I gotta be honest—my first thought when I opened up my latest package from Jerky.com was “Oh no, not pepper. Anything but pepper!”
I was worried about giving their buffalo jerky a fair shake in my review, since I have no doubt they wouldn’t have sent me the sample were they not fairly confident I’d like it. I just happened to dislike peppered jerky just like I happen to dislike mushrooms. Would it be fair to discount a gourmet dish prepared by Iron Cheff Bobby Flay simply based on the inclusion of mushrooms? No, it wouldn’t. And that’s why I was worried about this review.
Of course that worry was decisively quelled the second I opened up the bag and gave the stuff a try. Aside from “delicious,” one word can describe the taste: balance.
Jerky.com’s peppered buffalo jerky is quite possibly the best jerky I’ve ever tasted. Before you dismiss that claim as hyperbole, consider that beef jerky might as well be its own food group for me, and that I live just down the street from a very popular local jerky manufacturer.
Anybody can gather good ingredients, just like prominent sports teams can buy the best players. But as any sports fan will attest, if the team doesn’t have chemistry, they’ll fall short every time. And while the fine ingredients used to create this buffalo jerky certainly play their part, it’s the balance of those ingredients that makes it so good.
I quickly realized that I don’t hate peppered jerky—I just hate how the pepper upstages all of the other flavors in every other peppered jerky I’ve tried. Don’t get me wrong, the pepper here isn’t muted. It simply knows its place: to enhance rather than define.
The buffalo itself is amazing. I’ve always preferred it to beef when it comes to jerky. Buffalo isn’t gamey at all, and it’s much healthier than beef. The soy sauce and pineapple juice marinade used here brings out the natural flavor of the buffalo meat impeccably.
When it comes to texture and chew, this stuff gets a solid A. One element that’s often overlooked by jerky makers is manageability. I was able to portion out slabs of the jerky with one hand while negotiating a rough doubletrack in my minivan (see my recent post about bushwhacking near Iosepa), proving that jerky doesn’t need to be processed and formed into bite-sized nuggets in order to make it a good on-the-go snack.
In short, Jerky.com’s Buffalo Jerky is a satisfying balance of salty and tangy that is positively addictive. My advice? Exercise restraint and savor it when you get yours in the mail. Because even if you go with the big pack, all too soon you’ll wonder where it went.
Buffalo Jerky comes in 2 and 8 oz. bags ($9.99 and $25.99 respectively, free shipping). Buy it here.