The Great Vegetarian Jerky-Off


Editor’s Note: Our intermittent vegetarian correspondent, Alex, recently took on an epic (and tasty) assignment for ES, with some assistance from her eager crew of med student friends/taste testers.

You learn a lot of important things in medical school, but far and away the most useful skill you attain is the ability to snack like nobody’s business. Studying for finals? Almonds and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Bummed about a quiz? Ice cream and wine. Just a run-of-the-mill study night? Well, technically you’ve already eaten dinner, but popcorn is like basically not food anyway.

Now, being a vegetarian, I had never considered any meaty snacks, but it occurred to me awhile ago that back in my carnivore days, I used to love (LOVE) beef jerky. And heck, they do everything veg now, so it led me to wonder — is there a veg jerky option?

Turns out, yes, holy cow, there are about a zillion. And thus the Great Vegetarian Jerky-Off was born.

Fourteen varieties of faux beef jerky. Several hungry medical students. One night. Some beer.


The setup was highly organized for impartiality: blind taste test, with ES rep BS serving up the samples (and monitoring for legitimacy). Med students were selected for their snacking prowess, jerky expertise and, um, being my friends. Jerkies were supplied by Vegan Dream, Tasty Eats and Primal Strips. (Tofurky tried to help us out too, but unfortunately nobody in the Upper Valley sells Tofurky Jerky. Sorry Tofurky, we tried.)

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