We bit into more than 100 types to find out which meats met our standards. These six made the cut.
Best Original: Alewel’s Country Meats Beef Jerky
Tasters fell for the classic chew and mild kick. Plus, they swooned over the brand’s history: It’s been family-run for more than 80 years.
To buy: $40 for 4 4-oz. packages; alewels.com.
Best Sweet & Spicy: Sweetwood Sweet & Hot Jerky
In these chewy slices, a blend of cayenne and other spices mellows with a flavor close to that of maple syrup. Bonus points for the grass-fed beef.
To buy: $6 for 1.75 oz.; sweetwood.com.
Best Teriyaki: Chef’s Cut Real Steak Jerky Asian Style Teriyaki
Salty soy mingles with the tropical sweetness of pineapple in this hand-cut selection. True-blue jerky fans raved about its firm yet pliant texture.
To buy: $8 for 2.5 oz.; amazon.com.
Best Peppered: Duke’s Sea Salt & Pepper Beef Brisket Strips
Superior tenderness makes these perfect for snacking. Sea salt and pepper offer rich flavor in every bite.
To buy: $7 for 2.5 oz.; dukesmeats.com.
Best Stick: Mighty Organic Beef Stick Original
Everything we love about the classic road-trip snack, upgraded with organic ingredients. Tastes exactly how you want it to: evenly spiced, with savory beef flavor.
To buy: $2.50 for 0.75 oz.; amazon.com.
Best Spicy: Jack Link’s Jalapeño Carne Seca Beef Jerky
Real jalapeño flavor makes these strips hot enough to satisfy a spice craving—but not enough to stop you at just one.
To buy: $7 for 2.85 oz.; jet.com.