Organic Beef Jerky?

I saw some “organic beef jerky” at the grocery store today.

Are there actually people who eat beef jerky who care whether it is organic?

Next up we’ll have organic chewing tobacco and organic Pringles.


Remember, being healthy is not necessary to make eating something a good, utility increasing idea. Beef jerky is delicious. People can claim that it is not tasty, but I don't believe it. Sort of like my vegitarian friends who attempt to claim that they don't like the taste of bacon, a food that is basically impossible to dislike. One of my friends quipped once that he figures St. Louis was mostly settled by pioneers who stocked up on 6 months worth of beef jerky in St. Louis and then had it all consumed before their covered wagon left city limits, so they had to settle there. So, Mr. Levitt, I propose that you sample a few types of beef jerky and then report back to the blog (and remember, "beef sticks" and the like are not beef jerky).


Sure, jerky is an incredibly healthy, filling, portable snack food. The problem is that most commercially available jerky is crap, so anybody who wants decent jerky has to make their own or become friends with someone who does (down here in Texas you can find some folks who sell it by the roadside and that's usually good stuff as well).

Jerky is in many ways one of the original health foods. You don't have to be a vegetarian to be worried about health, and the massive amounts of hormones and antibiotics pumped into commercial beef these days is pretty disturbing.


I'm baffled that none of the posts mention animal welfare. I usually buy organic animal products b/c it is at least some guarantee that the animal had a decent life before it wound up on my table. Here is the description: "'Certified Organic': The animals must be allowed outdoor access, with ruminants—cows, sheep, and goats—given access to pasture. (Consumers should be aware that there have been concerns about lax enforcement, with some large-scale producers not providing meaningful access to the outdoors.) Animals must be provided with bedding materials." Taken from

Nicholi Kornachefsky

I enjoy organic beef jerky. I also enjoy organic maple syrup which costs $40 a litre.


I've been having organic deer jerkey for years. But that's mostly because I shot a deer and had some of it processed into jerky.


Organic is hot property.
I was in food packaging biz between 2000 and 2003 as "certified organic" was building.
If you really care about it look for a non-government certifier like Oregon Tilth. That's an indicator that the company is will to pay for the proof.
Last I knew, USDA had no teeth due to lobbyists.
Tilth audits were very thorough.


Just head down the chips aisle and you'll see plenty of organic Pringles on the shelves. Of course, they're a different brand name and manufacturer, but gimmicky chips are nothing new.


If I were to bring home organic beef jerky it would go straight onto my husband's inedible list, right beneath tofu and lite beer. As he likes to say, "real men don't eat organic."


What led you to compare dried beef with tobacco or pringles?? lolz.

Even if it was soaked in a marinade before drying, it would still fall short of the pitfalls of chew, and even pringles, I think, anyway.


Natural American Spirit makes organic cigarettes. But fear not. It kills you just as effectively.


Yes, I care. There's a lot of people who believe that beef is OK, but that it shouldn't be shot full of hormones. Google "pasture-raised beef" for a lot of info on people who believe not only that, but that you get a lot healthier beef grass-fed versus corn-fed.


There already is organic chewing tobacco -- produced by American Spirit, also of the organic cigarette tobacco.


People who buy organic beef jerky give people who are into organic foods a bad name.


We already do.


Yes. I _think_ your post is assuming and/or implying that only people who eat junk food and things that are bad for them like beef jerky? Not true.

I'm an avid hiker, mountain biker, kayaker, and skier. My friends and I have found beef jerky to be an ideal snack. It's light, high in protein, and packs great energy. At home we try to eat organics where possible and where it makes sense. So why wouldn't we want our snack products to be organic as well?

Have you ever actually had high quality, fresh beef jerky? When you come to Montana let me know and I'll buy you some.

I guess my point is that I wouldn't put it in the same camp as trying to market organic chewing tobacco...


Jerky is great for outdoor activities - hiking, canoeing, climbing, tree planting, adventure racing, etc. Also, if your girlfriend thinks you are maintaining a vegetarian diet, jerky is the easiest type of meat to stash around the house. So it's not just tobacco spitting truckers that eat jerky. Dirty hippies and guys who are dating dirty vegetarian hippies eat lots too.

Organic jerky doesn't surprise me at all.


I don't see the disconnect. Are you presenting this as some kind of class-dissonance? Is there some reason why you can't like jerky and not like lots of processing?
As a poster above hinted at, there was a time when all jerky was essentially "organic" out of necessity. Turning meat into "jerky" was just a simple (and tasty) way to preserve the protein in a time when refrigeration wasn't possible. If you'd seen organic Ho-Ho's, that would be worth noting.
Not that I'm a big jerky fan or anything. I only eat it once in awhile. But I just don't get your point.

p.s. - Whole Foods organic jerky is alot better than Pemmican or any of that other stuff you find bagged in truck stops.

Ubu Walker

I love beef jerky, but the shady nature of commercial beef jerky makes me want to gag, especially when ingredients like "mechanically separated chicken" "hydrolyzed corn gluten" and "lactic acid starter culture" are commonly used by big name manufactures. My home-made jerky that I have made using fresh ingredients is obviously superior. I, for one, wouldn't hesitate to buy 100% organic jerky, because it wouldn't contain artificial junk in it.


Unlike Pringles, beef jerky is (or is historically, and should still be) a natural, unprocessed, traditional food. A thoughtful eater can reasonably expect organic beef jerky to be free of some of the undesirable byproducts of the industrial farming system. Probably not free of all of those issues, though, as most organic meat is still raised in factory farms (but generally more carefully run one).

Personally, I particularly want to eat grass-fed, sustainable beef jerky, raised and made by farmers and charcutiers who give their names and take pride in their craftsmanship. For that I'd happily pay ten times what jerky goes for at the local Gas'n'Sip. And I believe I can taste the difference, or more to the point that it enriches my life in terms of both flavor and nourishment.

But that could just be me.

Josh Millard

Yes. I _think_ your post is assuming and/or implying that only people who eat junk food and things that are bad for them like beef jerky? Not true.

Etc. And it's a good point, and I think it's just a perception problem here. When Levitt says "beef jerky", I'm guessing he's thinking of the same thing a lot of people would think of: beef jerky in the impulse-buy racks at convenience stores. The stuff is crap, and if you're not into jerky enough to seek out better stuff, the weirdness of the idea is pretty clear.

If we can get a sighting of Certified Organic single-wrapped footlong $0.50 Teriyaki Beef Sticks hanging in front of the counter at the 7-11, then we'll really have something.