Beef jerky is no longer just that sustenance truck drivers pick up at the gas station. Nor is it some unhealthy meat that’s loaded with preservatives. It’s incredibly high in protein, low in fat, and overall an ideal between-meal snack

I eat copious amounts of beef jerky. Seriously, I can go through a pack of that convenient meaty deliciousness on any given school day. Hence, I've learned that not all beef jerky is created equal. There are more dimensions to the snack than ever.

I've gathered all of the different types and brands of beef jerky on my campus that's antibiotic-free, nitrate-free, and/or organic. I've evaluated each jerky, taking into consideration taste, texture, fat content, flavor combinations, and price. Okay, let's get to the meat of things:

4. Field Trip: Honey Spice

coffee, tea
Danielle Tse

Often in your package of beef jerky, you’ll get a pod of silica that reads “DO NOT EAT.” In the case of Field Trip’s jerky, you should not only refrain from eating the silica, but also the jerky itself. Do not eat this beef jerky. When you open the package, all you see is a whimpy little tangle of meat shavings. This jerky is also horribly dry and salty, so you need some serious jaw strength if you choose to eat it.

3. KRAVE: Cabernet Rosemary and Five Peppercorn

tea, beer, coffee, bacon, chocolate
Danielle Tse
KRAVE is a close runner-up to EPIC. Its flavors are equally unique and sophisticated. Both KRAVE’s Cabernet Rosemary and Five Peppercorn are delectable. This jerky is on the fattier side, but nevertheless, it’s still a very lean product. What’s nice is that the higher fat content makes this jerky softer than others. The major downside to KRAVE is its price ($7.99 per pack).

2. EPIC: Cranberry Sriracha

bacon, coffee
Danielle Tse
EPIC jerky is a solid choice. This jerky’s got thick slices, and while it’s slightly chewy, it’s mostly tender. Props to EPIC for their creative flavors. The sweet, salty, and spicy elements of this flavor are pleasantly unconventional, and they work well together. At $6.99 per pack, EPIC jerky is slightly more expensive than 365’s, but it’s definitely worth the added dollar.

1. 365 Organic Beef Jerky: Original and Peppered

milk, chocolate
Danielle Tse

This is the ideal beef jerky. 365’s flavors are tried and true. Although the peppered jerky is indeed very peppered, I would definitely recommend it if you like that kind of spice. If you’re not into pepper, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the original flavor. The slices are thick and tender, and this jerky is the leanest of all the brands I tried. Best of all, 365 jerky is relatively inexpensive ($5.99 per pack), making it perfect for everyday consumption.