10 Wines to Pair with Beef Jerky
Looking for wines to pair with beef jerky? Well, it looks like we're a match made in heaven. When most people hear the words “wine pairing,” they immediately think of cheese, chocolate or fancy tasting menus at fine dining restaurants.
Rarely do people think of beef jerky. But you and I? We’re different.
If you’re an adult jerky-lover who has never paired your favorite food -- jerky, obviously -- with wine, you are missing out...big time. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy wine while sprawled out on your couch, munching on one of the delicious jerkies from your Jerky of the Month Club box, laughing and joking with your friends. Wine can do many wonderful things to complement, magnify, or subdue the flavors of jerky as your palate desires.
Here are 10 of our top suggestions for delicious wine and beef jerky pairings.
How to Pair Wine with 4 of the Most Popular Jerky Flavors
Spicy beef jerky
Take down the heat of spicy beef jerky with white or rosé.
An excellent wine pairing for spicy jerky that’s just a little too hot to handle is the classic Sauvignon blanc or the aromatic Riesling.
Sauvignon blanc has herbal flavors thanks to a chemical compound called pyrazine, while Riesling features delicate notes of apples, apricots, peaches, and pears. This, with their high levels of acidity and low sugar content, makes these wines ideal for pairing with spicy beef jerky.
For example, Sriracha or Habanero -- as it lends them a refreshing crispness that can take the jerky’s fiery character down a notch and keep the more delicate palates from going up in flames.
Pairing sweet and spicy for the best of both worlds:
Do opposites attract? When it comes to sugar and spice, they sure do! As wine connoisseurs will often tell you, the key to a good wine and food pairing is balance. The sweet, fruity essence of Moscato is thus the perfect partner for spicy hot jerky.
The spice helps to make the wine’s subtler notes pop, letting you pick up on the delicate floral notes such as rose petal and elderflower, as well as peach, apricot, and orange citrus. Though it is not highly acidic, the Moscato has a low alcohol content, which helps keep the jerky’s hottest flames from blazing out of control (high alcohol content amplifies spiciness!). In this pairing, wine and jerky bring out each other’s best qualities and come together in a perfectly harmonized blend.
Teriyaki jerky has a lot going for it: sweet, tangy, and incredibly flavorful when done right (as ours certainly is!), it can easily hijack your tastebuds and barely leave any room for lighter wines to show off their delicate notes.
It takes a rich, juicy wine to stand up to the full flavor of the teriyaki and let a harmonized combo of all their best features shine through. That’s where red wines with toasty oak aromas, moderate tannins and lower acidity levels come into play. Some great pairings include Australia Shiraz, Argentina Malbec, Chile Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja Crianza, or Zinfandel.
What better match for a peppery jerky than a peppery wine? While this may not sound like the most innovative combination, the trick to finding the perfect wine pairing for a particular food often lies in identifying and matching the spices. For peppered jerky, there is a clear winner: Syrah, also known as Shiraz.
Thanks to its spicy-but-floral compound called rotundone, it leaves a peppery aftertaste on the palate that will harmonize with and magnify the taste of the jerky. Sparks will fly when these two meet in your mouth.
Most importantly: a wine that goes with Original flavor jerky
Good old original -- though it sounds plain, it certainly doesn’t have to taste that way.
With quality, premium beef jerky, the original is the variety that lets you fully appreciate the taste of real, 100% grass-fed beef, without any other flavors distracting you from the pure taste of healthy meat. This kind of jerky needs a similar profile in wine -- one that isn’t too fancy so as not to overpower the flavor of the jerky, but can still add a little something to the mix. For this, we recommend Merlot.
This soft and luscious red wine tastes delicious both with food and by itself, and is a popular choice for those who are new to red wine. Its accessibility makes it a truly well-matched pairing for the deliciously ordinary “Original” jerky. Merlot’s plummy taste and notes of chocolate make it an appealing choice for original jerky without being overbearing.
Discover wine and jerky pairings with LOLJerky
Ready to dive into the world of wine and beef jerky matchmaking? Have some real fun with it -- sign up for LOLJerky subscription box, where you receive up to 8 surprise flavors of jerky per month!
We often include variations of spicy, Asian, original, and pepper flavored jerky, so you’ll be sure to find something in your beef jerky box that you can pair with one of the wine suggestions above. There’s no easier or more delicious way to discover exciting new flavors of both jerky and wine and have fun with harmonizing them.
Tip: Opt for the 4- or 8-bag subscription to use your LOLJerky subscription for organizing monthly tasting nights for you and your friends.
Let us know what your favorite pairing is by sharing a picture on Instagram and tagging us at @loljerky!