And the People’s Choice Is…Beef Jerky

People's Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.
People’s Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.

The Blanchetti founded Peoples Old Market in downtown Los Angeles in 1929, an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness neighborhood butcher shop.

It flourished, eventually being renamed Peoples Sausage Company to reflect its specialty. Over the years, succeeding generations of the family joined the business, adding their own new products, including an all-natural, hand-crafted beef jerky made from a 1920’s recipe that became a runaway hit.

People’s Choice Beef Jerky now offers a range of dried meat products, which I recently got a chance to sample.

Now, admittedly, I’m not one to normally chow down on beef jerky. But in the time of a pandemic, I can readily see how these meaty snacks can come in quite handy.

This is beef jerky that actually tastes of beef, not an old shoe. It’s got chew to it, so if you prefer softer, flabbier jerky, this might not be to your liking.

People’s Choice offers two different lines of jerky: Old-Fashioned, which are thicker pieces that are quite dry, sugar-free, and seasoned simply; and Classic, which are thinner, just a tad softer but still quite toothsome, and tend to be more elaborately flavored with ingredients that include soy sauce, sugar, and liquid smoke.

Purists will gravitate toward the Old Fashioned Hot & Spicy, which is peppery and leathery, the kind of jerky you can imagine riding a horse while rounding up the steers.

The Los Angeles company offers a variety of flavored beef jerky.
The Los Angeles company offers a variety of flavored beef jerky.

The Classic Cowboy Peppered is akin to that, but softer, with a very pronounced peppery kick, and an edge of sweetness. It’s probably more what a city-slicker cowboy would prefer (like me).

My favorites were the Classic Sweet Chili Habanero, which indeed tastes like that favorite Thai condiment sauce with its sweet-heat; and the Classic Garlic Ginger, which reminds me of the taste of takeout Chinese stir-fry beef.

The Classic Carne Seca, redolent of garlic, lemon and Guajillo peppers, weighs in with the most sodium at 500g per 1-ounce serving, which has 100 calories. The other flavors are just shy of that in terms of sodium and calories.

A 2.5-ounce bag is $6. There are even jerky boxes and “Jerky Grams” (customized envelopes that come with an illustrated postcard and bag of jerky) for gift-giving to your favorite carnivores.

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