Jerky, redefined.

Jerky CartoonFebruary 4, 2013—Fearlessly Archived—Still a fun read, price & availability may have changed.

Some Things
We'd Like You To Know About Jerky

In the most simple terms, jerky is sliced meat, trimmed of fat, that's dried and smoked. This process was originally used to preserve meat when there was no method of refrigeration. There is evidence that drying and curing meat was commonplace as far back as ancient Egypt, though most sources tend to place the birth of "modern" jerky to South America, sometime in the 16th century. The word itself—jerky—is a variation on an Incan word, charqui, which literally translates to "to burn meat."

Over time, jerky has become less simple. In an effort to inexpensively mass produce jerky, manufacturers have taken shortcuts, like using fattier cuts of meat, that have led to the inclusion of all kinds of chemical preservatives and flavor enhancers—nitrites and MSG come to mind—that are only necessary because the meat itself is subpar. At Trader Joe's, we don't jerk you around like that. Our jerky is made with top-quality meats, using the finest ingredients, and we never use any chemical preservatives.

We have Trader Joe's Jerky in a variety of meat and flavor combinations, from Salmon Jerky and Organic Original Beef Jerky to Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Jerky and Teriyaki Turkey Jerky, among others. Ours are low fat, low carbohydrate, and high protein, made with lean, quality cuts of meat that are hand-cut and marinated in flavorful seasonings for more than 24 hours. After marinating, the meat is laid onto screens, placed into a smoke house and cooked very slowly, at very low temperatures, until it reaches that stage we call "perfection." It's packaged immediately, to retain as much moisture as possible, so that when you open the zip-top bag, you get the best jerky you've ever tasted, every time.

Here's the skinny on some of the other jerky you'll find in other stores: when you make jerky from fatty cuts of meat, which are less expensive, it tends to spoil more quickly. To compensate, many mass market jerky makers use chemical preservatives like MSG, sodium nitrite, and sodium erythorbate to extend the shelf life of their product.

We don't use any chemical preservatives. We do use salt, nature's most perfect preservative. And we do recommend that you finish a bag of Trader Joe's Jerky within a few days of opening it—we don't think this will be a problem, though, because in our experience, open bags of our Jerky never seem to last more than a couple of hours.

JerkyTrader Joe’s Jerky Varieties

  • Original Turkey Jerky, four ounce bag, $5.49
  • Teriyaki Turkey Jerky, four ounces, $5.49
  • Teriyaki Beef Jerky, four ounces, $5.49
  • Original Beef Jerky, four ounces, $5.49
  • Sweet & Spicy Buffalo Jerky, 3.5 ounces, $5.99
  • Organic Original Beef Jerky, three ounces, $5.49
  • Salmon Jerky, three ounces, $5.49
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