Few snacks are as hearty, as filling, and as—dare we say—primitive as beef jerky. Whether you’re looking for something smoky and high-end or sweet and juicy, whether you’re purely Paleo or just looking for a protein-packed pick-me-up, the spots listed below have got you covered. Plus, you can always learn to make your own. By Jessica Allen.
Available online, but made in Brooklyn
BKBJ stands for Brooklyn Beef Jerky—and, get this!— all of its jerky is made to order from the heart of Brooklyn. That is, you can place your order over the magic of the interwebs, then sit back and wait for the deliciousness to arrive via your friendly mail carrier. Flavors include Hot Hawaiian, which features jalapeno and pineapple; Spare Rib, which has a tantalizing mix of honey and ginger; and Drunk Jerk, in which the beef gets marinated in beer and bourbon, and finished with a peppercorn rub. Free shipping on orders of $50 or more, with the code “BKshipping.” You’re welcome!
113 East 29th Street
New York, NY 10016
As a so-called beer and butcher’s restaurant in Murray Hill, it’s fitting that The Cannibal would make a mean jerky. Get it as a starter, wash it down with something yeasty and fermented, then dive into other carnivorous treats, such as beef tartare, braised pork shank, or bone marrow served with a softly scrambled egg. For the full experience, consider reserving an entire lamb or pig for your table (one-week notice required). In the interests of balance and, you know, heart health, order the phenomenal whole roasted cauliflower too.
Dickson’s Farmstand Meats
75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Dickson’s, a butcher shop inside Chelsea Market, refers to its jerky as a “true labor of love.” It consists of hand-seasoned, hand-sliced meat, itself made from a mix of various cuts, including beef clod and bottom round. If you’re starting to think the jerky should come with a warning, rest assured, it does: “Our house-made jerky & meat sticks are deliciously addictive – we guarantee that, after one taste, you’ll be forever ruined for all other jerky on the market.” The jerky comes in two flavors: salt and pepper, and chili and star anise. Get both!
114 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014
“Purveyors of beef products” sounds like marketing-speak until you take a bite, and realize this is the real deal. Jonty Jacobs specializes in South African biltong (slices of dried beef). At this West Village emporium, you can sample the traditional version, whose thin layer of fat helps give the meat flavor, or a lean cut. Either way, you’re looking at some 50 percent pure protein, minus preservatives and artificial coloring. Save room for the droewors (dried sausage) as well, another South African specialty that’s been lavishly prepared with vinegar and spices.
Malaysia Beef Jerky
95A Elizabeth Street
New York NY 10013
Chinatown has no shortage of excellent jerky spots, but our favorite, by far, is Malaysia Beef Jerky. Offerings go well beyond the beef jerky, made fresh each day in the Singaporean-Malaysian tradition, and include chicken, pork, and shrimp-flavored jerky. You choose the quantity, and whether to get the jerky spicy or not spicy. In general the jerky here tends to be a little softer, a little more pliable, and a little sweeter than what you might find in other spots on this list. We recommend buying a little bit from each place, then having your very own taste-off.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.