You can see the packages of jerky sitting on shelves at convenience stores and food markets, and it’s always the same a couple of brands.
But did you realize there are actually easily a thousand different brands of jerky selling all over the usa? More expensive and a few more limited in quantity.
How do you know if you’re having your money’s worth to have an expensive type of jerky? How will you differentiate between good jerky and cheap jerky?
Does it taste like real meat? – Most major brands of jerky are really packed with sugar, tenderizers and preservatives that every one of the natural meat flavors have left. Bite into a sheet of jerky and try to taste the genuine flavor of beef, just as you’d taste in the chunk of grilled steak or roast tri-tip.
Can it chew like real meat? – A number of brands of jerky either have so much sugar which it becomes gummy, like eating a bit of fruit chew, or has cooked for too long which it becomes crumbly. Sometimes, brands will add meat tenderizers which render it too mushy. Good jerky should feel much like eating an actual bit of steak once it has been chewed to a soft mass.
What’s that stringy stuff?” – Mass produced jerky utilizes low grades of beef loaded with stringy sinews, rubbery gristle, and unchewable tissues. Worse yet, you will probably find large chunks and streaks of fat. On the other hand, beef jerky homemade must be absolutely lean, practically pure meat. It’s OK to get tiny flecks and streaks of fat, simply because this will add some “beefy” flavor. But excessive fat will result in the meat to taste rancid.
Will it meet its advertised flavor?” – Each time a jerky packages says it’s “Hot”, then it needs to be hot, not medium hot, or somewhat hot, or simply barely hot, but HOT. The same with teriyaki. Most major brands only use sweetened soy sauce, and don’t bother to provide the mirin wine and ginger that makes good teriyaki.
Would it require heavy machinery to chew?” – In the old days, it might have been acceptable to get tough jerky. But these days, most gourmet brands could make simple, all natural, beef jerky in dexspky28 tender, moist chew, that still retains the chewing texture of a grilled steak. Should your jaws getting too tired, then look for something quicker to chew.
Will it contain preservatives? – Sodium nitrite and sodium erythorbate are standard preservatives utilized in processed meats, including jerky. However, these days, vacuum packaging and oxygen absorbers can raise the life expectancy of jerky, consumers don’t need to subject themselves to these ingredients.
Does it make you would like to eat more? – Possibly the true test of great jerky is if it makes you wish to eat more, just like eating potato chips. I call this, “snackability”, a characteristic that you find yourself eating one piece after another without the ability to stop. Jerky is actually a snack food, and when it satisfies your urge to snack, then you’ve found a great jerky.