The Best Beef Jerky In 2023

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Beef jerky isn't just a gas station impulse buy anymore. In fact, it's a billion-dollar industry in the United States alone and the fastest-growing snack category in North America, so don't be shy about snagging a few packs before your next road trip, camping trip, or busy day of work meetings. Everyone's doing it.

The process of making beef jerky is pretty simple: Take a lean cut of beef, season and/or cure it, then dry it. You might think that such a straightforward process wouldn't leave much room for variation in the finished product, but you'd be wrong. From flavoring styles to drying techniques, it's a good thing beef jerky is easy to buy online because there isn't a supermarket aisle big enough to hold all of the available varieties anymore. Whether you're aiming to stay true to a particular diet, are obsessed with wild flavors, or even want to share something special with your dog, it seems that everyone's snack goals tend to be a little different these days. We've found the best beef jerky in 2023 in every category to give you a head start when making your next selection.

How we selected our top choices

There's a wide world of beef jerky out there, and the more this healthy snack alternative gains popularity, the more diverse the market becomes. From shape variations that include strips, sticks, and slabs, to drying techniques, flavoring preferences, and even main ingredients (not all "beef" jerky is actually made with beef), the selection is vast. Fortunately for you, we're here to help.

To bring you the best in every category below, we started with some good old-fashioned market research, scouring reviews and comment sections not just to check out everyone's favorites and least favorites, but to truly understand which qualities you really care about most when you're craving a chewy chunk of beef. From there, we turned to professional reviews for general guidance to narrow down the field before settling down to some taste tests of our own. Finally, we considered everyday snackers' observations by digging into the nitty-gritty of user reviews to help validate (or scrap) our first impressions. Here's what we came up with. All the prices we list here were accurate as of April 2023.

Best overall beef jerky

We swear it's not just the edgy package art that drew us to Righteous Felon, but it certainly didn't hurt. Currently featuring a dozen flavors of jerky and biltong ranging the spice scale from O.G Hickory to Habanero Escobar and Ancho Villa, Righteous felon beef snacks are made with organic, pasture-raised Black Angus beef. With a solid punch of at least 10 grams of protein per serving in every flavor besides the turkey jerky (Fowl Capone) and an average of 5 grams of sugar, Righteous Felon strikes the perfect balance of decent protein without a ton of sugar content.

Fans love that it's not just the meat that's all-natural, but also that there's no junk added to any Righteous Felon recipes. The lack of artificial flavorings and preservatives has even brought one home jerky chef back to buying packaged jerky, at least for Righteous Felon. Others praise the tenderness of this jerky, along with its melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavorful fat content, and frequent road warriors love stocking up on Righteous Felon jerky, claiming it's so good it should be illegal.

You can buy a variety pack of Righteous Felon beef jerky on Amazon for $46.

Best beef jerky for the keto diet

The hallmark of the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle. Most jerkies are relatively low in carb content, but almost all jerky is made from lean cuts of beef, so it's difficult to achieve high fat goals with jerky alone. For the full effect, you could pair jerky with a small helping of fattier foods like nuts or cheese for better keto compatibility, but jerky itself is generally keto-approved because it doesn't violate any keto tenets, provided you source a low carb version (via Old Trapper).

People's Choice jerky packs a keto-perfect 0 carbs and even comes with a bit of fat (2.5 grams in the Original flavor), helping to make this the top jerky choice for those sticking to the keto diet and a huge relief to those who have been stuggling to make their own in order to avoid the high carb content of many commercial jerkies. Reviewers agree that People's Choice jerky manages to achieve a perfectly dry consistency without becoming chewy or difficult to tear, and one goes as far as to say it even offers the flavor profile of a fine steak.

Purchase People's Choice Old Fashioned Original beef jerky on Amazon for $34.

Best beef jerky for the carnivore diet

Taking low carb a step further than the keto diet, the carnivore diet aims for absolutely no carbs and, according to the Cleveland Clinic, essentially allows only for the consumption of meat, eggs, and fish, with the addition of a handful of other animal products. For the most part, very basic seasonings like salt and pepper can be added to food for a bit of flavor, but you can probably already see why it would be difficult to find carnivore-friendly beef jerkies in a market that competes for the most flavorful strips.

