Best Beef Jerky: Savory Snacks for Carnivores Everywhere

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If you spend any time browsing the snack selections at gas stations and convenience stores, then you know just how far beef jerky has come. Today's jerky brands provide a range of flavor options, different types of meat, varying levels of spice, and beyond. It's a great time to be a carnivore, especially one who craves something savory and portable.

Beef jerky can be a good snack for those seeking a high-protein option to help them feel full. Compared to candy and chips, beef jerky can also be a better option for controlling your weight. But with so many options to consider, how do you find the best beef jerky? Here are some recommendations from the ACTIVE Reviews Team.

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The Best Beef Jerky - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall - People's Choice Original

People's Choice Original

SPECS

  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbs: 9g
  • Fat: 1.5g

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If it's that classic beef jerky flavor you're after, our top recommendation is People's Choice Original. Made with premium muscle cuts, this thin-sliced jerky is just right for a quick, convenient snack. The seasoning gives it plenty of oomph without it being overpoweringly spicy. Additionally, this MSG-free snack is a great low-calorie and low-fat source of protein.

What We Like

  • Thin-sliced, high-quality beef
  • Low-calorie
  • Excellent protein source
  • Great flavor

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly higher price point
  • Just one flavor

BUY: People's Choice Original

Best Peppered Beef Jerky - Brooklyn Biltong

Brooklyn Biltong

SPECS

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 32g
  • Carbs: <1g
  • Fat: 6g

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The Brooklyn Biltong is our pick for best-peppered beef flavor. The ingredient list is a tantalizing combination of natural ingredients: grass-fed beef, apple cider vinegar, and an assortment of spices. Though a bit heavier in fat than other beef jerky products, Brooklyn Biltong is surprisingly light on carbs and doesn't have a lot of artificial additives to worry about. But mostly what we love about it is that incredibly fresh, well-seasoned beef flavor—just the thing when you've got a hankering for something savory.

What We Like

  • Great flavor
  • No carbs, no sugar
  • Keto and Whole30 friendly, gluten-free
  • High protein content

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly higher fat content
  • Just 1 flavor

BUY: Brooklyn Biltong

Best Sugar-Free Beef Jerky - Stryve Biltong

Stryve Biltong

SPECS

  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 2g

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Sugar is often added to maintain the flavor of beef jerky sticks, but if you're looking for something without an added sweetener, we recommend the Stryve Biltong. Both sugar- and carb-free, this is a good, relatively lean way to get some protein into your system. Made with high-quality beef in the more-refined biltong style, this product is packed with hearty, all-natural flavor.

What We Like

  • Natural ingredients and flavor
  • No carbs and no sugar
  • Gluten-free, MSG-free

What We Don't Like

  • The hickory seasoning may not be to everyone's liking
  • Just 1 flavor

BUY: Stryve Biltong

Best Spicy Beef Jerky - Country Archer Fuego Jerky

Country Archer Fuego Jerky

SPECS

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fat: 0.5g

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Do you prefer your beef jerky to come with a kick? Country Archer Fuego Jerky has a fiery flavor that's definitely not for the faint of heart. If you think you can handle the heat, this jerky also has a lot of pleasing nutritional details, including very little fat content, a low calorie count, and a healthy portion of your daily protein intake.

What We Like

  • Low-fat
  • Low-calorie
  • Reasonable price point
  • Keto-friendly and gluten-free

What We Don't Like

  • May be a little too spicy for some
  • There is a bit of added sugar

BUY: Country Archer Fuego Jerky

Best Value Beef Jerky - Oberto Original Beef Jerky

Oberto Original Beef Jerky

SPECS

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fat: 0.5g

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High-end beef jerky products can get a little pricey, but you don't have to pay top dollar just to get some decent, meaty flavor. The Oberto Original Beef Jerky has a hearty, natural flavor, a high concentration of protein, and a low calorie count. All that, and you can get it for a very reasonable price point.

What We Like

  • Low-fat and low-calorie
  • Lots of protein
  • Gluten- and MSG-free
  • Reasonable price point

What We Don't Like

  • There is a bit of added sugar
  • Flavor may be too basic for some

BUY: Oberto Original Beef Jerky

Best Gluten-Free Beef Jerky - Righteous Felon

Righteous Felon

SPECS

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: <1g
  • Fat: 3g

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One reason why beef jerky is such a great snack is that it's often consistent with a paleo, Keto, or gluten-free diet. That's certainly the case with Righteous Felon, which also happens to be made with top cuts of beef, doesn't come with any sugar, and has a whopping 16 grams of protein per serving. On top of all that, the Righteous Felon variety pack gives you three distinct flavors to choose from, truly allowing you to explore some of the savory options that the world of jerky provides.

What We Like

  • Gluten-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly
  • No added sugar
  • Variety of flavors
  • Excellent quality of beef

What We Don't Like

  • Servings are relatively small

BUY: Righteous Felon

Best Meat Stick - Nick's Sticks Beef Jerky

Nick's Sticks Beef Jerky

SPECS

  • Meat source: Beef
  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 8g

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If you prefer your jerky in meat stick form (think Slim Jims), then Nick's Sticks Beef Jerky is our top choice. These gluten-free sticks are made with grass-fed beef and work just fine for a Keto, paleo, or Whole30 diet. They're loaded with yummy seasonings to enhance the classic beef jerky flavor. A great option if you need an easy, on-the-go, carb-free snack.

What We Like

  • Lots of protein
  • Gluten-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, Whole30-approved
  • Great, original beef jerky flavor

What We Don't Like

  • Calorie count is a bit high
  • Just one flavor available

BUY: Nick's Sticks Beef Jerky

What To Look For in Beef Jerky

As you shop for the best beef jerky brand, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Meat Source

Today's beef jerky products may be made from any number of sources; not just cows, but elk, chicken, turkey, and more. Always look for a designation that the meat has been sourced in the U.S. and meets USDA standards.

Flavors

Beef jerky flavors range from barbecue to teriyaki, from spicy hot pepper to sweeter herbs. The best way to find your favorite flavor is simply to taste-test far and wide!

Cut Type

Do you prefer smaller pieces of jerky, long, thin meat sticks, or something a little heartier? Again, this is really just a matter of personal preference and convenience.

Biltong vs. Jerky

Biltong is a type of dried meat that's made with a slightly longer process and usually with a leaner piece of meat. While it's more expensive, biltong may also be a bit healthier, offering a huge amount of protein without quite as much fat.

FAQs About Beef Jerky


How long is beef jerky good for?

Most commercial beef jerky products can be safely enjoyed for a full year, though you'll probably want to eat them within six months to enjoy them with optimal flavor and texture.

How is beef jerky made?

Jerky is simply trimmed meat that is cut into strips and then dehydrated in order to prevent spoilage. Salt is usually included to help prevent the growth of bacteria.

How often should you eat beef jerky?

As with any snack, it's best to consume beef jerky in moderation. Eating it daily, or even every other day, could increase your risk of colon cancer and other serious conditions.

Can eating beef jerky help me lose weight?

While beef jerky will not directly help you lose weight, it may be a good, filling, protein-rich snack that helps you avoid cravings for less-filling, less-healthy foods.

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