Used to be, if you wanted some beef jerky from the store, you had very limited flavor choices. These were usually Original, Peppered, and Teriyaki. But, much like everything else in the snack aisle, jerky options have exploded in recent years.
BBQ? Psh, of course. Jalapeño? Yep. Hickory Sweet A1 Steakhouse? I’m not sure what half of that even means, but it’s probably out there.
Jerky doesn’t even imply cow these days; you can easily find turkey jerky on store shelves, and bacon jerky, because if you can bacon it it’s gonna get baconed.
If you want to get real crazy, there’s websites out there that will ship you jerky made from alligators and ostriches and like, I dunno, platypus or something.
When I was growing up, we had a meat store right around the corner. I think it’s technically called a butcher shop, but the sign on the building just said MEAT in huge letters, so I thought of it as the meat store.
Amazing beef jerky came from the meat store. It wasn’t fancy; it was just quality. As you may imagine, ever since the meat store closed long ago, I’ve found store-bought jerky to be lacking. Too thick, too thin, too tough, too “this jerky is actually slicing up my gums” (that one is the worst).
Rather than live in a jerkyless world out of pure petulance, I’ve learned to adapt. And with new flavors coming out all the time, at least it keeps my mouth entertained.
Two of the newest flavors to grace the dried meat family are Jack Link’s Sriracha and Burrito. Both of these were intriguing to me, for reasons I hope are obvious.
Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky
Sriracha is the new darling of the Internet, and if you can somehow incorporate the Asian hot sauce into your food product, I would consider it wise to do so. They’ve used it in everything from potato chips to popcorn. I’m pretty sure Kellogg’s is trying to figure out how to make sriracha cereal as we speak.
From Jack Link’s website: “Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky is packed with an explosion of hot chili peppers and garlic. This limited edition flavor will keep you comin’ back for more.”
The back of the bag expounds: “Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky is made with premium cuts of lean beef and seasoned with hot chili peppers, garlic and other traditional spices for an authentic Sriracha flavor.”
The sriracha beef jerky is indeed hot, but it falls into that unfortunate but all-too-familiar category of “spicy hot but tastes nothing like the hot sauce it’s supposed to taste like”.
Sriracha has a unique flavor of, as Jack Link said, chili peppers and garlic, but their beef jerky just tastes generically spicy. If you blindfolded me, I’d never guess the sriracha was in there.
It’s a tasty, spicy jerky, but sriracha it is not.
Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky
How could I not be interested in Burrito Beef Jerky? It sounds at once both awesome and terrifying. It also makes one wonder how it came to exist. How does burrito-flavored beef jerky go from the brainstorm room to shelves? I really would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that one.
Just thinking about shoving a burrito’s flavor into beef jerky makes me laugh. It’s hard to be scared when you can’t stop being amused.
Mr. Link’s website description: “¡Ay, caramba! Jack Link’s limited edition Burrito Beef Jerky has an authentic south-of-the-border flavor creating the ultimate burrito experience.”
Yeah, guys? Gonna go with “¡Ay, caramba!” Do we really have to bring 1992 Bart Simpson into this whole thing?
After I tasted Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky, I checked the back of the bag. “Jack Link’s Burrito Beef Jerky is made with premium cuts of lean beef, expertly seasoned with chili peppers, onion and garlic for an authentic burrito flavor.”
Sound familiar? Yeah.
That said, I actually liked the burrito jerky. Did it taste like a burrito? Of course not, it’s beef fucking jerky. But the garlic and onion flavors were really prominent, which tasted great with the peppers, which are much more subdued here than in the Sriracha Beef Jerky.
Both Sriracha and Burrito Beef Jerky are part of Jack Link’s new Limited Edition Wild Side flavors, which consist of these flavors and…uh…well, just these flavors, at least for now. What could be next for the Wild Side? Shrimp Cocktail Beef Jerky? Spaghetti Beef Jerky?
While I found that neither Jack Link’s Sriracha nor Burrito Beef Jerky actually tasted like their namesake, both were enjoyable. Sriracha packed in a good amount of heat, although not the actual flavor of the hot sauce.
Burrito never had a chance of tasting like burrito, but surprised me with the amount of garlic, and how well it worked with the onions and peppers. Jack would have done himself a favor by ditching the weird-ass Burrito moniker and going with a simple “Garlic and Pepper” type name.
Sometimes simple is best. Even if Burrito Beef Jerky still makes me laugh.
Jack Link’s Sriracha Beef Jerky and Burrito Beef Jerky
- Score (Sriracha): 3.5 out of 5 platypus jerkies
- Score (Burrito): 4 out of 5 eatings of my shorts
- Price: $3.98
- Size: 3.25 oz. bag
- Purchased at: Walmart
- Nutritional Quirks: “Burrito” not listed as an ingredient in the Burrito Beef Jerky. I CALL FALSE ADVERTISING