MC Tasted: Bubba Shobert's Lone Star Jerky

Back in the 1980s, when he ruled AMA Grand National dirt-track racing with 34 wins and three-straight titles followed by the '88 AMA Superbike Championship, Bubba Shobert could do pretty much anything. And unbeknownst to everybody but the professional dirt-track paddock, back home in Lubbock those Shoberts were making the best jerky love or money could buy. Be grateful Bubba told somebody to tell us or you wouldn't know either.

As it turns out, the Shobert family has been in the meat business for three generations. Bubba smoked jerky to hand out at the track and sold it in the off-season to pay travel expenses. These days he runs the show at Lone Star's Lubbock headquarters, and you'd best believe Bubba knows jerky. Most of the big brands turn meat into jerky in a matter of hours, drying it in huge, low-temperature ovens and spraying the result with liquid-smoke. "We really smoke ours," Bubba says, "and it stays in the smoker for 7-8 hours. It's a four-day process to make one batch of jerky." After that, it's vacuum-packed to stay fresh longer than mummified mystery meat hanging around at the local grocery store. If that's all you've tasted, you've never tasted jerky.

Bubba's Lone Star brand offers the original-recipe beef jerky along with a hot version ($23.50 per pound), cowboy cut ($27) and turkey jerky ($24). We've tried the original-recipe beef, the hot stuff and the cowboy cut, and it's moist, supremely tasty and supremely habit-forming. Most _MC _tasters preferred the hot beef jerky: hot, but not too hot, thanks to a persuasive blend of red, white and cayenne pepper. Those who like their jerky flat aren't shy about riffling through somebody else's desk for the last piece of cowboy cut, so be careful where you hide it. Bubba's jerky isn't cheap and it's not for everyone. Those who actually like what passes for jerky in most grocery stores wouldn't appreciate the difference, much less pay for it. But any fan of fine jerked meat will love this stuff. And if you're a Bubba Shobert fan too, it tastes even better.

Bubba Shobert's Lone Star Beef Jerky
Price: $23.50-$27 per lb.
Contact: Bubba Shobert's Lone Star Beef Jerky

Verdict 5 out of 5 stars
The only known antidote to grocery-store jerky.