Keto Beef Jerky: The 5 Best Zero Carb, Zero Sugar Jerky Brands

Simple, delicious, and filling — beef jerky is the perfect snack for the ketogenic diet.

But before you reach for a tasty bag of jerky, you’d better double-check the nutrition facts. 

Many leading brands of jerky contain nearly as much sugar as they do protein, meaning they’re not suitable for keto.

And even if you’re not keto, sugar is simply unnecessary in beef jerky. It’s a cheap filler ingredient that’s bad for your metabolic health and turns an otherwise healthy powerhouse food into a source of empty calories[1].

Keep reading to learn the 5 best sugar-free, zero-carb keto jerky brands of 2021, including nutrition facts, reviews, and other details, plus which jerky brands to avoid if you want to remain in ketosis.

Is Beef Jerky Keto?

High-quality beef jerky is keto-friendly, but only if it’s sugar-free and extremely low in carbohydrates.

People who follow the ketogenic diet typically must eat 20 grams of net carbs or less each day to remain in a state of ketosis[2]. 

Many beef jerky brands contain 20 grams or more of sugar in each bag, making them unsuitable for a low-carb diet.

On the other hand, beef jerky can be an excellent source of protein, and scientific studies show that eating plenty of protein on a low-carb diet can lower hunger, combat cravings, and speed up your metabolism[3][4].

Sugar-free jerky makes an excellent keto snack, or you can combine it with low-carb, high-fat foods like nuts, nut butter, or cheese to make it a complete meal on the go.

The 5 Best Keto Jerky Brands Reviewed

1. Steve’s Zero-Sugar Grass-fed Keto Beef Jerky

In 2007, our founder Steve Liberati found his true passion for health and wellness when he started mentoring local teens in strength training in Camden, New Jersey. 

He began bringing beef jerky, nuts, and other healthy foods for the young aspiring athletes to eat for lunch after their workouts, and that was the start of Steve’s.

Quick summary of Steve’s Zero-Sugar Jerky: Instead of adding more and more junk to our jerky like a lot of companies do, we decided to remove everything that wasn’t necessary, The result is a simple but delicious jerky, handcrafted with skill and perfect for keto or any healthy diet.

Nutrition Facts

Per 2 oz (57 g) serving: 

  • Calories: 140 kcal 
  • Total fat: 3 g 
  • Saturated fat: 1 g 
  • Total carbs: 0 g 
  • Sugars: 0 g 
  • Protein: 24 g 

What customers are saying:

  • “A portion of the proceeds go to support the health and development of disadvantaged youth, but in my opinion the experience of eating it is enjoyable enough that I’d consider it worth the price even if you don’t care about the social initiative.”
  • “Grass-fed, good smoky flavor, not too salty and NO F-ING SUGAR! Just what I was looking for.”
  • “Absolutely love this Keto Jerky!! Taste is amazing and it’s just as simple as it gets…….Beef & Sea Salt!! Simply perfect!! Please don’t stop making this!!!”
  • “This is my son’s favorite jerky. He says it has the best texture and taste. I like it because it uses high quality ingredients.”
  • “I always keep some of Steve’s jerky in my backpack for when I need something filling and healthy.”
  • ”Very tasty with great texture. I used to get jerky out of a jar at a local bar when I was a kid. Even though this is shaped differently. That is what this reminds me of. I always appreciate quality foods and ingredients.”

Unlike most brands, Steve’s Grass-fed Jerky starts with protein-rich whole muscle meat from grass-fed and grass-finished cows. That means you’ll always get rich, full pieces of meat with 24 grams of protein per serving and zero sugar.

2. People’s Choice Beef Jerky Old Fashioned Original

 

People’s Choice began in 1929 when John Bianchetti founded a neighborhood butcher shop in downtown Los Angeles. Today, it’s a family-run business that specializes in jerky and other beef-based snacks.

Quick summary: People’s Choice is legitimately old school in the best sense. In their own words, this “dry and tough jerky isn’t for everyone.”  We think that’s awesome, because the world has enough moist, artificially tenderized, sugary jerky already.

