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Beef sticks and jerky: what are your favorites?

WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 516
edited 6:48PM in EggHead Forum
I have long been a huge fan of jerky and snack sticks. I started out as a kid by eating the usual stuff: slim jims, jerky snuff in a can, jerky strips, nuggets, and even beef stick ropes that were 8' long. These were great at the time but I eventually realized that most retail packaged products were too dry, greasy, fatty, salty, gristly, etc. and some brands just plain tasted terrible.

The absolute worst brand that I ever tried was so bad that even my dog would not eat it, which was really odd because that dog ate anything and everything including furniture. I actually filmed a short video of him spitting out this product, throwing it in the woods, and burying some of it in the back yard. I sent this to the CEO of the company and he was so concerned that he called to apologize then sent me a decent check as compensation for my suffering. :)

Over the years I made it a point to try nearly every brand and product that I could find, including everything from the expensive mail-order exotic meat products (ostrich, gator, emu, bison, elk, etc.) to homemade products that were sold at local delis or flea markets. I even went through a phase of making my own with various dehydrators and my own spice recipes.

I am now somewhat of a jerky connoisseur and I have settled on a few favorites that are so good that I haven't tried any other products for the last few years. Many on this forum are also meat addicts so I am going to share my current favorites and ask for your top picks as well. Maybe I will be inspired to try something new or find a new favorite. Here goes:

Beef Jerky:

I like my jerky to be somewhat moist and reasonably tender but still a little chewy with a packaged shelf life of at least 2-3 months. Most retail products are very dry and/or taste bad because they make them to last much longer on the shelf. Deli or homemade products often require refrigeration and this is inconvenient so a middle ground is ideal. I also like to switch back and forth to different flavors since I eat it pretty often. My current favorite is made by Medina Foods in Litchfield, OH but they are a private label manufacturer so they sell their products to hundreds of other companies and distributors that re-label them with various brand names. The brand name which I purchase is Troyer Old Fashion Beef Jerky which is sold by Troyer Cheese, a company that specializes in Amish food products most of which they make themselves. I liked this jerky so much that I shared it with family, friends, and coworkers and many of them are now addicted as well. We pitch in and place a bulk order about once a month - typically 50 lbs. of jerky in various flavors that are all excellent. Our group favorites are Mild, Spicy, Black Pepper Honey, and Sweet BBQ. Troyer prices are a little high but they gave us a dealer account and the wholesale discount is great.

Beef Snack Sticks:

I do not like snack sticks that are too moist or fatty or that contain bits of gristle, bone, or other foreign substances. A little moisture is ok but the meat should still have a firm texture and the casing should be dry to the touch for easy handling. Various flavors are good but I prefer something with a pretty basic taste and maybe just a little heat or smoke flavor. My current favorite is made by a "retired" couple that runs a 600+ acre farm in Kentucky. Their company name is Scott Hams and they travel to flea markets all over the US to sell their products which is how I met them. Their snack sticks are just plain awesome, good flavor with a slightly smoked taste, no junk added. I now order from them via phone or email and they give us a bulk discount as well. Very nice people too so it is always a pleasure to talk with them.

Let us know what your favorite brands are. If you have a good recipe for making your own then by all means share, however I prefer to buy my snacks and save the egg time for my main meals. When I used to make jerky I found that the time invested wasn't worth the reward. Maybe it could be different on the egg.

Comments

  • Some time back I did a search on here and found a few posts about how to make jerky on the egg, although I have not tried it yet.
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