Although there are a variety of pre-made beef jerky flavors available, and a nearly unlimited amount of flavoring options at your disposal should you make your own homemade jerky, the dried meat has some defining taste qualities, regardless of the ingredients used to marinate it.
It is, of course, dried and flavored beef, after all, which means the taste will be heavy and meaty. Salt is a primary ingredient in the jerky making process, so nearly all jerky varieties will be salty and have a high sodium content.
To put the flavor succinctly, beef jerky tastes very much like beef sausage, although much heavier on the flavor.
Also, because of the drying procedure crucial to producing this snack, the meat is very tough. Although chewier options are available to buy or make at home, most jerky is hard to the touch and on the teeth.
The overall flavor of the jerky also depends on the method employed when making it, the quality of the meat, and the flavors, spices, and sauces used to marinate the strips of beef.
You can make it in a dehydrator, home oven, or smoke the meat, and each of these methods has a distinct flavor.
Using less quality beef, ground beef for example instead of ribeye steak, can greatly affect the overall taste as well.
Finally, there are a great deal of marinade varieties in a number of delicious recipes, each depending on the tastes of the jerky maker and consumer.
In short, beef jerky’s flavor is unique. Beyond the high protein content, jerky enthusiasts swear by the taste of their dried meat snacks for how satisfying the crunch is on every bite.