Nutrition Facts

Per 1 oz (28 g): 

  • Calories: 90 kcal 
  • Total fat: 2.5 g 
  • Saturated fat: 1 g 
  • Total carbs: 0 g 
  • Sugars: 0 g 
  • Protein: 16 g

What customers are saying about People’s Choice Old Fashioned Original:

  • “People’s Choice beef jerky is exactly what I was looking for. Solid strips of dried, well-seasoned meat. The kind you need to to use your teeth to rip a piece off.”
  • “It is truly the old-fashioned type of jerky I remember from my childhood, it’s drier and chewier (so yummy!) and it’s full of natural beef flavor.”

What People’s Choice gets right:

  • It’s classic dry beef jerky.
  • Extremely simple ingredients.
  • High in protein.

What People’s Choice could do better:

  • We’d like to see a grass-fed jerky option available.

3. JustMeat Original Beef Jerky

 

JustMeat is a North Carolina-based snack producer whose entire line of premium meat products is sugar-free. 

Quick summary: With a high protein content, no fillers, and simple ingredients, we think JustMeat Original “gets it.” That said, for the price, we think this product should be made with grass-fed beef.

Nutrition Facts

Per 1 oz (28 g) serving: 

  • Calories: 90 kcal 
  • Total fat: 2 g 
  • Total carbs: 0 g 
  • Added sugars: 0 g 
  • Protein: 18 g

What customers are saying about JustMeat Original Beef Jerky:

  • “It’s not the cheapest, but that’s not why you’re here. Definitely worth a try if you’re into top-quality, premium jerky.”
  • “It is on the pricey side to be sure. However, I’d say that the quality and nutrition benefit is, in my humble opinion, worth it.”

What JustMeat gets right:

  • No-nonsense ingredients and zero sugar.
  • Their mission is to call out the jerky industry for using sugar as a filler ingredient — we agree!

What JustMeat could do better:

  • We’re a little bit disappointed that JustMeat’s Original jerky isn’t grass-fed, especially considering it’s the most expensive jerky featured in this guide.

4. Stryve Grass-Fed Original Beef Biltong

 

Stryve is a Texas-based company that makes biltong, a traditional South African meat snack that’s somewhat similar to jerky.

Quick summary of Stryve Biltong: Unlike jerky, biltong is cut thick, air-dried, and cured. Advocates say the air drying process preserves flavor and tenderness, but not all jerky lovers are fans. 

Nutrition Facts

Per 1 oz (28 g) serving: 

  • Calories: 90 kcal 
  • Total fat: 2 g 
  • Total carb: 0 g 
  • Total sugar: 0 g 
  • Protein: 16 g

What customers are saying about Stryve Biltong:

  • “Biltong and traditional beef jerky are more different than you may assume. Beef jerky is more tender due to the higher amount of fat (and in most commercial brands, carbs) with added flavorings and sodium. This biltong, however, has a much rougher texture that is quite chewy. The flavor is that of thick flank steak- flavorful, but not overly fatty or tender like a New York strip.”
  • “I’m a diabetic, and since biltong is almost pure protein, I can snack on it without having to worry about the carb content.”

What Stryve gets right:

  • Zero sugar.
  • Simple ingredients.
  • Grass-fed.

What Stryve could do better:

  • Some customers find the curing process results in excessive amounts of salt and vinegar.
  • Stryve sells a similar biltong product that contains brown sugar and isn’t keto-friendly, so be sure you read the ingredients list and nutrition facts carefully.

5. Tillamook Country Smoker Zero Sugar Beef Jerky (Original Flavor)

 

Tillamook Country Smoker is a jerky brand that dates back to 1975 when an Oregon father and son created a backyard jerky business. They were recently acquired by a private equity group, but so far seem to be staying true to their simple roots.

Quick summary: Tillamook’s hardwood-smoked jerky is convenient, sugar-free, and reasonably priced. We wish it was grass-fed, but all in all, it’s a solid keto jerky choice anyway. 

