Food

6 Beef Jerky Brands to Try Right Now

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Beef jerky used to be a niche product that was typically marketed to young men as a primal, masculine food. It was seen as a product for dudes who would sooner gnaw off their own foot rather than take a bite of avocado toast or sip a pumpkin spice latte. The marketing seemed to suggest that if you couldn’t go out and kill your own food, then tearing off a piece of beef jerky was the next best thing. It was essentially sold as machismo in a sealed plastic pouch.

Times have changed, though. The proliferation of low-carb, high-protein diets has introduced beef jerky to a much wider audience. This meaty creation is no longer reserved for one gender, generation, or any other group. It now has fans that are unbounded by any social dividing line.

As with any product that grows in popularity, countless brands understandably want a piece of the action. Walk through the grocery store or scroll Amazon and you’ll quickly find more beef jerky brands than you can count. It can be difficult to decide which ones are worth your hard-earned money, though. After all, beef jerky is a lot of things, but cheap isn’t one of them.

Consumers may have sticker shock when shopping for beef jerky, mostly because the price of beef itself has risen significantly. In fact, some experts predict that record-high beef prices are coming in 2024.

Since all beef products, including jerky, are selling at premium prices, consumers can and should demand premium quality in return. These six beef jerky brands meet that high standard.

24/7 Wall St. compiled this list of beef jerky brands to try by consulting eight different food review websites, blogs, and vlogs. We also consulted customer reviews on major retail websites. Because beef jerky preference is subjective, we used an aggregate scoring system to measure the positive reviews each brand received in our survey.

The prices included in each review were accurate at the time of publication. Prices are subject to change and may vary by store or location.

Products Not Considered

Slim Jim meat snacks
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Beef stick brands such as Slim Jim were not included in our survey.

We did not consider beef sticks in our survey. While these products are often included in the same category as beef jerky, they are typically made with lesser cuts of meat that are hidden behind copious amounts of seasoning and other inferior ingredients. Beef sticks cannot compare with true, high-quality beef jerky. While we loved those old commercials with “Macho Man” Randy Savage, we’re not going to “snap into a Slim Jim” for this story.

7. Bridgford

Bridgford meat snacks store display
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Bridgford manufactures lots of different meat snacks, but its beef jerky is the star of the show.
  • Expected Price: $12.94
  • Size: 10 oz

Bridgford Review

Bridgford beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Bridgford calls itself “The Premium Brand,” and we don’t disagree.

Bridgford is a super tender beef jerky. The jerky bears the “Sweet Baby Ray’s” name, which you may recognize from the brand’s tasty barbecue sauces. We’re happy to report that this jerky lives up to the standard set by that iconic name.

This jerky has a nice smoky quality. It is also sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

Bridgford might almost be too tender for some folks. One customer put it this way: “If you don’t enjoy extremely tender teriyaki beef that melts in your mouth [and] you [prefer] tough shoe leather [instead], don’t buy this stuff.” The tender cuts with the underlying sweetness are precisely why we can’t get enough of this stuff.

Another customer summed it up by calling Bridgford, “The best jerky out there…it is so yummy in my tummy.”

6. Jack Link’s

Jack Link's beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Jack Link’s is the largest beef jerky manufacturer in the U.S.
  • Expected Price: $10.16
  • Size: 8 oz

Jack Link’s Review

Jack Link's beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Jack Link’s is found practically everywhere, and that’s a good thing!

Wisconsin is much more well-known for its cheese, but Wisconsin-based Jack Link’s proves that America’s Dairyland also produces some pretty fantastic beef products. The company is the largest manufacturer of beef jerky in the U.S.

Jack Link’s became the most well-known name in jerky, at least in part, through its over-the-top “Messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials. Some folks may pass over this brand because it is too “mainstream,” but we strongly advise you to give it another look.

Jack Link’s uses high-quality meat, unlike some other well-known brands. The jerky has a woody, smoky flavor. It is surprisingly tender, as well.

One customer review said, “I have never had jerky this tasty. Easy to chew and a very fair quantity for the price.”

Another customer said, “Nice chewy, tender, yummy………….gone. It doesn’t last long around here. The best.”

The Jack Link’s brand is ubiquitous. No doubt about it. However, it is also good. Really good.

5. Chef’s Cut

Chef's Cut beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Chef’s Cut beef jerky delivers on the promise of “tender & premium cuts.”
  • Expected Price: $24.49
  • Size: 14 oz

Chef’s Cut Review

Chef's Cut beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Chef’s Cut beef jerky is tender, beefy bliss.

If tenderness is your highest priority in a jerky, then this is your brand. Chef’s Cut is almost too tender to qualify as jerky. Speaking of its original recipe jerky, the Chef’s Cut website says, “Some steaks come on a plate. Ours comes in a bag.” That is pretty darn accurate. (And speaking of steak, here is a look at the most expensive steakhouses in America.)

