Jan 26, 2024 - Food and Drink

Seeking the best beef jerky in Philadelphia

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👋 Hi, Isaac here! Not to be a jerk, but the Philadelphia region's beef jerky is mid.

Context: Growing up in New Mexico, I learned there's only one real type of beef jerky: carne seca, or thinly sliced dried meat seasoned with the state's finest flavors, including red and green chile.

The intrigue: My favorite is my grandfather's traditional method, passed down from his father, a sheepherder who lived off the land.

  • He would shave meat strips to the consistency of papier-mâché before salt-and-peppering them to preserve the meat.
  • He'd hang the strips up for days to dry over a string in the upstairs of his scorching hot South Valley home.

Flashback: There was always a fresh batch waiting whenever I'd spend a week at my grandparents.

  • The taste: Imagine the juiciness of a medium-rare steak in dried form — brittle, chewy and not rubbery

The bottom line: Shipping good stuff from back home gets expensive.

  • I need a new hookup, Philly. Email [email protected] with your best local jerky spots. I'll accept it's not carne seca but the best my current home can do.
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