When you understand what beef jerky is, you realize why it pairs so well with an array of flavors.
Because of beef’s tender, savory nature and jerky’s muscle fibers that soak up flavors so easily, beef jerky is a fantastic base for practically countless marinades and seasonings.
If you’re a jerky lover like us in the Jerky Universe, you might be aware of the hundreds of different flavors of jerky and endless taste combinations. But where should you start, and what intriguing beef jerky flavors are out there?
In this blog, we’ll give your taste buds a road map and highlight 10 of the best beef jerky flavors you have to try.
[Related: Best Types of Jerky: Beyond Beef]
Well, traditional flavored beef jerky is definitely the most tried-and-true flavor out there, and for a reason — it’s delicious! Traditional beef jerky presents the savory flavor of beef with a mild smoky, salty and peppery finish. You’ll often spot it in the wild in supermarkets and online shops.
While it tastes perfect on its own, it’s also a glorious base for a wide variety of additional flavors, many of which we’ll taste here (virtually).
Pepper garlic jerky is a beloved flavor that brings two common ingredients together for an extraordinary taste that leaves you longing for more. Pepper garlic jerky is great for those of us who are big fans of traditional jerky but crave a bit more bite. That’s where the pungent garlic and spicy pepper tastes kick in.
Sweet and Spicy
One of the most popular flavor combinations is sweet and spicy. So it makes sense that sweet-and-spicy jerky is a fan favorite.
Typically, sweet-and-spicy jerky is a thin-cut snack that delivers a warm, peppery kick that isn’t too overwhelming. It follows that little hit with a mouthwatering hint of honey, maple, brown sugar or other sweet complement.
Hot and Spicy
Looking for more of a tongue-tingling experience? Then hot-and-spicy jerky might be your go-to flavor. Dive into a rich, beefy taste with a smoky, fiery element that leaves your mouth watering.
Often sparked with red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne or other eye-opening spices to give it an extra-hot kick, hot-and-spicy jerky is a delight for the bold jerky enthusiast.
One of the best beef jerky flavors, chile lime-flavored jerky combines the smoky, savory chile with a bright citrus bite. This well-balanced jerky flavor is a perfect fusion of bold Mexican-inspired seasoning and subtle, tart and tangy zest. We daresay it’s one of the rather sophisticated beef jerky flavors.
Another massively popular beef jerky flavoring is teriyaki. You can find this flavor at almost any shop that sells jerky, and we know why — it’s one of the most toothsome types of jerky on Earth.
Jerky aficionados marinate this universal favorite in a sweet teriyaki glaze typically containing soy sauce, sake or mirin, sugar and ginger. Its subtly sweet, lightly spicy and tender flavor balance keeps us coming back for more … and more … and more.
[Related: How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?]
If you’re looking for a smoky southern flavor, why not try horseradish beef jerky? The popular, pungent condiment adds a real kick to jerky’s beefy base. The result is a unique (and eye-popping) taste that’ll soon be a snack staple.
It’s Sunday. You’re hungover and about to meet your friends for a late breakfast. Along with bottomless mimosas, no brunch would be complete without a round of Bloody Mary … beef jerky?
You heard us.
One of the newer and more exciting beef jerky flavors is Bloody Mary jerky. This zesty, savory, tomato-based treat can make for a great garnish in your signature cocktail. You can even eat it solo as a recovery snack after a long “eventful” weekend.
The doctor is in!
Combining your favorite soda — like Dr. Pepper — with beef jerky can make for some divine, delectable results. The distinctive combination of Dr. Pepper and beef jerky stirs a sweet and tender taste with a mild, subtle heat and bold, beefy flavor.
Coffee-flavored beef jerky? Sounds crazy, but this quirky flavor combination is actually shockingly pleasant — and one of our favorite flavors of jerky.
To achieve the distinct taste of coffee beef jerky, jerky-making artisans mix robust, non-bitter coffee grounds with liquid smoke and tasty spices like cumin, cayenne and paprika. Some coffee beef jerkies also swirl in notes of dark chocolate or bourbon .
Whether you’re waking up for your daily commute or staying up all afternoon hiking, we suggest you give this bold beef jerky a try! (It’s usually uncaffeinated, but you may spot a perky outlier among coffee beef jerky flavors.)
[Related: What Is the World’s Hottest Beef Jerky?]
Explore the Jerky Universe!
We here in the Jerky Universe believe jerky is the perfect snack for everyone. After trying these beef jerky flavors and others, we hope you find one that speaks to your taste buds.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll concoct your own special beef jerky flavoring that blows the rest out of the water. If you do, please send us a sample! (Seriously.)
In the meantime, keep exploring the Jerky Universe for more information on all things jerky, including how to craft homemade jerky in an air fryer or a smoker, beef jerky nutrition guides, where to buy beef jerky and how to travel with your beloved snack.
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