The original flavor has a sweet taste without skimping on the savory notes that you want in a jerky. But the texture is what has us coming back for more.

Beef jerky purists may actually find these cuts to be a bit too tender. While we disagree, we do get what they’re saying. Those objections are why this jerky didn’t rank even higher on our list. However, for most folks who are just looking for a high-quality protein snack, Chef’s Cut definitely makes the cut.

4. Buc-ee’s

Buc-ee's Ghost Pepper Beef Jerky
Source: Sarah Stierch / Wikimedia Commons
Buc-ee’s offers lots of different jerky flavors, including Ghost Pepper.
  • Expected Price: $29.99
  • Size: 1 lb

Buc-ee’s Review

Buc-ee's Ghost Pepper Beef Jerky
Source: Sarah Stierch / Wikimedia Commons
Buc-ee’s Ghost Pepper beef jerky is not for the faint-hearted!

Buc-ee’s is a growing chain of convenience stores with a cult-like following. The stores are gigantic. In fact, the Buc-ee’s in Sevierville, Tennessee is the largest convenience store in the world.

Travelers flock to Buc-ee’s for brisket, fudge, endless drink options, and beaver nuggets (if you know, you know). The Wall of Jerky is also a sight to behold. However, not only is the jerky selection extensive, but it’s also quite good.

Wait a minute…isn’t this just “gas station beef jerky?” Well, Buc-ee’s does sell gasoline, but calling it a gas station is a bit like calling the Kennedy Space Center an airport. It is so much more than that.

The flavors of Buc-ee’s jerky range from Sweet & Spicy to Lemon Pepper to Korean BBQ to Ghost Pepper. Which flavor is the best? You’ll have to try them all to decide for yourself.

3. Old Trapper

Old Trapper beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Old Trapper beef jerky has a delicious smokey flavor.
  • Expected Price: $12.98
  • Size: 10 oz

Old Trapper Review

Old Trapper beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Old Trapper has a classic beef jerky texture.

While all of the beef jerkies on this list are available online, a few might be difficult to find in stores in some parts of the U.S. Old Trapper is available coast-to-coast, though. In fact, the Oregon-based company is the second-largest beef jerky manufacturer in the nation. Not only is it readily available, but it is also one of the best beef jerky brands on the market.

If you don’t want a super tender jerky such as Chef’s Cut or Bridgford, then Old Trapper is probably right up your alley. It is a little tougher and chewier than those brands, but it is certainly not TOO tough or TOO chewy. It is still far more tender than the tough-as-leather jerky brands that proliferate the market. Plus, a prolonged chew is part of this brand’s appeal. It gives you more time to savor the flavor.

One customer said, “I cannot get over how amazing this brand tastes….The softer jerky just doesn’t give me the experience I’m after when buying this type of snack.”

Another was very succinct in their review, saying Old Trapper beef jerky is, “smoky, flavorful, and delicious!”

2. Wild Bill’s

Wild Bill's beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Wild Bill’s is a top-tier beef jerky brand.
  • Expected Price: $5.98
  • Size: 3 oz

Wild Bill’s Review

Wild Bill's beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Wild Bill’s is a chewy jerky with a near-perfect flavor.

Wild Bill’s was created in a Pennsylvania butcher shop in the 1950s. The quality of that original creation has been maintained to this day.

It only takes one bite to realize that this jerky uses premium cuts of beef. Those cuts are slow-smoked to give this jerky a one-of-a-kind taste.

Wild Bill’s jerky has a hardier chew than the super tender brands listed earlier. For many beef jerky enthusiasts, that chewiness is part of what makes a truly great jerky.

One customer said, “I crave this jerky. I think about this jerky. I LIVE for this jerky. It’s seriously the best ever. THE. BEST. EVER.”

We get the obsession. Give it a try. You might find that you go wild for Wild Bill’s jerky, too.

1. Country Archer

Country Archer beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Country Archer is tender beef jerky perfection.
  • Expected Price: $13.99
  • Size: 7 oz

Country Archer Review

Country Archer beef jerky
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
There are no artificial ingredients in Country Archer jerky.

We’re finishing off this list with another super tender jerky. One reviewer compared Country Archer to a steak at a restaurant. Yes, it really is that good.

The quality comes from what’s in it…and what’s not. This jerky features 100% grass-fed beef and it has no artificial ingredients. You won’t find MSG, preservatives, or nitrates/nitrites in this jerky. All you find is one of the tenderest, most flavorful beef jerkies you’ve ever experienced.

Country Archer jerky is slightly sweet, but that sweetness is contrasted with a light peppery flavor. You can instantly tell that it is naturally flavored with no artificial junk added.

One customer said, “[Country Archer] Original Grass Fed Jerky is bar none the best jerky on the market. It melts in your mouth. Forget ripping a piece off with your teeth. It is tender. And the taste? Fantastic. Try it!!”

Another summed it up by saying, “Best jerky I have ever eaten. Highly recommend it.”

So do we.

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