Because so many jerkies experience a carb kick from the ingredients they're seasoned with carnivore dieters should look to beef jerky's close cousin, biltong, which is cured in vinegar and air-dried. True, the strictest carnivore dieters may balk at the inclusion of vinegar, but this is as close as you'll get to enjoying jerky without breaking the diet. Zero-carb, zero-sugar Kalahari biltong is beloved for its soft, chewable slices, and if you're afraid of making the leap from jerky to biltong, rest assured that even lifelong jerky fans agree biltong is better.

You can pick up a Kalahari Biltong variety pack from Amazon for $37.

Best beef jerky for weight loss

A legitimate weight loss plan should certainly make you take a much closer look at the foods you're consuming, but Prevention says you shouldn't necessarily cut snacks entirely because healthy snacks can help prevent you from indulging in junk food that could derail your diet. With this goal in mind, we chose not to head straight for the 0-sugar, 0-carb, 0-fat jerkies for weight loss, because it's important that consumers thoroughly enjoy the product for its flavor and keep returning to it rather than ditching the strips for chips.

While flavor varieties differ, Perky Jerky beef jerky snack packs are generally low in fat (typically 1 gram), low in carbs (around 6 grams), and low in sugar (the Sea Salt & Pepper variety contains just 2 grams), but high in flavor that keep munchers coming back for more, so we're confident you won't give up these healthier treats. One dieter was amazed to find such a tasty treat that was actually healthy, and another insists that no other jerky product even comes close to the flavor quality of Perky Jerky.

Perky Jerky Original beef jerky is available from Amazon at $56 for a 12-pack.

Best beef jerky for dogs

Humans are far from the only lovers of meaty treats. In fact, even saying the word "treats" probably conjures images of furry family members with perked ears and wagging tails, begging for a bite of something tasty. When it comes to our four-legged friends, it's just as important to be mindful of ingredients in snacks as it is for ourselves, and the ASPCA cautions against plenty of human-friendly foods that are dangerous or even toxic for pups, so it's not a safe decision to just toss your own favorite snacks to your pup as a treat.

Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. makes beef jerky treats specifically designed for dogs, using only natural ingredients with no added fillers. The soft treats are easily chewable, posing no choking hazard, and the brand can afford to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee because even the pickiest dogs seem to love them. One dog owner whose senior pup was particularly picky about treats was relieved to find Rocco & Roxie when it became necessary to feed treats with medication, and another new pet parent who found a stray on the side of the road was able to bond with the scared and hesitant new addition thanks to its love of these all-natural beef jerky snacks. While many dogs will eat just about anything they come across, Rocco & Roxie treats appeal to even the scared, sick, and shy.

You can buy Rocco & Roxie Jerky Sticks on Amazon for $25.

Best beef jerky for diabetics

A diabetic diet isn't nearly as restrictive as some of the other diets we've already combed through on this list, and the high protein content of beef jerky in general makes it a good candidate for diabetic snacking, but it's still important to scan the nutritional label for sugar and carb content before chowing down on beef jerky. A diabetic diet doesn't require zero sugars and carbs, but Very Well Health confirms that it does require a more limited intake. Regardless, we found a beef jerky snack that is completely free of both sugar and carbs and sacrifices nothing in the flavor and quality departments.

Chomps meat sticks come with no unwanted ingredients in any of the five beef varieties (venison and turkey are also available), and fans love that they're flavorful and filling despite the total lack of sugar. They're equally popular with the entire family, so there shouldn't be any concerns regardless of who needs or wants to snack on these delicious sticks.

A 24-pack of Chomps Original Beef Sticks is available on Amazon for $45.

