Lots of people love jerky, and in Arizona, it’s pretty easy to find. From roadside stores in Quartzite to gourmet storefronts in Sedona, our state is no slouch in the jerky game.
Most of these jerkies can be ordered online, or found at Phoenix area farmers markets – in other words, you can get the jerky without the road trip, but where’s the fun in that? Here are 10 places to find Arizona-made jerky across the state.
Buck Thornton's World of Jerky
333 AZ-89A, Sedona
Owners Buck and Kitty Thornton (real names Gary and Sheri) are not exaggerating that “world of jerky” part of Buck Thornton's World of Jerky. This Sedona-based jerky store has gone beyond just beef jerky since it opened in 2002, as elk, deer, salmon, buffalo, ostrich, and kangaroo jerky are also available. Flavors range from Old Fashion to hickory, teriyaki, rosemary garlic, whiskey BBQ, and Ring of Fire. The Cowboy, aka Buck, aka Gary, has been making jerky since childhood, before he met Sheri, aka the “Beauty Queen,” and now you can pick up some jerky and meet them in Uptown’s Matterhorn Shoppes in Sedona.
Daniel’s Really Good Fresh Jerky
1349 West Main Street, Quartzsite
If you’ve ever taken Interstate 10 west toward California, then you’ve definitely seen the sign for Daniel’s Really Good Fresh Jerky when passing through Quartzsite (there’s also another location in Parker along AZ 95). Jerky options include Garlic & Rosemary Beef, Buffalo Wing Chicken Jerky, Teriyaki Turkey Jerky, Maple Pork, and simply, Cowboy Flavor – with the option to combo three bags or flavors. And this being the Arizona desert, humor is a must. Keep an eye out for the “shitty spices series” – flavors include Aw Shit, Bull Shit, and Chicken Shit – and products like Daniel’s Colon Cleaner Jerky are known to exist.
Double Check Ranch
4965 North Camino Rio Road, Winkelman
Double Check Ranch is a small-scale agricultural operation based in Winkelman, about two hours southeast of Phoenix. Their Grassfed Beef Crisps, otherwise known as hand-cut beef jerky, is thinly sliced beef in one of two flavors: Black Pepper or Smoked Sea Salt. Each biodegradable and recyclable package contains 1/3 of a pound of grass-fed beef, and can be found at local farmers markets like Gilbert Farmers Market, Mesa Community Market, Phoenix Uptown Market, and downtown’s Open Air Market. You can even “get a better feel for what [they] do” at the actual Double Check Ranch, where pasture tours and potlucks are usually on the menu.
Fatdaddy’s Beef Jerky
2401 East Baseline Road, #103, Gilbert
If you hate nitrates, Fatdaddy’s Beef Jerky – hand-trimmed, gourmet jerky based in Gilbert – is for you. Fatdaddy’s preparers marinate 100 percent beef in “family recipes” to the result of bite-sized delights in six flavors. Meats have included beef of course, and elk, deer, moose, buffalo, goose, and duck in flavors like pepper, teriyaki, Cajun, and the original BBQ. Fatdaddy’s started in Montana with “journeyman meat cutter” Bob Starkey and his wife, Margie, and is now operated by their nephew Nick in Arizona.
Gus's Fresh Jerky
1400 US Highway 93, Golden Valley
Established in 1996, owner and jerky maker Gus decided to "give the people what they want" – which came in the form of fresh jerky found in California, Nevada, and Arizona. The “fresh” in Gus's Fresh Jerky comes from its 100 percent natural ingredients, which are marinated, seasoned, and vacuum-sealed without preservatives. Meats include beef, buffalo, elk, salmon, turkey, and venison in hot, smoked, and original – plus fun stuff like Jamaican Turkey Jerky, Hot Brisket Beef Jerky, and Sweet Sopressata Alpine Dry. The Golden Valley location is set along US 93 just northwest of Kingman in western Arizona.
6044 North 16th Street
The Uptown-based Phoenix butcher shop may be known for its steaks, seafood, and deli meats, but they also pump out some prime beef jerky. Hobe Meats jerky is made fresh and in-house by Bret Pont – the shop’s butcher, counterman, and owner since 2009 – and the crew. Flavors include teriyaki and a pepper blend. Hobe Meats was established in 1962, and can be spotted north of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road by the iconic neon sign and that lovable steer on the roof.
Ever just felt like quitting your job to just make something, like maybe even artisan jerky? That’s what Lawless Jerky founder and CEO and former attorney Matt Tolnick did more than two years ago. Known as “America's Craft Jerky,” Lawless Jerky is made with 100 percent grass-fed beef and pork, and comes in seven imaginative flavors (known as Braver Flavors), which include Mango Habanero, Japanese Curry, and Pho. Tolnick moved the operation from Santa Monica, California, to a state-of-the-art jerky facility in Arizona, where microbatches of jerky continue to be made by hand by Tolnick and staff.
Papa Mike's Homemade Jerky
150 South Camino Seco, #114, Tucson
Manufactured in Tucson, Papa Mike's Homemade Jerky is made with 100 percent USDA beef. Their jerky comes in spicy flavors like jalapeno, habanero, and chiltepin – or you can indulge your sweeter side with teriyaki, sweet and spicy, and brown sugar. You can find Papa Mike's Homemade Jerky at Tucson area markets like the Tanque Verde Swap Meet, the Heirloom Farmers Markets, the UAMC Farmers Market, and the Farmers Market at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley.
Rick's Beef Jerky
Billed as “homemade gourmet beef jerky,” Rick’s Beef Jerky is run by Rick and Chuy out of Tucson, who have more than 40 years of combined experience in the food-service industry and in jerky making. Rick's Beef Jerky uses USDA, 90-percent lean meat and their family recipe to create jerky in flavors like curry, garlic, teriyaki, fajita, peppered, habanero, and – what they consider a bucket-list item – the Ghost Pepper jerky.
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Santana’s Gourmet Beef Jerky
A more recent addition to the Arizona beef jerky scene, Santana’s Gourmet Beef Jerky started in 2015, and produces what they call the “Best Jerky on the Planet!” Their jerky is gluten, preservative, and additive-free, and is never frozen – the meat makes the transition from market to packaging in about five days. A long marinating process cures the meat the old-fashioned way, and results in gourmet jerky in flavors like Hatcho .357, Lemon- Z, and “Smoky” Robinson. Other flavors include the Southern-inspired Heaven, the Hatch Red Chili-heavy Cardinal, the peppery El Vaquero, and the Italian-spiced Super Mario.