The thing is the packages of jerky sitting on shelves at convenience stores and food markets, and it’s always exactly the same two or three brands.
But are you aware you will find easily one thousand different brands of jerky selling all over the United States? More expensive and a few more limited in quantity.
How can you tell if you’re getting your money’s worth for the expensive model of jerky? Just how do you differentiate between good jerky and cheap jerky?
Can it taste like real meat? – Most major brands of jerky are so packed with sugar, tenderizers and preservatives that all the natural meat flavors have left. Bite into a sheet of jerky and see if you can taste the real flavor of beef, just as you’d taste in a chunk of grilled steak or roast tri-tip.
Would it chew like real meat? – Several brands of jerky either have a lot sugar that this becomes gummy, like eating a piece of fruit chew, or has cooked for too long that it becomes crumbly. Quite often, brands will prove to add meat tenderizers which render it too mushy. Good jerky should feel exactly like eating an actual bit of steak once it really has been chewed down 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 could find large chunks and streaks of fat. However, bulk beef jerky must be absolutely lean, practically pure meat. It’s OK to possess tiny flecks and streaks of fat, because this will add some “beefy” flavor. But too much fat will cause the meat to taste rancid.
Will it live up to its advertised flavor?” – When 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 identical with teriyaki. Most major brands just use sweetened soy sauce, and don’t bother to provide the mirin wine and ginger that makes good teriyaki.
Will it require heavy machinery to chew?” – In the old days, it may have been acceptable to get tough jerky. However, these days, most gourmet brands can certainly make simple, all natural, beef jerky in dexspky28 tender, moist chew, that also retains the chewing texture of any grilled steak. Should your jaws getting too tired, then look for something much easier to chew.
Will it contain preservatives? – Sodium nitrite and sodium erythorbate are typical preservatives found in processed meats, including jerky. However, these days, vacuum packaging and oxygen absorbers can boost the shelf life of jerky, consumers don’t have to subject themselves to the ingredients.
Will it make you want to eat more? – Perhaps the true test of excellent jerky is if it will make you want to eat more, exactly like eating potato chips. I call this, “snackability”, a characteristic where you realise you are eating one piece after another without the opportunity to stop. Jerky is a snack food, and when it satisfies your urge to snack, then you’ve found an effective jerky.