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Jerky Flavors: Mild to Habanero Hot

There are many different flavors and degrees of heat for making jerky.  Some like their jerky with a relatively mild, original smoky flavor, some like sweet, while others like it eye-watering HOT!

We’re taking a look at some of the more popular flavors available for making your own jerky at home as well as how to determine where flavors rank on the pepper scale for being hot.

Little bit of history before we begin.  The degree of spicy heat for peppers (capsaicin concentration) – or any other food for that matter is based on the Scoville scale heat units.  [1]  This scale was devised  in 1912 by a pharmacist, Wilbur Scoville.    He developed his scale by the simple method of taster sensitivity.  Not very precise, but none-the-less it is still used today and covers more than 15 types of edible peppers.



While you’ll find a wide variety of jerky seasonings available, most of them tend to favor the hardwood flavors (hickory, oak, mesquite), cracked pepper and garlic, Cajun – a variety of mixed spices, and sweet (BBQ and Teriyaki) with hot pepper flavors (Jalapeno and Haberano) seemingly having the least variety.

Another popular way you’ll find jerky seasonings offered to the consumer  is where an assortment of flavors are in one package.  We found the most common variety package to include variations of hardwood, black pepper, jalapeno and Cajun.  Interestingly, some of the best jerky seasonings out there have been created by small companies and are ‘Award Winning’.  (Look for the  ‘blue ribbon’  on the jerky chart page. )

Most pre-packaged seasonings you may buy are ready to go including both spices and cure.  However, if you are looking for a cure to use for jerky  – or corned beef, etc. – Morton has a ‘five star’ rated product.   Read more about  Morton Cure here.

You’ll find these pre-packaged seasonings can be used for making both jerky strips and sticks using beef, buffalo, pork, poultry, fish or wild game.

To see a list of the top selling jerky flavors on Amazon – ranked according to flavor and spiciness  – visit the Jerky Seasoning Chart –  with links to get details on product or purchase.





[1]  scoville

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