I am a jerkyologist.
Alright … you caught me, that’s a made up title. But, the truth is, it’s the best way to describe what I do.
I’m a beef jerky fanatic first and foremost. It’s a passion that’s led me to studying the different ways in which jerky is sourced and made. Ultimately though, it led me on a search to find America’s ‘perfect jerky’.
So, see. I’m kinda like an archeologist, except minus the whole fossil thing.
In addition to being the best darn beef jerky finder on the planet, I’m also the founder of Stick in a Box, the original monthly gourmet beef jerky subscription.
Jerky wasn’t always my passion. In fact, just four years ago I would have considered myself just your average run-of-the-mill beef jerky consumer.
I was a general fan of dried meat snacks, had a Mother that made her own version growing up, and would purchase a bag or two on a semi-regular basis when at the convenience store.
In other words, I was like 90% of other beef jerky consumers in America.
That all changed in the Spring of 2014 when, by sheer luck (or divine intervention if you believe in that), I stumbled across the most incredible jerky I’ve ever tasted (it’s part of the top 11 below), which inspired me to enlighten the world to superior meat.
Since starting Stick in a Box in 2014, I’ve shipped 100’s of unique jerky products to 1000’s of subscribers across the US. Personally, I’ve tried over 700 different varieties.
While I’m a fan of jerky in general, there are certain products that have stood out amongst the rest. These are the ones that have the best of everything — ingredients, thickness of cuts, flavors … and, of course, my heart. Awww.
Without further ado, here are my choices for the Best Jerky Products in America:
1. Big Ed’s
Made in Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Might as well start with my all-time favorite — and that’s Big Ed’s jerky.
Big Ed is a person (and it’s not a guy). Big Ed is Eddy, who has been making jerky since 1999. And, she’s mastered it.
Everyone has their own preferences, and I like my jerky thick, flavorful and tender.
Big Ed’s, which only comes in one flavor, is thick, tender, and packed with flavor. It’s medium on the moisture (juiciness) level, and that’s perfect for me. And, there is just the tiniest amount of Frank’s Red Hot to give it a little extra kick as well, which just makes this ideal.
2. Joe’s Jerky
Made in Sherrill, New York
Up until I tried Big Ed’s jerky, Joe’s was my favorite. They have a bunch of flavor options, but I’m only talking about the original flavor. It contains a smoked flavor that really makes the medium-moisture and drier seasonings really work.
It tends to be a thicker and tender to the bite type of jerky, but can vary from bag to bag.
Regardless of the inconsistency, I’m a huge fan, so it’s still one of my absolute favorites.
Made in Sherrill, New York
3. Gramps Jerky
Made in Long Beach, California
This was among some of the first jerky that I tasted when starting Stick in a Box. For quite some time, it held the number 1 spot in my mind in terms of texture and flavor.
This is a really tender jerky, so much so, that it won’t even stay flat when holding it between your fingers. I absolutely love that about it.
The flavor of the Gramps Original is spot on, which has made it a favorite. After trying as many jerkies as I have, I’ve gotten to be too much of a snob to put Gramp’s at #1. But, the top 11 of 700+ products is where it belongs.
4. Astig Tocino Bacon Jerky
Made in Reno, Nevada
This is unlike anything I’ve tried before, and better than any bacon jerky on the market … hands down.
Astigo makes Filipino-inspired products, that use the unique flavors and ingredients of the culture to bring amazing products to the market.
This bacon jerky is, well, bacon for one … I mean c’mon. But on top of that, it’s crispy and even more amazing than jerky (if that’s even possible).
The Tocino flavoring gives this a slight spice, with a sweet and salty kick. Amazing I tell you.
5. Chef’s Cut Original
Made in New York, New York
Original is the key word here. This was the product that started it all for us. I’ve often called this the “filet mignon” of beef jerky.
While it’s definitely more popular now (and more widely available) than it was when we first started, Chef’s Cut original is still one of the best products in the market.
For those of you that like super tender and very moist jerky, this is going to be the best product you’ve ever had.
Unlike the widely available products like Jack Link’s, this is not a stuck-in-your-teeth kind of jerky. It’s more of a melt-in-your-mouth kind of product.
6. Divine Bovine Beef Original
Made in Palm Desert, California
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with brisket. Very tender meat.
That’s Divine Bovine. It’s made with brisket and in our opinion, the best brisket jerky available.
This is a very easy to chew product that’s absolutely packed with flavor. High in moisture and extremely tender.
7. Crazy Mike’s Hickory Beef Jerky
Made in Altamont, New York
Crazy Mike makes crazy good jerky, that’s for certain. This is a relatively new product to the market, but quickly became one of our favorites.
This is the only product that we’ve ever come across that actually flavor seals the product inside a jerky bag.
The result is consistently fresh jerky, almost like it just came out of the oven.
This is a thick cut jerky using Eye Round beef that contains a light oily base that gives this jerky a slightly different experience (in a good way).
If you’re into a meatier bite, this is the product for you.
8. Dundalk Dan’s Chesapeake Jerky
Made in Baltimore, Maryland
I’ve never been to Maryland, but if I have, Dundalk Dan’s Chesapeake is what I would expect jerky to taste like.
This is an absolute unique flavor to anything that we’ve ever tried.
Not only does this come in nice, tear-size chucks, it’s nearly perfect in terms of moisture and thickness.
But, that’s only topped by the incredibly unique East Coast shoreline seasoning that coats each piece of meat. The Chesapeake refers to the seafood-inspired seasoning they use to capture the essence of what Maryland has to offer.
There isn’t much that keeps this from being one of the tastiest jerkies we’ve ever had.
9. Crazy Horse Beef Jerky
Made in Hellam, Pennsylvania
If you want the freshest jerky you can get, Crazy Horse has everyone beat.
This is one of the few products that we’ve delivered that needs to be refrigerated from day one. And, it’s for good reason. It’s the freshest.
This is made-to-order jerky is naturally smoked with thick cuts and rich seasoning. It’s very tender to chew and provides probably one of the most satisfying bites of jerky we’ve had.
10. Tibb’s Garlic Sriracha
Made in Sacramento, California
If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the droopy piece of jerky that we displayed in front of our computer screen.
That was Tibb’s.
It’s tender to say the least. Delicious to say the most.
The amount of garlic to spice is near perfection. Not too hot and not too garlicky. It’s medium in moisture, extremely easy to chew and just about the right thickness for the perfect bite.
11. Jedidiah’s Sweet & Spicy Beef Brisket Jerky
Made in Las Vegas, Nevada
So we told you about Divine Bovine’s brisket jerky … well, this one is just as amazingly tender as well.
The difference between the two is the flavors.
Some people like sweet and salty, but for others, it’s all about sweet and spicy. For the latter, this is your jerky.
Of every sweet and spicy jerky we’ve had, this takes 1st place in a landslide.
You mix the tenderness of brisket, along with the palate pleasantness of an evenly balanced sweet and spicy and you’ve got a winner.
Ready to explore more jerky?
If you’ve been a convenience store beef jerky consumer all your life (like me), it’s time that you expand your horizons. The products I’ve mentioned above are only a fraction of the amazing jerky that is made across America and sent to Stick in a Box subscribers each month.
Come experience everything above and more with a monthly subscription to Stick in a Box.
This piece is a guest post from one of Cratejoy’s premier Jerky box owners, Dana Severson.