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Josh on Beef Jerky


Welcome back everyone! This month we’re going to plow through a topic that a lot of you thought sounded okay when I mentioned it to you. That topic, as you may have already guessed, is all about the wild, weird, and wacky world of beef jerky. You may be thinking to yourself that you have never before read an article about beef jerky, and who would ever want to find out more about beef jerky anyway? Well, if you’re thinking that, then read on! You may find yourself drawn to beef jerky and may want to experiment with making your own, much like I did! You may also be asking yourself what’s so wild, weird, and wacky about the sinister world of beef jerky making. Well friends, for the answer to that, you’ll have to read on to discover that there is no true answer to that question!


Now the first thing most people probably notice about beef jerky is how it usually looks like some sort of deformed animal dung. Take heart friends! That animal dung looking object is chewy, fun to eat, and is guaranteed to raise your testosterone levels. Many beef jerky lovers have been known to take up woodcarving, hunting, or axe throwing, which are activities commonly associated with increased levels of testosterone, which in turn increases any rugged individualism a person may have. People who are rugged individualists are known for wanting to “do things for themselves”, which is also called not wanting to pay someone to do it better than you can, or in the case of activities like pickling, pruning, and of course beef jerky making there exists some strange belief that enables a person to say “well this Wal-Mart crap is okay but I bet I can make my own canned or bagged food products better than 100 fat guys in a factory can!”


Wow Josh! You sure said a mouthful! I sure did, but what that last paragraph, ever so eloquently, was trying to say, is that its highly likely that anyone who eats beef jerky has testosterone flowing through their veins and isn’t one to be trifled with lightly!


Now then, in preparation for this article, I ate way more beef jerky in the last month than the average consumer has a right to, given the outrageous prices per ounce. All told I probably spent at least 30 dollars on beef jerky, which, yes I know, could just as easily have gone to fund Cancer research. I understand that people out there who have Cancer may be sensitive to this whole thing and will accuse me of being for Cancer; this could not be further from the truth. I would like to state publicly in this column that I am against cancer, but for beef jerky. The two don’t have to be mutually incompatible.


Since I have gone to the trouble of digesting so much hard to chew food, I figured I would go ahead and review the different kinds of beef jerky products that I have purchased.



First up is a 3.25ounce bag of Slim Jim (brand) BEEF JERKY premium beef strips PEPPERED. The back of the bag claims that, “this intensely flavorful jerky takes beef to a whole new level – the way only Slim Jim can!” I’m not sure which level beef is at normally. I suppose a dead cow carcass lying in the sun, and covered in mosquitoes would be level 1. In that case, it would be easy to assume that the level of beef that Slim Jim is talking about can’t possibly be any lower than level 5! The actual jerky itself was over the top crunchy, overly peppered, very tasty, and not really very chewy. It tastes like something that the American Indians would gladly have feasted on instead of all that turkey at Thanksgiving. I also got some chopped and formed Slim Jim, which is a long thin strip of beef, and unfortunately is not as tasty as it sounds. The chopped and formed Slim Jim gets my worst rating.


Next up is a company that takes stereotypes to a whole new level, in a way that only grocery products can! Pemmican beef jerky products all proudly feature an American Indian of some indistinct origin in a fancy headdress on the front of the bag. The bag also features a neat “story” about the word “pemmican”, ahem, “To endure the severe weather of the northern plains, woodlands and mountains the North American Indians (because we know they were all the same tribe right…) blended dried meat and berries to form nutritious food cakes called pemmican.” I guess they’re trying to say that their beef jerky tastes like or is manufactured like the original pemmican! Well, that turns out to not really be the case. There are no berries in any Pemmican product and as far as tasting like a “cake”…well, I’ll let you be the judge of that. But who cares about all that stuff anyway? Pemmican Hickory Smoked “Natural Style” (whatever that is…) Beef Jerky is good stuff that I would proudly rip open with my teeth at any social function, and I hope to serve at my wedding. I also got a smaller Pemmican bag of Spicy Teriyaki. It is spicy, and it does taste like teriyaki and I just can’t stop eating this stuff! This is definitely my favorite beef jerky bag. Also, for some reason, the smaller bags of jerky seem to be chewier. Did I mention that I like this Pemmican stuff yet? I also got a small bag of shredded beef jerky. I’m dying over here. This stuff is so delicious; I can feel my cancer fighting cells weakening with each tasty bite. Also of note, the back of this bag encourages you to “survive the day” with Pemmican! I don’t think they’re telling you that if you don’t eat their beef jerky “shreds” that you will die, instead they seem to be saying that you can really “punch out” your hunger with their shredded beef jerky line!


There’s just so much Beef Jerky coming out of this page that I can hardly stand it! Folks if you don’t like beef jerky by now, what are you still reading for? I’ve been “surviving the day” by eating beef jerky constantly while writing this article.


Another high point in the jerky world is the company called “Jack Links”. I don’t think I like them more than Pemmican, it just seems that Pemmican is more widely available at your favorite convenience store/ gas station if it also sells 99 cent bottles of motor oil. Anyway, I ripped open a bag of Extra Tender Kippered Beef Steak Nuggets PEPPERED, and I devoured those nuggets. They were extremely tasty, chewy, delicious, and basically whatever good adjective that can be thought of to describe them. If you were reading carefully you might have noticed that they are indeed called “beef steak nuggets” and not beef jerky. It boggles the mind, and so I called the company about it, and didn’t really get any answers. Apparently the working class ladies that answer the phone at Jack Links aren’t really prepared to answer in-depth questions about words that I don’t know about on their bag, like “Kippered”. They didn’t seem to know what kippered was or why the front of the bag called it “our #1 choice”. Does that mean they have a bag calling it their number 2 choice? I don’t know, but I want my readers to support Jack Links and buy those nuggets! I forget to tell you that Jack Links have a picture of a cow on the top corner of their bag, just in case you forgot somehow that you were eating meat and that PETA hates you.


By the time my fifth bag of jerky was partially eaten I was getting a little depressed and moody at the finances I was laying out for beef jerky and so I wandered to the dollar tree in search of help. I found help, in the form of 2 for a dollar beef jerky! This stuff is called Dakota Trails Brand and it is so peppered I have a hard time believing that it is not the main ingredient. This is the heartiest stuff you’re going to find anywhere. If you think you are tough, then maybe you should try eating Dakota Trails Brand Peppered Beef Jerky. It will make grown women and children cry. So as you’re handcrafting your next end table, or couch, munch on some Dakota Trails Brand Beef Jerky if you need an extra dose of manliness.


We’ve finally reached the end of all of this beef jerky madness. Now when someone asks you, “What’s the deal with beef jerky anyway?” You just may be able to give them an answer. It may not be the answer that they were looking for. In fact they may have been just making conversation, but now it is your sworn duty to tell them! In fact while you’re doing that maybe you can find out why all beef jerky companies ship so much beef jerky to Asia. I was unable to find out why. However it is highly possible I didn’t put in as much effort as I could have. I guess I just wasn’t devoted enough to finding out the truth about beef jerky.


To that end I would like to announce the new contest!!!!


Contest rules: E-mail Josh the reason that beef jerky companies ship so much beef to Asia. The winner gets five bucks.


The final word: while it may seem to the uneducated pallet at a cursory glance that all beef jerky tastes about the same, I spent two months of my life uncovering the very same thing.