If you’ve ever been sitting in your deerstand about 10:30 on opening morning and heard your stomach start growling loud enough it could scare away any buck within 50 yards, you know how important snacks are to the outdoorsman. Jerky just might be the perfect snack for hardcore hunters and anglers. And it just seems to taste better when in the field or on the lake than it does sitting in your recliner at home. To make a good selection, consider three important factors—flavor, texture and nutrition.


Super Tender

This thick variety comes in seven flavors. Jack Link’s

Beef jerky has expanded from only a flavor or two 20 years ago to more flavors than you could taste in a week. Traditional beef jerky varies mainly in hotness depending on the amount of pepper used in making it. More flavors available include sweet, hickory, honey pepper, sweet and spicy, mesquite and an assortment of savory flavors made with dry herbs, spices and seasonings like garlic, ginger and jalapeños. If you don’t have a personal preference, play it smart and pick whichever kind your hunting buddies hate so you can have more of it for yourself!


Individually Wrapped

These are made for those who like jerky that is less dry. Slim Jim

The jerky texture you prefer is as much a matter of individual taste as flavor is, since many textures are available. Old-fashioned jerky is the driest and hardest, and many hunters and anglers consider it to be “real” jerky. Traditional jerky is next on the scale. Not too tough and not too soft, it would likely make Goldilocks happy. Next on the list is soft and tender jerky, which is thicker and moister than the previous two types and sometimes feels like you are eating dried steak—not a bad thing. While some people don’t consider meat sticks to be jerky, they are the meatiest and moistest of the beef jerky categories and are popular with many people.


Consider Nutrition

Most companies that make low-fat options will mention that fact prominently on the packaging. Jack Link’s

Beef jerky is a pretty nutritious snack, but you should check individual labels when making a purchase if that’s a concern to you. The main nutritional factors of interest in jerky are fat and protein. Typical beef jerky contains about 60 percent fat, 40 percent protein. Other meats can be used to make jerky, too, and some have less fat. Bison jerky is about 43 percent fat, 57 percent protein. For fish jerky, trout runs about 40 percent fat, 60 percent protein; and salmon averages 52 percent fat, 48 percent protein. Turkey jerky, which some companies make taste about like beef jerky, runs 50 percent fat, 50 percent protein.