A huge jerky fan, who could say no when Duke's sent me a batch of their artisanal smoked meats to review. Shunning the industrial processed jerky you can find in your local gas station, Duke's instead decided to produce jerky in small batches the way it was originally done centuries ago.
Due to its low water and high salt content, jerky is by nature a light, high energy food capable of being stored in unfavorable conditions for long periods of time. This is exactly what makes it the perfect trail food.
Started in 2004 by Justin Havlick, Duke's uses only lean cut beef or pork rounds, sliced nice and thin. The slices are marinated, cured on rotating racks, and then smoked low and slow in small batches, using real mesquite and hickory wood chips, with no artificial smoke flavoring or MSG.
The jerky not only tastes great, but uses simple ingredients you can pronounce such as soy sauce, dried onion, dried garlic, brown sugar, angus beef, and apple juice concentrate. With three servings per package, each chunk of jerky provides your body with 50-80 calories for fuel and 6-8 grams of protein.
Duke's sent four flavors of jerky for me to try: Bourbon Glaze Beef Steak Strips made with Jim Beam Bourbon, Island Teriyaki Beef Jerky made with Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce, Hot + Spicy "Shorty" Smoked Sausages, and the Original Angus Beef Jerky. My personal favorite is the Bourbon Glaze Beef.
Bottom Line: If you are a jerky fan and would rather enjoy the taste of something artisan made in small batches versus overly processed, check out Duke's. I plan to stock up on more.
Duke's Small Batch Smoked Meats come in 10 flavors and retail for $6.99.