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What do you look for in beef jerky?

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In your opinion, what qualities in a piece of beef jerky makes it "good"? I've tried lots of different kinds, but I still don't know what really good beef jerky should be like

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  1. If you like it, it's good. If everyone had the same opinion about what's good jerky, it would all taste the same by now. Hell, people can't even agree on whether the beef should be cut with or against the grain or somewhere in between.

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    1. re: Zeldog

      I just made some that was made from ground beef heart, then extruded with a jerky gun. It's easier to bite off a piece and easier to chew.

    2. I like Taiwanese style beef jerky -- i.e., a bit wet and not bone dry like American beef jerky.

      Fruit flavored is a favorite.

      1. Personally? I prefer it when my jerky tastes like beef. A lot of people prefer Teriyaki seasoning or sweet jerky, or whatever else, but I much prefer a jerky that's 1) jerky (meaning you have to work a little to get a chaw) and chewy, and 2) not messed with too much. Just my $0.02.

        1. I prefer beef jerky to be thin and flat, not thick and chunky like a beef stick. It shouldn't be difficult to tear off a piece with your teeth. It shouldn't be too salty, and I prefer it not sweet. It should taste like beef.

          1. Beef....

            ...and jerky.

            1. Good jerky should also absorb moisture quickly and become softer. Lousy jerky is like chewing canvas.

              1. Good beef jerky should be Salty, not Sweet. It also should be eaten preferably after you've done enough sweating that you need the salt. It's hiking food, not "snack in a car" food.

                1. Beef. Not overwhelming added salt or sugar. I want it plain (no teriyaki or this or that) and tasting of cow. Haven't had good beef jerky in a long time, actually. Bought some Jack Links after someone raved about it and it was a big meh.

                  Chewy, slightly tender, but not wet.

                  1. I also like a good, hard jerky. Peppered, and sometimes with a bit of sweetness. The jerky that is my basic go-to jerky is actually Oberto's classic thin peppered. It's not blow -your-mind jerky but it's reliable and tastes minimally processed. I'm not fond of soft jerkys, and I don't like Asian jerky at all, even though I grew up with it. Too sweet and soft and sticky.

                    Montreal, for a sweeter jerky I actually liked Jack Link's until they changed their formula a few years ago. Now the jerky tastes a lot more artificial.

                    1. i too have tried many kinds but only like Vietnamese beef jerky. i could eat it by the lorry load!

                      1. I'm open to most types of flavors. The big thing for me is the texture. It shouldn't be sticky. It shouldn't be tough. I should be able to tear pieces of it off without too much difficulty with just my hands.

                        Not too sure about expecting beefy flavor. After all, fat is flavor, but jerky is made with lean cuts.

                        1. I like jerky with black pepper and molasses, and just slightly more tender than gnawing at a football.

                          1. The flavors are less important to me than the texture although I like a strong salty flavor. It has to have a good firm chew and feel pretty dry, unlike the wet greasy stuff you will find in most convenience stores. When I make it myself, I cut the beef fairly thick to get the texture I like.