Best beef jerky for protein

Okay, this one could be either a total no-brainer or a complete stumper, as beef jerky is, by nature, a protein-packed snack option. If you're finding bags of beef jerky that are lacking in protein, you're doing something wrong (and we're honestly not even sure you've found beef jerky at all). So, what is there to consider here? You might just run straight for the package with the greatest amount of protein per serving, and that's not the worst tactic, but it's not the best either. You still don't want a snack filled with unnecessary additives or preservatives when you're looking for the best beef jerky for protein, so we've balanced these and other considerations in our selection. It's not just about the protein level.

We recommend Stryve biltong if protein is your primary consideration. Hovering around 14 to 16 grams of protein per serving depending on flavor variety, there's no question that these snacks will satisfy your protein cravings instantly, and one fan found them so good he had to consciously back off the biltong for a bit because he was afraid he was wolfing down too much protein. Stryve fans gush about the serious flavor despite no additives or sugar and, while this South African snack was once nearly impossible to find in the United States, biltong buffs love that Stryve is now so accessible they even find it at plenty of gas stations.

You can purchase a 4-pack of Stryve Original biltong for $25 on Amazon.

Best beef jerky for backpacking

Most packages of traditional beef jerky strips are shelf-stable, but only until they're opened. From that point, it's possible for many jerkies to stay fresh for a bit longer, but most brands recommend refrigeration to prevent the possibility of spoilagr. For backpackers concerned with not getting sick on the trail, this is can be more than just a minor hiccup, leaving most packages of beef jerky strips out of reach for the wise backpacker.

Instead, happy hikers tend to stuff their sacks with beef sticks, which come individually wrapped in single servings that avoid spoilage concerns. Not all meat sticks are equal, though, and a hiking snack should provide energy without clogging up your system with nutritional garbage. Leave the Slim Jim (which, incidentally, isn't actually beef jerky at all) behind and grab some Wagyu beef strips from Epic Provisions. Fans say they're worth stuffing in any duffel or purse because they're not just full of flavor, but also easier to chew than other quality meat sticks, and they're especially ideal for camping and fishing trips or any similar outdoor activity that may find you backpacking to your destination.

Purchase a 10-pack of Epic Wagyu Beef Steak Strips from Amazon for $23.

Best jerky for vegetarians

There's a vegetarian option for just about every traditionally meat-based product these days, and beef jerky is no exception. While a vegetarian beef snack may seem as counterintuitive as a meatless hamburger, that's all the more reason to turn to the same experts who perfected beef-free burgers when looking for the best plant-based "beef" jerky. Enter Beyond Meat.

It may take a little extra seasoning to achieve a meat flavor in a meatless snack, and Beyond Meat plant-based jerky does contain more sugar and fat than many real beef jerkies, but it still delivers a powerful protein supply of 10 grams per serving despite its beef-less recipe of peas and mung beans. So what does it actually taste like? According to fans who have had it, it actually tastes like real beef. Even better for those looking for something as close to the original as possible, reviewers agree that even the texture is similar to authentic beef jerky, delivering that satisfying chew that jerky lovers, well, love.

Purchase a 10-pack of Beyond Meat Original jerky for $16 on Amazon.

Best beef jerky for unique flavors

If you've been enjoying all-natural, high-quality beef jerkies throughout your snacking career, you may have taught yourself to avoid heavily flavored varieties because this is often where carbs and other diet-busters enter the mix, and plenty of the more exotic flavors come with artificial ingredients and additives. But you don't necessarily have to give up your adventurous palate in order to maintain integrity with your jerky, especially if you snag some snack packs from Prevail.

Okay, we know what you're going to say as soon you check out this brand: "There are only four varieties! How can that be the best option for unique flavors?" We'll tell you. While you might expect steak-centric flavors like barbecue or pepper, Prevail presents Lemongrass, Umami, and Original, which we're going to approach individually because they all deserve a moment. Devotees love the uniqueness of Lemongrass, which they haven't encountered from other brands, and the Umami is a fan favorite that you're equally unlikely to find elsewhere. And original? This original blend is far from ordinary, loaded with surprising ingredients like cardamom and organic matcha tea. There may only be four flavors offered from Prevail, but you'll have to agree they're more exciting than most flavors you'll find anywhere else.

You can buy a 3-pack of Prevail beef jerky on Amazon for $22.