Nutrition Facts

Per 1 oz (28 g) serving: 

  • Calories: 70 kcal 
  • Total fat: 1.5 g 
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g 
  • Total carbs: 0 g 
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 14 g

What customers are saying about Tillamook:

  • “I’ve been yearning for a sugar free jerky option so I can still have my favorite snack and stay on track for my weight reduction plan. This has the taste and texture I like plus a hint of heat.”
  • “Excellent taste and consistency. Spicy, not too dry and the cuts are good quality. Reminds me a lot of the jerky my dad used to make at home when I was a kid. Easily stacks up against my favorite sugar based brands.”

What Tillamook gets right:

  • Simple and well-chosen spice blend.
  • Made and packaged in the USA.

What Tillamook could do better:

  • Some reviewers describe the texture as “greasy yet dry.”
  • Even though the flavor is “original” or plain, the “hint of spice” is too much for some jerky lovers.
  • The beef isn’t grass-fed.

Beef Jerky Brands to Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet

Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky

This company talks about family tradition and time-honored recipes, but their ingredients list tells a very different story. 

With 6 grams of added sugar and 11 grams of protein per one-ounce serving, it’s definitely not keto-friendly — not to mention the synthetic flavoring, wheat, corn, and maltodextrin.

Slim Jim Original Smoked Snack Sticks

Containing 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of met carbs, and 14 grams of fat per serving, Slim Jims may look like they would be a keto-friendly snack.

But the reality is that they contain low-quality processed meats, artificial colors and flavors, soy, corn, wheat, and preservatives. If you’re looking for a healthy low-carb beef stick, pass on Slim Jims and consider Grass-Fed Keto Stix instead.

Cattleman’s Cut Original Beef Jerky

With added sugar, 8 grams of carbs, and only 10 grams of protein per serving, Cattleman’s Cut has some nerve claiming to be “high protein.” 

And as if the amount of filler wasn’t bad enough, it’s also got synthetic flavoring ingredients and preservatives.

Can Beef Jerky Kick You Out of Ketosis? 

The only way beef jerky can kick you out of ketosis is if it contains added sugars or other carbohydrates. 

Authentic beef jerky without sugar or filler ingredients usually has less than 2 grams of net carbs per serving, which can easily fit into the 20 gram daily net carb allowance of the ketogenic diet[2].

And for most people, eating plenty of protein from jerky on the keto diet is no problem, either. While some people claim that eating too much protein can kick you out of nutritional ketosis due to gluconeogenesis, it turns out this is a myth[2][5].

However, if you’re using the keto diet for therapeutic purposes — such as treating epilepsy or as an adjunctive therapy for cancer — there’s usually a strict limit on protein intake[6]. 

In most cases, people who go keto for medical reasons eat a 4-to-1 ratio (by grams) of fat to combined protein and carbs[6]. The purpose of such limits isn’t because protein can kick you out of ketosis, but rather to maximize ketone levels for therapeutic purposes.

Beef jerky can still play a role as a healthy snack on a therapeutic keto diet, but you would need to watch your macronutrients more closely to ensure you eat enough fat to maintain the correct ratios.

Conclusion

Usually, the best beef jerky is also the simplest beef jerky. 

But when it comes to modern jerky, many manufacturers use sugar, fillers, and unhealthy artificial ingredients to save money and mask a low-quality product. 

And that’s why most beef jerky isn’t keto-friendly.

On the other hand, the highest-quality keto beef jerky has zero sugar, few to no carbs, simple recipes based on natural ingredients, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Sometimes less is more. Zero sugar means our Keto Jerky has a whopping 24 grams of protein per serving, and our special handcrafted process allows the satisfying flavor and texture of grass-fed beef to come through authentically. 

And if you love low-carb, high-protein jerky treats as much as we do, don’t miss our delicious Buffalo Chicken Jerky, Old School Original PaleoStix, or Free-Range Turkey Jerky.



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