Jerky is one of the most popular snacking options worldwide. Loved by people of all age groups and ethnicities, few people can resist the charm of this salty and protein-rich snack.

If you are of legal drinking age and love the finer things in life, you are in for a treat as I am about to show you the basics of pairing jerky with wine and some classic combinations. So let’s begin:

What is Jerky? What does it taste like?

Jerky is essentially thinly cut cured meat. While the most commonly used meat for jerky is beef, a wide range of other meats is also used to make jerky. Here is a list of meats that are available as jerky :

Red Meats:

  • Beef
  • Buffalo
  • Pork
  • Venison
  • Elk

White Meats:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Ostrich

Fish meats:

  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Shark

Vegan Options:

  • Beyond meat
  • Veggie jerky

Jerky is usually made with thinly sliced pieces of meat from whole intact cuts of meat. These thin-sliced meats are typically lean and low in fat. Next, they are seasoned, cured, and dehydrated by using various seasonings and flavorings high in salt and sugar content. 

After the curing dehydrating process, the meat develops a chewy and fall-apart texture that complements its salty and smoky flavor.

Any meat that is turned into jerky becomes dry and flaky in texture. They lose most of their moisture content and toughen up and develop a fibrous texture that is loved by jerky lovers and people who love cured meats equally.

If you are looking for some spicy beef jerky then try this Peppered Beef Jerky to satisfy your jerky cravings..

What Kind of Wine Pair Well With Jerky?

You can never go wrong with wine pairing with jerky with these wines:

  • Red wines: This includes bold red wine, medium red wine, light red wine, and rosè.
  • White wine: Rich white wine, light white wine
  • Sparkling wine
  • Desert wine

How to Pair Jerky with Wines:

You need to follow a few rules when pairing wines with food. I know that pairing wine with food may seem intimidating to some extent, but in reality, it is quite easy as long as you follow a few rules.

Here are a few important rules and pairing ideas for you to learn and try out for yourself:

  • Red wines pair perfectly well with red meats.
  • Bold red wines like Malbec, Syrah/Shiraz, Mourvedre, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Meritage red wine, pair perfectly with beef as well as pork and other red meats.
  • Medium red wines like Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, etc. pair perfectly with pork and other red meats.
  • Light red wines like Pinot Noir, Grenache, Carignan, etc pair perfectly with cured meats and white meats like chicken, turkey, etc.
  • Rosè goes well with almost all kinds of meats and seafood.
  • Rich white wines pair like chardonnay, Marsanne, etc. pair perfectly with poultry and seafood, and fish.
  • Light white wines like Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, etc. go best with seafood and white meats.
  • Sparkling wines like Champagne, Prosecco, etc. pair well with all kinds of meats.
  • Sweet white wines like Riesling, Moscato, etc. pair perfectly with all kinds of jerky.
  • Dessert wines like Port, Sherry, Madeira, etc. pair well with jerky.

Some Basic And Fundamental Rules Of Pairing Wine With Jerky:

  • The flavors of the jerky and wine should complement and not try to overpower each other.
  • Wines like riesling, champagne, chardonnay, merlot, etc are always a safe option.
  • Jerky has deep and smoky flavors, which should be paired with robust wines.
  • Wines with a very high alcohol content will make jerky taste spicier.
  • Wines with a low alcohol content lower the heat levels of jerky, making them more enjoyable.
  • Bubbly drinks like champagne pair perfectly with salty flavors.
  • Acidic wines pair perfectly with tangy and sour flavored jerky.
  • Wines with earthy flavors pair perfectly with earthy flavored jerky..
  • Sweet and dessert wines are always good choices for pairing with jerky.

Besides these, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Be adventurous and never stop experimenting. This will help you improve your pairing game and, at the same time, help you discover new and unique combinations.
  2. Try adding other elements to the mix. Cheese, wine, and cured meats are a match made in heaven. Try cheeses like blue cheese, hard cheeses, brie, etc.Besides cheese, you can also try adding fruits like apples, pineapples, pears, grapes, etc. to be paired with jerky and wine. Other options include crackers, bread, and dried fruits.
  3. Cleanse your palettes after certain intervals. This will help you pair correctly and at the same time, reduce the fatigue from tasting too many combinations.

Final words:

To conclude, wine pairing with jerky is a fun and rewarding activity. It allows you to have fun and be rewarded by wonderful flavor combinations. While all the rules and tips I discussed here may seem strict and scary, just use them as guidelines and test them out.

In reality, there is no such thing as a “perfect pair” as it all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. The best pairs are the ones that are most appealing to you and your guests. So go out there, get some jerky and wine, and start the experimenting today!