The World’s Best Beef Jerky

IMG 1067
That’s me eating some, right there.

I have been disappointed for many, many years in the total crap they call “beef jerky” that comes in various packages in supermarkets and convenience stores. Oberto plain old natural can work in a pinch, because unlike all the other crap, it actually almost tastes and almost has the dry, chewy texture of the real jerky I remember as a kid (but nowhere close to this). I haven’t looked into why this is in any detail, but I suspect it’s because they cook the shit — instead of dry it — raising the question of whether their crap should even be called “jerky” at all.

Instead, I’ve made my own in the past using basically salt, pepper and garlic powder. I had a pic of strips sitting in my Bosch gas oven that has a dehydrator function, but can’t find it. Basically, you set the temperature to 105 and on dehydrate, the convection fan blows constantly and you prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon for moisture to escape.

You don’t run it up to 180 or whatever, and cook the shit. Not Jerky. So that’s Sophia there to the left. She gave me a sample bag of her jerky, and I was hooked. So she gave me three more bags, one of each flavor — 3 oz. in total — which I devoured in the wee hours while unable to sleep, drafting my first on scene post of the AHS11 experience.

So here’s the deal: Grass Fed Jerky Chews. I’m no expert, but 4 bucks per 1 oz package seems pretty reasonable and competitive, especially for quality ingredients and care in processing. And of course, the beef is dried so it probably equals a few ounces of grassfed beef in terms of cost. The ingredients (besides the grassfed beef):

  • ORIGINAL: Redmond Unrefined Sea Salt
  • MILD: Redmond Unrefined Sea Salt, Granulated Garlic, Black Pepper, Organic Lemon Juice
  • SPICY: Redmond Unrefined Sea Salt, Granulated Garlic, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Organic Lemon Juice

Here’s a short video of what she does and how she does it.

Grass Fed Jerky Chews from Grass Fed Jerky Chews on Vimeo.

And some decent testimonials here. I hope you’ll go check it out for yourself and give Sophia a try if you like. I’m not making anything from any orders — not yet anyway — but I do like helping out folks taking the time to make good quality.

I’ll be putting in my order as soon as this is published.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Brian Lowder on August 16, 2011 at 18:02

    I make my own Jerky Also. I developed my own brine and I smoke mine first then Dehydrate in in the Same dryer she uses. I dont know if you can view the pix, but here’s a link.

  2. Dave on August 16, 2011 at 15:44

    If only they shipped to Canada, we’re stuck making our own up here :(

  3. Josh San Diego on August 16, 2011 at 15:50

    I have been making my own jerky for the same reasons! It is really hard to find quality products in store. Thanks for the Jerky post!

  4. Lars on August 16, 2011 at 16:12

    They are delicious.. I’ve had all three flavors myself.

  5. Aaron Blaisdell on August 16, 2011 at 17:05

    My wife grabbed a few at our party. Haven’t had a chance to sample them yet, but now the anticipation is killing me!

  6. David Csonka on August 16, 2011 at 17:52

    Richard, you are like the fairy godmother of the paleo blog-o-sphere. You sprinkle your magically awesome blog juice on good and deserving folks, helping them to do neat things. I love it.

    Oh, and Sophia’s jerky is definitely good stuff. It’s nice to see market forces making high quality beef jerky imminently more affordable over the Internet.

  7. Uwe on August 16, 2011 at 18:16

    Just ordered some, hope it doesn’t take too long. I’m starved.

  8. JoshS on August 16, 2011 at 18:23

    Man I love beef jerky…it is truly the food of the gods.

    Who is the lady in black with the 50’s hairdo and red hairbow to your right in the photo? Grrrrooowwwlllll…she’s hawt.

    • Francois on August 16, 2011 at 20:18
      • Richard Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 21:19

        There you go, Josh.

      • Josh S on August 17, 2011 at 05:40

        I think I’m in love….

      • Chris on August 17, 2011 at 12:34

        Richard can now add match-maker to his list.

      • JoshS on August 17, 2011 at 18:21

        Seems she’s married… *walks away with head held low kicking rocks*

      • Tara on August 21, 2011 at 08:10

        Aw, shucks. *blushes*
        I hope you’re not kicking rocks in your Vibrams. ;)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 18:40

      She’s one of the volunteers and interviewers of all the presenters. As luck would have it, I’m assigned to her, but we didn’t get the deal done before I had to bolt. So I have to meet her up in SF in the next coup,a weeks to get that done.

      Go fish. :)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 18:43

      Her name is Tara.

  9. Diane @ Balanced Bites on August 16, 2011 at 19:48

    I’ve been in LOVE with Sophia’s jerky since a while back at one of our NorCal paleo meetups when she brought it for us to try/buy. It’s LEGIT stuff and I don’t buy other jerky (I make it myself at times) but would buy hers… it’s also the ONLY jerky I can get behind and promote at my seminars. THANK YOU SOPHIA FOR KEEPING IT REAL!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 20:48

      Amen, Diane. Yea, we can make ourselves, but even with so me of the kits and grass fed companies, it’s not the jerky I remember.

      This is.

  10. JoshS on August 16, 2011 at 19:49

    Lucky dog, you!! Lol

  11. Primal Toad on August 16, 2011 at 20:47

    Shall I try this? I am a huge fan of homemade jerky but would not mind trying out some from someone who sells it.

    I just went to the site… I need to buy some immediately – thanks for writing this post Richard!

  12. Lute Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 21:25

    I just ordered 4 packs. 2 original and 2 mild.

