Jerky is complex food, and we’ll be honest: It’s a competitive space. Lots of brands are vying for your taste buds. 

That’s why we got into the jerky-making business. We couldn’t find high-quality jerky that came from the best cuts of meat, made the way we like it — 

Marinated, not infused.

Cut by hand, not machine processed.

Cut across the grain, not with the grain.

Tender, not jaw-achingly chewy.

Most importantly, we wanted boldly flavored jerky, none of this “flavored with a hint” of this or that crap.

We quickly learned that there is a world of difference between gourmet jerky and traditional, mass-produced jerky. 

1. Savage Cuts of Premium Beef

What part of the cow is beef jerky? That depends on who you ask. Ask Savage, and we’ll tell you that we use only USDA premium beef brisket. This is the foundation of gourmet jerky versus other jerky: The cut of meat itself. 

Top-quality, USDA prime is the highest grade of beef, so says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). To be labeled “premium,” beef must have abundant marbling and a perfect degree of texture and flavor. For this reason, we use only USDA premium beef brisket for all of our beef jerky varieties. 

The cut of the meat and the way it’s cut is vital to excellence. By hand-trimming across the grain instead of with the grain, we produce jerky that is tender and easy to chew. The cross-grain cut is the secret to absorbing marinades. Cross-grain, hand-cut is the difference between artisan beef jerky and machine-produced jerky. 

2. Real Ingredients, Not ‘Flavored’ 

We don’t flavor our meat. We marinate it with real whole ingredients. 

It’s not like we want to throw our competitors under the bus. But in our search for the best beef jerky meat on the planet, we found too many jerky brands that relied on low-quality tactics to achieve flavor, resulting in jerky that lacks depth and balance.

Gourmet jerky, on the other hand, uses high-quality ingredients and whole foods to enhance and complement the taste of the beef. We use fresh herbs and spices along with dried rubs and natural ingredients to create unique and powerful flavors. BOLD citrus, garlic, pepper. You will never see preservatives, fillers and corn syrup in our jerky. 

3. Marinade Like You Mean It

The word marinate is an old French word that was used in the 1640s to refer to pickling fish or meat in a marinade or brine. This process was used to soften meats and give flavor, especially to cuts of meat that were not tender or flavorful. What it never referred to, however, was injecting marinades or chemicals into meat to skip the slow process necessary for maximum flavor uptake! 

Cheap jerky brands use these short-cuts to mass produce jerky quicker, leaving consumers with jerky that lacks the deep and bold flavor they crave. This is one of the reasons gourmet jerky costs more than mass-produced jerky.

Marinating is all about infusing every bite with bold flavors. We don’t dip, slather, or brush-on flavors. Gourmet jerky meat marinates over 24 hours, so every bite offers consistent, bold flavor. 

For some “traditional” brands of jerky, the flavors are added after the jerky meat is cut and dried — like an afterthought. Oftentimes this includes adding sugar and sodium along with a range of preservatives and flavor enhancers. You’ll even see synthetic nitrites, MSG and artificial flavorings in many ingredient lists. The result is a painted-on flavor that quickly dissipates as you chew, giving an artificial taste. 

4. Chef-Inspired Recipes

You’ve probably noticed that traditional, grocery story jerky tends to fall into a few flavor categories: original, teriyaki, black pepper along with some spicy flavor and perhaps a sweet-and-spicy variation. Don’t get us wrong: We aren’t opposed to tradition. We have traditional jerky flavors too.

The difference between gourmet and traditional brands? Traditional brands don’t steer far from tradition. And, they don’t develop depth of flavor, either. This leaves you with a flat-tasting, ho-hum product. 

What Savage Jerky does is completely different, because we follow chef-created recipes that span mild to bold to completely wild. We take our inspiration from various regions and cultures to create unique gourmet jerky that never fails to deliver on taste.

5. Dehydrating vs Cooking Jerky

Typically, the jerky-cooking process involves an oven or dehydrator that cooks meat and pulls out moisture, giving you a dry, tough texture that makes your jaws ache.

What we do is different, because we use a custom-designed oven to perfectly prepare small batches in our state-of-the art facility. We’d love to tell you more about it — and maybe someday we will — but right now, we’re protective about our process. We aim to be the best, not to be the most copied. 

Suffice it to say, we use a very special oven that locks in intense flavors and preserves the texture of the meat, resulting in gourmet jerky that is bursting with flavor and completely satisfying to chew.

Last Words: Traditional vs Gourmet

Theirs (Traditional Beef Jerky)

Ours (Savage Beef Jerky)

Machine cut with the grain

Hand cut against the grain

Mass-produced in large batches

Slow cooked in small batches

Low-grade meat

USDA premium brisket

Preservatives and additives

Natural made ingredients

Tough to chew

Tender, mouthwatering

Brushed-on flavor

Deep marinade for 24 hours

Flavor that fades with every bite

Consistent flavor, with every bite 

Give it a try: Shop our collection of the most popular, premium beef jerky flavors


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