Oklahoman’s Are Currently Fighting A Beef Jerky War
In the history of human beings, there have been wars fought over just about every aspect of life across the globe. By and large, the battles have been fought over religion and freedom from oppression and politics, but there's one war brewing in the Sooner State that just might make you raise an eyebrow in confusion... Beef jerky.
It started harmlessly enough late last week when someone posted a photo of their favorite Made In Oklahoma beef jerky on a social media site, then stated there was no better jerky out there, period. As you'd expect, someone disagreed and replied with a post about their favorite Oklahoma made beef jerky by a different local company, and that pretty much released the flood gates. It's a classic case of "I think this way, you should too" type of thing.
Before you crack your knuckles in preparation to pretend anyone gives two licks about your own personal opinion, let me be the voice of reason here... Of all the Oklahoma original beef jerky's, I don't think I've ever had a bad one. They're all pretty good because they're all pretty much the same.... strictly speaking of the Oklahoma varieties. Everybody knows not all jerky is the same.
If you fancy yourself a beef jerky enthusiast, but also pop little nuggets of Jack Links or Oberto down your gullet, know this... that's not beef jerky. Those are as close to "beef jerky" as a Hershey bar is. I'd go as far as to call it meat candy. If you're in the mood for some good jerky, that ain't gonna cut it.
Oklahoma makes beef jerky like it has always been made. Strips of thin sliced meat dried out until it can practically be used as a shiv. It's stringy, tough, hard and harder to chew, and that is beef jerky. Some like the beefy original flavors, others like it hot, sweet, peppered, etc... but here's the thing, when it's quality meat dried right, it all tastes good.
If what I'm describing to you doesn't sound like the jerky you know, here's a short list of where to start. Believe me, you might discover one of these brands is better than the rest, but they're all really good. Even though there are many more jerky makers in Oklahoma than you'll find on this list, I'm only listing those I've actually had. That's a fair way to do it. I'm not saying one is better than the other, just that they're tasty and delicious.
For the record, I'm a peppered jerky guy, so if you try to sample something else and don't like it, it's your own fault for not eating a proper spicy peppered jerky.
This might be the youngest jerky company on this list, but it's mighty tasty. Started by a beef jerky enthusiast that started to wonder why other companies would put sugar and corn syrup on steak jerky, then decided to just make it himself. What turned out as a DIY way to fix a craving turned into a legit business of really delicious jerky. I bought a bag once at a fish and tackle show, been ordering it from their website ever since. It's good.
Way out in the panhandle, there was once a little beef jerky shop that grew into a worldwide steward of dried meat glory. Named for the location they reside in, No Man's Land makes the quintessential beef jerky. When you think of dry, hard, tough, and chewy, this is it my friends. A lot of people enjoy the hot variety, but the peppered is my preferred bag of protein.
If you've ever looked at the wares offered at most gas stations in Oklahoma, odds are you've seen a clear package of beef jerky sheets with a little yellow and red label on it. That's the jerky produced at Ralph's Packing House in Perkins, OK. While not a favorite personally, it absolutely hits the spot when you're craving it on the road.
Another brand straight out of every rural gas station in the state, Hardtimes Beef Jerky is a go-to if I can't locate my norm. It's tough, chewy, and spicy. Everything a person should want in a good jerky. It's made up in El Reno. They're the jerky company that puts toothpicks in every package because they too know the struggle in eating good jerky.
- Honerable Mention
Robertson's is the jerky that got me hooked on jerky when I was a young dumb teenager. There was a wholesale business in my hometown that supplied all the gas stations and concession stands in our region that was open to the public, and Robertson's was the jerky they stocked. I used to buy it five pounds at a time. While they don't make a peppered variety, it's good for a quick fix, usually sold by the individual piece at gas stations across rural Oklahoma and Texas.
Yep, Jerky.com is the brand and the website you'll find one of Oklahoma's finest jerky's. While I love a good peppered variety, it's my personal favorite, Jerky.com goes mild to wild with theirs. Offering the dry and tacky stuff jerky is supposed to be and the softer chewy type lesser men enjoy in flavors from plain beef to Carolina Reaper! I received one of their samplers as a gift one year, and I keep going back placing an order once in a while.