Yep, it's official -- the hottest snack in America right now is beef jerky. If you're not stuffing your face with it yet, there are a couple reasons you might be holding back: 1) You're a little unsure of the nutritional value and 2) You have no idea what kind to eat. We're here to solve both of those problems.
First things first: the reviews on beef jerky's nutritional value are mixed. While Jeff Volek, Ph.D. says that beef jerky can be "an ideal between-meals snack, especially when you're trying to lose weight," others say not so fast. Alexis Joseph, registered dietitian and author of the food blog Hummusapien, told HuffPost Taste that "most brands of jerky are loaded with sodium (nearly a third of the daily limit!)," but there are a few good options, like "lean brands made with quality grass-fed beef."
And while you do need to watch your sodium intake, if you partake in this tasty treat at least make sure you're eating the right kind of jerky. We've done a little taste test for you (and added a few far-reaching options) to ensure you're eating the best beef possible. So, what kind of jerky should you eat?
1. Try Jack Link's, if you want the classic standard.
There's no denying it -- Jack Link's is still the standard when it comes to beef jerky. Just like you go to Budweiser for a simple, decent beer, you head to Jack Link's for the best, original beef jerky on the planet. The company also makes Matador Beef Jerky, which is advertised like the Axe Body Spray of food.
2. Try Perky Jerky, if you want a caffeinated kick with your jerky.
Perky Jerky calls itself "ultra premium beef jerky," but all meat feelings aside, it's caffeinated. The company has delicious flavors, like Hot & Bothered, Sweet & Spicy and the new Jamaican Style, that are perfect for a fancy-but-classic beef jerky eater.
3. Try Krave Jerky, if you like super niche flavors.
Though our reviews on this jerky are mixed (the texture is weirdly smooth, but the jerky itself is tasty) we'd still recommend Krave. Try Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky, Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky or Garlic Chili Pepper Beef Jerky for a flavorful take on the traditional meat snack.
4. Try Biltong Jerky, if you're more adventurous.
It's almost like the South African equivalent of American beef jerky, but not quite --as any South African will tell you. Biltong comes with more grass-fed options than the other options above (this makes it leaner), but that also makes it a lot more expensive than regular jerky.
5. Try Reef Beef Jerky, if you like to smoke.
Cannabis beef jerky exists and one of the most well-known brands is called Reef jerky, because of course. Now that marijuana is legal in more states, we're sure we'll see a few more strains of weed beef jerky popping up soon