  13. Lute Nikoley on August 16, 2011 at 21:26

    I’ve also made it myself on my little chief smoker, very good. Just no time right now to make it.

  14. Sophia - Grass Fed Jerky Chews on August 16, 2011 at 22:44

    Huge thanks for the mention, Richard! Good thing we are neighbors and I can make the delivery myself.

    Diane you are amazing for voicing your support, as well! Pay it forward, baby. Only good stuff happens to those who do a good deed for someone else. l am doing it out of my passion to make healthier real food options more accessible, while supporting eco practices and local businesses.

    I truly owe it to the support of my family, friends, patient bloggers and loyal customers for helping me make this possible.


  15. LisaW on August 17, 2011 at 03:08

    Sophia, Can you internationalize and set up operations in the UK. We need you!!!!

  16. Chris on August 17, 2011 at 04:29

    I second LisaW’s comment……I’d love to order some of this to the UK

  17. Sean on August 17, 2011 at 05:04

    Hmm, sounds way too rewarding/palatable ;)

  18. Willis Morse on August 17, 2011 at 07:20

    Thanks for the heads up, Richard. I just ordered some, can’t wait to see how they taste.

    To all of you who make your own… what temperature do you use? I’ve tried 140 and 160 and my dehydrator, but that seems to cook the stuff and turn it into cardboard. I’ve been pretty disappointed with my jerky, but then I’ve never had real jerky so I can’t tell if I’m making it right.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 07:32


      105F. That’s the sweet number. It’s just enough heat to gradually absorb the moisture, not enough to cook.

      If you want to go really primal, build a rack and dry it in the sun.

      • Willis Morse on August 17, 2011 at 08:08

        Cool thanks, Richard. Seemed too low, but if it works I’ll try it. Can you snap the jerky when it’s done, or does it still bend?

      • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 08:41

        It bends

      • Willis Morse on August 17, 2011 at 09:07

        Good, cuz the crunchy kind tastes like shit.


  19. johnny collins on August 17, 2011 at 10:01

    Thanks for the recommendation. I just ordered 4 ounces. Can’t wait to try.

  20. Shortandsweet on August 17, 2011 at 13:27

    I just ordered all 3 kinds and am very excited to try it! Thanks Richard. I’m sure now that you have so heartily endorsed it, she will be inundated with orders. We will probably make her rich!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 14:21

      She’s local, so I get mine hend delivered tomorrow. :)

      • Shortandsweet on August 17, 2011 at 15:46


      • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 15:47

        Downside is I won’t get to try until ending my fast at a late dinner, ’round 8pm.

      • Shortandsweet on August 17, 2011 at 15:49

        It will be dessert! Enjoy!

    • Sophia - Grass Fed Jerky Chews on August 17, 2011 at 17:26

      Unfortunately a grass-fed jerky business doesn’t bring nearly as much money as one would think. Just put down a huge order for another shipment of jerky. Doing it out of my passion to make more quality grass-fed meat products available while supporting eco practices and local economy. Working on recruiting more grass-fed ranchers to jump in and grow their livestock. Too many ranchers out there that need help with marketing and promoting their quality product. We could potentially have a ton more local grass-fed products at affordable prices if we help these guys out. Richard has done a great deed!

      • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 17:45

        Are you kidding?

        Having lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in business ventures going back to 1992, I have zero illusion about what it takes to stay.

        There is no endeavor tougher in the world.

  21. Phocion Timon on August 17, 2011 at 14:02

    I used to use your salt, pepper, garlic powder recipe. A couple of years ago I substituted chipotle chili powder for 3/4 of the garlic powder. I’m a chili freak and the chipotle vastly improved the flavor.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 14:25

      P Timon

      Do you know where the fuck that post is? I wasted a half hour searching for it yesterday.

  22. Amit on August 17, 2011 at 17:22

    WOW! I’ve been looking for a decent grass-fed jerky FOREVER. I will definitely check it out. Thanks! :)

  23. William on August 17, 2011 at 18:02

    My experience with Oberto was not positive. Each time I consumed this brand of jerkey, my usual symptoms associated with carbs were evident. The symptoms include a racing heart, joint pain, bloated stomach, and “numb head.” After reading the label, I found the culprit; corn starch.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2011 at 18:18

      I’ve found I’m not particularly sensitive to corn. I can have an organic corn tortilla made only with sprouted corn, water and lime, and it goes gown great. Same with hominy grits. But maybe the corn starch is too concentrated.

  24. Karen on August 18, 2011 at 14:48

    Mine arrived minutes ago. I ordered all spicy (my DH loves spicy). Am halfway through the package. It’s tasty, but a little tough, as I have found most 100% grass fed beef to be, in all honesty. I do love that there is no sugar as there is in most over the counter jerky. And the lemon is great! Overall, a good product!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 18, 2011 at 16:00

      I love my jerky very dry, still pliable, and chewy. It’s just as I remember as a kid.

      Jaw exercise.

  25. […] any overly full feeling or hypoglycemic crash later. "Dessert" was a couple of 1oz packages of Sophia's most awesome beef jerky, sporting 17g of protein […]

  26. Diane @ Balanced Bites on August 24, 2011 at 22:45

    I actually love that they’re pretty dry since she doesn’t vacuum seal them with weird plastic and the weird silica gel pack thingies. That stuff sorta freaks me out, though I understand it’s purpose is to keep moisture at-bay and keep a product shelf-stable for longer. I will take a slightly drier product for something that will spoil in enough time. Real food all spoils in time. Except for honey.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.