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Beef Jerky - The search for the best

  • b

Whenever my husband and I road trip (which is very, very often) we always pick up a bag of jerky in whatever roadside convenience store we stop at. It's a great snack while driving. We keep trying different brands, but I don't have a real favorite yet. Usually we get peppered or hickory smoked. He likes it hot so we try the hot ones too. Here are my opinions so far:

Oberto - Pretty good, but it can be kind of salty and harsh esp. their Teriyaki flavor

SMC (Stafford Meat Company) - I tried a bag of their Honey Glazed and thought I'd found my jerky heaven. It was sweet and had a great flavor and it was TENDER. Unfortunately my first bag seemed to be a fluke. The next two bags I bought had a weird flavor (almost fishy) and the jerky was so tough it was like shoe leather. I was severely bummed out.

Pemmican - Our current favorite, but I think we can do better

Golden Valley - Peppered style was pretty good. I also bought a small bag of their Buffalo meat jerky. Texture was good, but I don't think I like Buffalo jerky

Tillamook - Haven't bought this recently; that probably means I wasn't impressed

I forget the brand, but we recently tried one that seems new in the stores out here (San Francisco Bay Area). It's a Jalapeno jerky. It's really spicy, but tasty, fresh and tender.

So what should I be trying? I still haven't found an all-time favorite.

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  1. Go online and order some jerky from Robertson's. It's kind of expensive but it's amazing!!

    Link: http://www.robertsonshams.com/index.htm

    2 Replies
    1. re: DeeS.

      Try Whittington's in Johnson City Texas. They do an on-line business as well. They're really good.

      1. re: DeeS.

        I just found this thread by searching on robertson's jerky. My father is from Marietta and Ardmore, so my family has been eating their jerky a long time.

        My brother orders a few pounds every year. He always orders by phone, and when he calls them they always remember him and tell him stories about our grandfather and great grandfather.

      2. I would second the Robertson's jerky. They have it all the Love's Country Stores (travel stops) mostly in Oklahoma and Texas.
        I used to work there and it was amazing how many times a package would just break open all by itself and have to placed on the waste sheet and eaten by employees.

        The best I have ever had is kinda out of the way. Home made at the M-35 convience store. Just south of Escanaba, MI in the U.P. on M-35

        Ben

        1. We LOVE the peppered turkey jerky from the New Braunfels Smokehouse. They also have many other "flavors". you can order from them on line. Here's their website:

          http://www.nbsmokehouse.com

          also - if you are ever swinging through New York City, we're very lucky to have several places in Chinatown that make their own homemade jerky - below is a link to a recent post with a list...

          and thanks for postin' - picked up some good tips form you and the other replies :-

          )

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. Does anyone remember the beef jerky made by Hickory Farms of Ohio? It was long and gnarly. They had no flavors, only what companies now would call "regular." Hickory Farms no longer carries this jerky; I have confirmed this with the company. So, the question is: which jerky most closely approaches the HF version? Any suggestions? TIA.

            8 Replies
            1. re: TomSwift

              I believe that is our jerky you tried at Hickory Farms. We made long sticks of beef jerky for Hickory Farms a few years ago. We cut them from whole muscle top rounds, so they are the long sticks you are speaking of. We still make them, using beef, Certified Angus Beef (r), Buffalo, Elk and Turkey.

              Paul Murdoch

              Link: http://www.garywest.com

              1. re: Paul Murdoch

                I'll give a big thumbs-up to Gary West's jerky. Their Cajun jerky is to DIE for--my lips were burning from the peppers, but I couldn't put it down!

                1. re: Paul Murdoch

                  I actually just ordered your sampler from your recommendation and it came in the mail today. I am a huge fan of HF Jerky and unfortunately what I got was not what I was looking for. Your beef jerky is good, but it's not the same as what I used to get @ HF. Wonder if anyone knows who made it. If I recall back in the mid to late 80's it was close to $20.00 a pound. I'd pay $100 if I could get it again.

                  Again the Gary Jerky is good, just not HF good. Thanks

                2. re: TomSwift

                  That was my favorite jerky of all time. When I started making our flavors I always had that Hickory farms jerky in mind. Did the stuff you remember have a 'snap' to it? I have a couple flavors that are really close. That stuff was good.
                  Paul you said a few years ago? The stuff Im thinking of was many years ago, more than 18 years I would say. Got it from the Hickory Farms store at Hillsdale mall back in the day.

                  1. re: GreenLightJerky

                    It was about 12-15 years ago that we stopped making it for Hickory Farms. We had made it for 4-5 years before that.

                  2. re: TomSwift

                    TomSwift i know what you are talking about go to SMOKEDMEATS.COM you liked the kind i did it is called INDIAN JERKY no tast but you just could't stop eating it. Tough to bit you had to tear or cut to eat.I promise this is IT!!!!!!!!!!

                    1. re: mikeandeb

                      You're right! I've been looking for the Hickory Farms jerky for YEARS! My brother and then my high school sweet heart worked there in the 80s and then the 90's and I swear I lived on the stuff for years until it just disappeared!
                      I've tried lots of different brands over the years in search of my true love and FINALLY came across Mahogany Smoked Meats Indian Jerky!
                      This is IT! My brother and old girlfriend agree! Hallelujah! my search is over....just ordered my 3rd pound and just found them maybe three weeks ago!
                      During my search others that I like are:
                      No Man's Land Beef Jerky
                      Mingua Brothers
                      and Robertsons...
                      But the Indian Jerky is the BEST!

                      http://www.smokedmeats.com/indianjerk...

                      1. re: mikeandeb

                        He's right, this IS the h.f. Beef jerky from the 80s

                    2. Not the conventional answers, but try some Vietnamese beef jerky. You can find it at any Vietnamese grocery store. Sweet, fairly tender, and nice n' spicy. Also if you are in San Fran or LA some Vietnamese groceries carry deer jerky which is FANTASTIC if you toast it up a little.