Jerky: No Longer a Tough Sell
Today’s exotic jerkies are a far cry from the flavorless meat strips of yesteryear.
Truck stops on Route 66. mom- and- pop markets in rural towns. Food marts at gas stations. Some 30 years ago, that’s where you’d be most likely to stumble across packages of beef jerky. These tough, bland, salty strips of mystery meat were more or less your only option.
Boy, how times have changed. There has been a veritable explosion of jerky in the marketplace, partly thanks to the popularity of Paleo, keto, and similar diets. Protein is the belle of the ball these days, even in snack and energy foods. And jerky has become a highly praised alternative to other lesshealthy snacks. We’re not talking just beef and pork; today’s jerky alternatives range from chicken to turkey to familiar game meats including bison, venison, and elk. And for the more adventurous, wild boar, kangaroo, and alligator jerkies are also available. Even fi sh protein is now included, with salmon, ahi tuna, and trout getting the jerky treatment.
What to Look for in Jerky
When looking for the best jerky, you’ll want to check out a few key details— the origins of the protein source, other ingredients in the product, and the company’s philosophy. For example, Country Archer uses only 100% grass- fed beef with no added preservatives, no nitrates, no MSG, and no antibiotics or hormones. Epic uses only pasture- raised animals, and supports organizations devoted to improving animal welfare standards such as The Certifi ed Humane Project.
What about taste? If you haven’t had jerky since the ’ 70s, you’re probably like I was— not all that fond of shoe leather in a plastic package. You’re in for a pleasant surprise! Here’s the list of products that turned me into a jerky fanatic.