Don’t Get Jerked Around

Slim Jim Beef Jerky: At $4 for 3 ounces, this was one of the less-expensive brands in our taste test. Unfortunately, it tasted like it. The "Teriyaki" version rated well on tenderness and chewability but low on flavor. The "Original" flavor came off as a little dry and bland. As one editor put it, "I'll stick with the original Slim Jims." ($4/3 OZ.; SLIMJIM.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor

Gary West Elk and Buffalo Strips: Buffalo and elk are both lower in fat than beef, making these meat strips virtually fat-free. What's more, our editors thought these two had the best flavor of the bunch, particularly the buffalo. Unlike other jerkies we tried, this one had a rather oily coating- but it was worth it. ($20/8 OZ., ELK OR BUFFALO; GARYWEST.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Team Realtree Jerky: Realtree can now help you satisfy your hunger while you're hiding in its camo. The company has teamed up with Trail's Best to produce a field-size portion of beef jerky (4 oz.) that fits easily into cargo pockets or field packs. We liked the efficient packaging as well as the sweet, smoky flavor. ($5/4 OZ.; TRAILSBEST.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Jack Link's: In addition to making a huge variety of beef and pork jerky flavors- everything from jalapeno to A.1. Steak Sauce- Jack Link's recently introduced an organic line of jerky. We compared the organic to the original and agreed both are tender and flavorful. "The best of the commercial brands," one editor commented. ($24/22 OZ.; JACKLINKS.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Buffalo Bills Venison Jerky: This venison jerky is made from 100 percent farm-raised deer meat that's chopped, formed into sticks and then smoked. The result is an easy-to-chew snack with a smooth taste that's not overly salty. This one was quite popular among the test class. ($17/10 OZ.; BBJERKY.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Burgers' Smoke-house Smoked Beef Jerky: This premium jerky, which comes in short, sinewy strands, was a hit for its intense, smoky flavor but lost points for its slight toughness. And although the jerky comes in a fancy burlap pouch, we wondered why the company recommended refrigeration. Who refrigerates jerky? ($38/12 OZ.; SMOKEHOUSE.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Final Frontier Black Pepper Beef Jerky: These sheets of dark dried beef are the jerky of choice for NASA's astronauts, but they elicited mixed reviews in our test. Not all of our editors liked their spicy, black-pepper taste and jaw-straining chewiness. Comments ranged from "heavy, bold flavor" to "leave it in space." ($26/16 OZ.; BEEFJERKY.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor
Pemmican Beef Jerky: Pemmican is a premium jerky you see everywhere. It comes in a variety of flavors, such as steakhouse-style and steak fajita, and overall our testers found it to be easy to chew with a mild flavor. "Not too heavily processed," one editor noted. In follow-up snacking, just about everyone thought that it was pretty good. ($5/3.65 OZ.; PEMMICAN.COM) Outdoor Life Online Editor

OL editors go in search of the most flavorful jerkies in America. By Jacob Laub.