and makes meat sticks too. They also have a restaurant where you can get yourself a burger or steak.

Mountain Ranch claims that all their jerky is cut by hand, and smoked over real mesquite wood. They make jerky in their own USDA inspected facility.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Desert Star Texas Style Brisket - Sweet & Hot

desert star texas style brisketNext up in the series on Desert Star Texas Style Brisket is this Sweet & Hot variety. See my previous review of their Original variety.

Desert Star is a brand of Prime Snax, Inc., based out of Salt Lake City, UT. They make two lines of jerky under this brand, this Texas Style Brisket, which is a brisket cut into thin strips, and a plain Beef Jerky much like what you get with the major brands. The Texas Style Brisket I'm reviewing here is the company's newest line, having been produced for about a year now, but is just starting to hit stores nationwide.

Prime Snax also owns other brands including Arizona Jacks, Chipper, and Nature's Snack. They also make jerky for other companies including Perky Jerky.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jerk Nation - Fajita Jerk Dust

jerk nation jerkyNext in the series on Jerk Nation, is this Fajita Jerk Dust beef jerky. See my previous reviews of their Original Spicy, Chili Lime, and Moms Apple Pie varieties.

Jerk Nation is unique in that the jerky does not come seasoned. Rather, inside the package is a seasoning packet. You tear it open, pour in the seasoning, and shake the bag. The idea is that you can control how much seasoning to use. Jerk Nation calls it "Shake & Season".

The jerky itself is manufactured by Magnolia Provision, the makers of Smoky Mountain Beef Jerky.


Beef Jerky: Beef, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, teriyaki, onion powder, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, all natural smoke flavor.

Fajita Jerk Dust: Chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion, dried oregano.


For the record, I dumped the full seasoning packet into the bag.

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong seasoning blend, mostly the chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic. There's even a bit of tanginess in there too. With some more sucking, the jerky flavors come through, mostly more saltiness and some garlic.

The chewing flavor starts with a taste of worcestershire, a bit more saltiness, and then a slight bit of soy sauce at the end.

For being dubbed a "Fajita Jerk" flavored beef jerky, it seems to hold up to that description. Fajita itself is not really a flavor anyways, but a style by which meat is cooked. It usually involves a blend of bold seasonings of just about any type, and I certainly do get a taste of bold seasonings.

As for actually tasting a plate of sizzling fajitas that I might get from a mexican restaurant, not really. But the seasonings in this jerky could definitely be something you could expect to get.

After having poured the full contents of the seasoning packet, and shaken vigorously, there's a good deal of seasoning flavor that bursts into my mouth. The chili powder, cumin, and garlic seem to be the most strongest flavors. There's even a light tanginess that comes on, I'm not sure where that comes from.

But the seasoning doesn't last long. By the time I start chewing, it wears off and I'm left the marinade inside the meat. That's not too bad, because the jerky itself is good tasting as well, though somewhat plain with the worcestershire and soy sauce being most dominant.

I'm getting some natural meat flavors in this, not a whole lot. But enough to add a bit of extra flavor. I can also detect a wee bit of that liquid smoke flavor.

The level of saltiness in this seems moderate.

Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is an initial burst of fajita seasoning, represented mostly by the chili powder, cumin, and garlic, and a light tangy flavor. When you start chewing, some worcestershire sauce comes into view, and then ending with a light soy sauce flavor.

Meat Consistency

These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium, in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a dry jerky, with a semi-moist surface feel up until you pour in the seasoning at which it feels dry. The jerky has a soft, flexible feel, and bends easily without much cracking. Tearing pieces apart with my fingers seems easy enough, and chewing-ease seems moderate.

The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and pliable, and into chewing it feels chewy, but at the right amount for jerky. It seems to chew down to a soft mass in about 15-20 seconds. At that point, it feels just like a piece of steak, perhaps cooked medium or well-done, depending on the pieces.

I see some small bits of fat on some pieces. Several pieces also have significant streaks of gristle, but in chewing they're not very noticeable. I could feel a little bit of stringiness in this jerky. Overall, this sample yielded a pretty good chew.

In terms of clean eating, I get a good deal of seasoning stuck to my fingers, requiring a licking or wiping before touching my keyboard. I also get some seasoning flying off as I tear these pieces.

fajita beef jerky

fajita beef jerky
Snack Value

Jerk Nation sells this Fajita Jerk variety from its website at a price of $6.99 for a 4oz package. If you bought 8 packages, the total price comes to $65.42, including $9.50 shipping to Southern California. That works out to a price of $2.04 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.04 price per ounce, I think it offers a great value. I'm getting a good deal of snackability from this, for its good overall flavor, good meat consistency and chewing texture. That $2.04 price per ounce is close to what you'll pay at the grocery store for a major brand of jerky, but I'm getting better flavor and meat consistency.

