Gourmet Beef Jerky and A Food Gal Giveaway

Look closely and you'll see real orange peel on this variety of Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky.

I had to chuckle upon clicking on Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky site to hear a rousing and rather whimsical tune about kissing away the “Shoe-Leather Beef Jerky Blues.”

Owner Jeff Richards is that confident that his jerky will banish any blues or horror experiences you’ve had with convenience-store jerky that nearly took out your molars.

He’s sure his will convince you that jerky can actually taste good and be kind to your teeth.

Richards made his jerky for years as a gift for family and friends during the holidays. Finally, in 2006, after giving away more than 25 pounds of the beefy stuff, he decided to give it a go as a business.

Jeff’s Famous Jerky, made in Mission Viejo, CA, now comes in eight different flavors, including Jalapeno Carne Asada and Habanero Heatwave. Recently, I had a chance to try some samples.

The jerky is toothsome with some chew, but not so much as to cause your jaw to ache. The first thing you notice is the richness of this jerky. It tastes like real marbled beef. That’s because Richards uses sliced, whole muscle beef rather than the highly process, extruded meat that other manufacturers do.

This jerky also doesn’t taste primarily of salt, as so many others do. Instead, the Orange Peel variety actually has bits of real orange rind still sticking to the meat, giving it a subtle, rounded citrus flavor. The Sweet Teriyaki tastes of soy, sesame oil and brown sugar. The Cranberry Jalapeno is mid, with the pepper adding more of a grassy note than full-on heat. Indeed, the Black Pepper and Sea Salt carried much more of a kick, with its coating of ground peppercorns. It’s tongue-tingling, but balanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and pineapple juice, and the fruitiness of tamarind.

A serving is about 70 calories with 20 percent of that from fat. Sodium content is 80mg to 560mg, depending upon the variety.

A 2-pack of jerky (in two 3-ounce bags) is $13.95. Every few months, Richards also donates a box of jerky to U.S. troops to share the jerky love.

The contest winner will get to try three different flavors of their choosing.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win three free bags of Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky in the flavors of your choice. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 2. Winner will be announced March 4.

How to win?

Since we’re talking about jerky things, tell me about a memorable jerk you’ve encountered in life. Since I know jerks have a way of bringing out the worst in everyone, just be sure to keep the comments clean, though, if you know what I mean.

Here’s my own answer:

“Of course, it would have to be an old boyfriend. Isn’t it always? I once dated a guy for about a year, who eventually said we needed to ‘take a break.’ Uh, OK, I thought. While I assumed we were just on hiatus to allow him some space, he was telling everyone else he knew that we had broken up. ‘Course, he never told me that. Good grief. I forgive him now. But then? Not so much.”

More Gourmet Jerky: Little Red Dot Kitchen

And: Krave Jerky

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  • Thanks for the review Carolyn and we are so glad our new jingle made you laugh! That is Sybil Gage singing… an amazing blues and jazz singer that is a personal favorite!

  • beef jerky looks amazing!

    my story: when i was a teenager, i was pretty self conscious about my weight because i was chubby. a tall skinny guy came up to me and said “hey! my legs are about 1/4 the size of yours” and laughed. i was mortified! 🙁

  • I just had what I thought was a memorable encounter with a jerk a month ago. I was driving to take care of some errands. I am about to turn right and the car in front of me, while having no reason to do so, stops completely. Naturally, I also have to stop. A second later I feel a slight bump. A lady rear-ended me, not very hard, but enough to notice. We both complete the turn and pull over. I get out of my car to survey the damage while she stays in her car. I can find no discernible damage to my car, and, thinking I’m doing her a favor, wave my hand and mouth “forget it”, as I was not particularly anxious to stop everything I was doing to have the police come and do a report, etc. At which point she gets out of her car and says “…okay because it’s YOUR fault. I left plenty of room to stop so it’s your fault.” Keep in mind, I am 32 years old now, and I don’t think I’ve once gotten to the point of yelling in anger at anyone. Until that day. I cut her off and yelled at her “First of all, you ran into me! So it’s your fault!” After that she got back in her car and drove off. I was left wondering in what reality can you be rear-ended and have it be your fault?

  • We were driving past an entrance to a busy shopping mall. Cars were backing up at the entrance, so there was no room for anyone else to turn in. There was a space in front of us to drive past. For no good reason, some jerk driver in the oncoming lane decides to cut me off and turn in to the entrance. Of course, he got stuck, and also prevented us from moving on.
    I looked at him and raised my hand in annoyance. He saw this, and proceeded to wind down the window and give us a piece of his mind – in filthy Hokkien. As he was yelling and jabbing his finger at us (over his poor embarrassed girlfriend sitting in the passenger seat), the blockage in front of him cleared. But he didn’t notice as he continued to rail away.
    At first I was taken aback. Then, bemusededly, I motioned that his way was clear. I could still hear him yelling as he got out of my way.

  • Of course it is about an old boyfriend. When we were teenagers my first boyfriend and I were wrestling fooling around until it got alittle heated and he ended up kneeing me in the mouth and breaking my two front teeth.

  • The jerk in my life was the girl who sat behind me in English class my 9th grade year. She thought she was popular and everyday she would pull my hair at least twice during class just to be a jerk. After about a month I waited for her to do it one day then ended up digging my nails into her hand as it pulled me hair. She screamed, the teacher asked what was going on, and that was the end of the hair pulling!

  • I’ve been hearing a lot about this jerky recently and really would love to try it.

    My recent jerk moment happened today while paying for my groceries. The gal behind me was very impatient and while I was in the middle of receiving my receipt she pushed her little cart right into me! I hadn’t even collected my groceries. No apology either, she just went on talking to the checker, who at least was nice enough to ask if I was ok.

  • I didn’t know gourmet beef jerky existed! I like the tough store ones enough, curious what these are.

    The jerk was and old roommate who was inconsiderate enough to volunteer that I sing at a birthday party after 3 days of interviews and a red eye flight. And always refused to work in another room or dim the lights cuz I slept early and she worked late.

  • Can dogs count? How about the three dogs who live in the apartment above us who like to bark and howl while their owners are at work (usually until 11 p.m.)?

  • The jerk of my life, has to be my ex. A couple years ago I was diagnosed with organ failure an was dying in the hospital. Not only did he NOT come to the hospital when he got the news- but he decided to go on a vacation because he said I was “bringing him down”. Really? Wow. True story. 🙁

  • I worked with a lot of jerks at my last job. One of them preferred to work remotely but would frequently need assistance from those of us in the office. I was always happy to help if my workload permitted. She was always grateful for my help over Skype but when she came into the office, she wouldn’t acknowledge my existence even when passing each other in the hall. Really? I love all of the connections we can make online; but if we “talk” online–talk to me when we meet in person!

  • Hi Jef, your jerky looks extremely delicious! I make jerky (Biltong)myself, but I need a good tasty recipe for the spice mix. I live in NZ now and would like to try a good recipe. How about it mate?

    Kind regards

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