Cheese and meat are an undeniable combo. Every meaty grilled cheese sandwich you ever ate can bear testimony to that. Something about the creamy tartness of the cheese just works well with the umami flavors of most meats, and jerky is no different.
From charcuterie boards for formal gatherings to just enjoying your gas station jerky with string cheese, you can pair cheese and jerky together whenever you want.
While you can’t go wrong with cheese and jerky, some combinations work better than others. Here are six delicious jerky and cheese pairing ideas to satisfy your tastebud.
Traditional Beef Jerky With Monterey Jack
You can’t go more American than this combination. Traditional beef jerky and Monterey Jack were meant to be enjoyed together.
With good-quality traditional beef jerky, you get the authentic flavor of old-fashioned American jerky. No MSG or artificial flavorings; you get the actual taste of the meat.
Traditional jerky is often sodium heavy and requires a sweeter cheese to tame the salt. This is where Monterey Jack comes in. With its mild buttery taste, Monterey Jack pairs well with beef jerky.
The semi-hard texture compliments the toughness of regular jerky, giving your jaws a rest with its comforting bite.
Who knew two truly American flavors could come together harmoniously and create a gourmet experience worth having?
Spicy Beef Jerky with Gouda
The level up from traditional beef jerky is the spicy beef jerky. You will love this jerky if you don’t mind a bit of adventure in your mouth.
These days you will find many types of spicy jerky out there. Some beef jerkies are flavored using hotter peppers like Carolina Reaper or flavorful ones like Chipotle.
It doesn’t matter which type of pepper was used to spice up your jerky because gouda can further crank up its flavor.
Since spicy beef jerky already has an intense flavor, you don’t want to pair it with an overwhelming cheese. You need something mild and caramel-like.
Gouda’s is soft, buttery, and sweet. It won’t amplify the jerky but will tone down the heat. Spicy beef jerky and gouda complement each other well. Melt gouda down on your jerky or eat it as is. This combination is bound to blow you away!
Duck Jerky with Edam
Duck meat has a deep flavor that stands out in any dish. People who love duck jerky eat it for the gamey aroma that makes it taste more similar to red meat than other poultry like chicken or turkey.
Since duck meat is already tough and chewy, it isn’t surprising that it is an ideal candidate for jerky. With such flavorful meat, you don’t want to eat a cheese that overwhelms its flavor. This is why Edam is the right cheese to pair with duck jerky.
Although Edam is not considered a gourmet cheese, it is not your regular cheddar or mozzarella.
This dutch cheese has a mild flavor when it’s young. It has a mild yet nutty flavor that complements the gamey flavor of duck jerky. Edam is salty and creamy and has a springy bite.
Bison Jerky with Blu di Bufala
Jerky lovers are pleasantly surprised when they first taste bison jerky. They think that it would have a gamey flavor and a strong aftertaste. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Although it has a similar flavor, bison meat has a much cleaner taste than beef. It tastes sweeter and has a coarser texture.
As jerky, they are healthy and milder than beef, which makes them the perfect companion for blue cheese.
Blu di bufala is an Italian blue-veined cheese made of water buffalo’s milk. It has a spicy tang and a medium gamey flavor. Its tart aftertaste makes it a heavenly match for sweet bison jerky.
What makes these two items complementary is their flavors supplement what the other lacks. Their distinctive flavors simply match well with each other.
Venison Jerky with Brie
Venison is gamey. It has a deep earthy flavor that tells you how mineral-rich it is. Venison meat makes tough and chewy jerky.
This is why this strong-flavored jerky is perfect for sweet Brie. If heaven had a buffet, Brie is one cheese you would expect to be served. Being one of the softer cheeses, it is creamy and has an almost runny texture inside that harder rind.
Since it becomes more earthy with age, you should enjoy a younger brie with your venison jerky. Bake your Brie and serve it on a board with venison jerky at your next party. The flavorful venison jerky dipped in buttery Brie would keep your guests coming back for more.
Teriyaki Pork Jerky with Gruyère
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich knows how good cheese tastes with pork. Pork meat drenched in the sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce is a treat.
Pork jerky is less chewy than beef. This is a sweeter jerky than most others; you would want a slightly salty cheese to pair with it. Gnawing on this jerky is bound to satisfy your taste buds.
Gruyère is the perfect candidate. This swiss cheese is crumbly yet creamy. It is mostly sweet with a hint of saltiness. Its nutty characteristics make it the perfect companion for pork meat. Eat them together and experience two different kinds of textures and flavors become one in a harmonious medley.
Did these six jerky and cheese pairings satisfy your tastebuds? Remember that the stronger the jerky, the milder the cheese, and vice versa.
We saw that two classic flavors like Monterey Jack and traditional jerky could become a powerful duo. Gamey jerkies like duck or venison must always be paired with a milder and sweeter cheese.
The great thing about cheese and jerky pairings are that you can never go wrong with them. But sometimes, two flavors will pair better than others!
Featured Photo by Ana Maltez on Unsplash