Huffpost Taste

Taste Test: The Best And Worst Beef Jerky (PHOTOS)

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BEEF JERKY
Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post

Beef jerky is one of the quintessential road foods. Great for long car trips, camping, and anywhere you need a snack where you will also surely be tired of potato chips and red vines. There really are no two beef jerkies that are completely alike -- like beautiful snowflakes but made of meat. We decided to have ourselves a beef jerky taste test -- pitting some of our favorite natural and/or small batch beef jerky brands against the big guys.

All of these beef jerkies were found in New York City grocery stores (Whole Foods, Food Emporium, places like that) with the exception of the Whiskey Soaked Campfire Jerky, which we procured on the internet. In the end, most of our tasters favored beef flavor over smoke, sweetness over savoriness and an easier chew. One of us still maintains that the best beef jerky we've ever had was purchased from a truck on the side of the road in New Mexico. If you have a favorite small-batch beef jerky, let us know about it in the comments so we can find some!

As always, this taste test was in no way influenced by the brands included. YOU CAN'T BUY OUR JERKY LOVE, GUYS.

  • 9
    NOT RECOMMENDED: Slant Shack Dried & True
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Whoa. This tastes like ginger and crayons?" "Kind of off-tasting." "Really gingery." "Really sweet, too much like licorice." "Seaweed flavored? Tastes like sushi." "Good texture, too much citrus." "Ginger craziness."
  • 8
    NOT RECOMMENDED: 365 Organic Original
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "This is less like dried jerky and more like old meat." "The texture is too gelatinous. No." "Like a gummy bear." "Too chewy and sweet." "Has a weird healthy Fruit Roll Up texture."
  • 7
    Slant Shack Bronx Pale Ale
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Yep. Yes. You are my jerky. Dry, chewy, perfect." "Very beefy." "It's really fun to chew." "So hard." "There's a lot going on here. I'm getting a bunch of Parmesan cheese notes." "Tastes like bread." "Almost tastes like lemongrass -- can't figure it out."
  • 6
    Whiskey Soaked Campfire Jerky
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "This actually tastes like eating a campfire. But in a good way." "The smokiest in all the land. Smells terrible, tastes great." "Tastes sort of like what I imagine the sawdust on the floor of a great old BBQ restaurant would taste like. In a good way." "Overwhelmingly bitter."
  • 5
    Krave Chili Lime
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Flavorful. Weird texture." "Pleasantly surprised by the spiciness of the powder." "The looks of this one are deplorable, but it tastes spicy, smoky, BBQ-y." "Strangely delicate texture." "Tastes like brisket." "This tastes like a car air freshener."
  • 4
    Duke's Bourbon Glaze
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Feels slimy, but tastes alright." "Good amount of chew." "This is what I imagine as the typical beef jerky." "Weird, blue cheese after-taste." "Tough texture." "Is this soy?" "Slightly sweet, easy to eat."
  • 3
    RECOMMENDED: Matador Original
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "A nice smoky flavor on the end, and I like its little steak-y shape." "Nice, pepperoni-like texture." "Spicy, complex flavor." "Hate the sugar."
  • 2
    RECOMMENDED: 365 Organic Peppered
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Love the chewy texture and the sweet/peppery flavor." "Simple, sugary, dried. Ketchup?" "Sweet, like pepperoni." "Kind of generic, but not bad."
  • 1
    WINNER: Jack Link's Teriyaki
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    "Very meaty. Hint of sesame, maybe?" "Classic jerky texture, flavor." "Good chewiness." "Tomato-y flavor, reminds me of Memphis BBQ sauce." "All I can taste are chemicals at first. It wears off into a Dinty Moore Beef Stew flavor."

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