As a Fajita Jerk variety of beef jerky, at the same $2.04 price per ounce, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of seasoning that could certainly represent something found in a plate of sizzling fajitas, and at that price, it seems to provide more flavor than the major brands of jerky.


beef jerky nutrition factsI'm giving this a best rating.

This Fajita Jerk beef jerky from Jerk Nation provides an initial burst of fajita seasoning upon putting a piece into my mouth, with a complex blend of flavors, mostly represented by chili powder, cumin, garlic, and something tangy. Once you get into the chewing, another set of flavors come through, mostly the worcestershire, with a bit of garlic, and then finishing up with a bit of soy sauce.

Add to that a good meat consistency that's moderately easy (or moderately tough) to chew, with a right amount of chewiness, and chewing like a real piece of meat, and it seems to create a pretty good combination of flavor and chewing.

Unless Jerk Nation introduces new flavors, this is the last flavor I have to review. Overall, Jerk Nation wins with me because I can control the amount of seasoning, and I like a lot of seasoning. But on the other hand, cutting open the seasoning packet, pouring it in, and shaking the bag, just adds an extra step to the snacking. I still prefer the instant gratification of just opening the bag and eating right away.

It might be more interesting if they experiment with sauce packets instead of seasoning, you'd get more of it to stick to the meat.

As for my recommended beer pairing with this, I'd do like with the Chili-Lime variety and go with a dark lager or German-style dunkel. Perhaps a Negra Modelo, or a Köstritzer Schwarzbier.

Rating: Best

Buy this online:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Riley's Jerky - Cajun

riley's jerkyTo this day the two reviews I wrote for Riley's Jerky back in November of 2008 continue to be among the most widely read here on Best Beef Jerky, which suggests that the brand enjoy's something of a cult status.

For one, Riley's Jerky is difficult to find in stores unless you live in Northern California. Travelers who stop at a gas station and discover it, later try to find it in their hometown, only to discover it's not around. They therefore run a Google search and find this website instead.

So to that effect, Britt Burkholder, the guy who took over when Riley himself passed away, sent me samples of their other flavors to take additional advantage. And the company has launched a website of their own, and hope to soon get online ordering in place.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fatman's Beef Jerky - Cajun

fatman's beef jerkyFatman's Beef Jerky is a brand of Red Meat Foods, LLC, based out of Roswell, NM.

I had reviewed several of their beef jerky varieties about a year and a half ago. Since then, Rick Robey, the guy behind the brand, released a few more flavors, a Sweet & Spicy, a Barbecue, and this Cajun. You can read my previous reviews of Fatman's here.

Prior to launching Fatman's, Rick Robey owned and operated a holstein calf raising business for 30 years as well as a USDA inspected packing plant. All of his jerky is made from inside rounds of American-raised beef, marinated for 24 hours in Robey's own homemade recipes. He makes all his jerky in his own USDA inspected facility.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Longview Beef Jerky - Original

longview beef jerkyLongview Beef Jerky is a brand of Longview Meat & Merchandise Ltd., based out of Longview, Alberta, Canada.

Longview has been making their jerky for the past 30 years starting with this Original variety. They claim their beef jerky is made from Canadian grown cattle. You can't buy Longview Beef Jerky in the USA, but you can find it at gas stations and stores throughout Canada.

They have eight varieties of jerky which I'll be reviewing here over the next couple of months.

The company sent me samples because rodeo is a really big deal in Alberta, and every July the Calgary Stampede attracts cowboy fans from the USA up into that area. So the makers of Longview Beef Jerky is trying to get the word out about their meat snacks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Liberty Jerky - Smoke

liberty jerkyNext in the series on Liberty Jerky is this Smoke variety. See my previous reviews of their Original, Garlic, and Spicy varieties.

Liberty Jerky is a new brand of beef jerky to hit the market, having opened business in November 2009. The company is based in Lincoln, CA. It was started by the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Ann Browne, who have been making beef jerky for over 20 years.

The name "Liberty Jerky" comes from Bill's middle name, "Liberty", a name that traces back through his family history into the 1700's.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mark's Meat Co. - Cajun Honey

mark's meat co.Next in the series on Mark's Meat Co. is this Cajun Honey Beef Jerky. See my previous reviews of their Spicy Garlic and Lemongrass Teriyaki beef jerky.

Mark's Meat Co. launched earlier this year, being based out of Carmichael, CA, and is the creation of two friends, Mark and Chris. Mark had been making jerky for about six years, when he had Chris try some of it out. Chris was quite impressed, enough so that he encouraged Mark to launch a business. Now the two are business partners.

This "Cajun Honey" beef jerky is described by the company as "a deceiving combination of subtle sweetness with a gradual build and development of flavor from Nature's own sweetener to the bite of fiery peppercorns."