Lassoing Bourbon with Beef Jerky: Rustling up a ‘Wild’ Affair

There are certain combinations that are destined to complement one another. Consider beef jerky and bourbon—it can’t get more American than that! The former invokes images of cowboys, rugged men with undying perseverance, who only allow themselves the most modest of pleasures. The latter, born in the Bluegrass, conjures a rich countryside appeal which is no less emphatic than its counterpart.

Both serve as perfect stable mates on the palate. The oak-instilled sweetness and spicy notes of matured whiskey meets its perfect match in a dried beef jerky loaded with subtle hints of pepper and umami. In fact, this pairing works like magic when you reach carb-saturation, but the urge of drinking and eating doesn’t seize.

The raw jerky flavor lingers on your taste buds. Washing it down with a dram of bourbon proves to be nothing less than a delightful treat! In fact, just a sip can completely overwhelm the jerky residue and strip the excess fat out of your mouth. The best part—you won’t feel any fuller than you already where. So, make sure you top up on the chaser.

When it comes to pairing beef jerky with bourbon, there are many options you can explore. Most choose high-rye or wheat bourbons, but you can also select from those aged in wine barrels or cherry casks. Options for beef jerky are exhaustive, varying with the use of seasoning and spices. However, if you wish to start off easy, consider the basic chili and lime beef jerky. A bite of this will trigger a rush of warmth from the crushed dry chili, followed by the tangy trails of lime-laden beef. Pair it up with a dram of sweet and smoky bourbon. How about the highly recommended Four Roses? This has a distinct, fruity flavor profile bearing hints of cherry and ripe plum along and exudes aromas of maple syrup, cocoa, caramel and vanilla. The overall sweet texture of this bourbon slowly cuts through the subtle warm notes of chili, only to reset your taste buds for another round.

For some more intriguing variations, you can try peppered beef jerky smeared with scrumptious ground white and black peppercorns. The hickory-smoked flavor balances out well with a heavily textured bourbon like Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 YO. The piquant flavor of the bourbon can elevate the bitter-sweetness of the jerky and take your taste buds for a wild ride.

There are no set rules for pairing jerky with bourbon. Just stick to your flavor preferences and keep it simple—after all, that’s what any great meal is all about.

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