Kitchn Love Letters

The $2 Stick That Completely Changed How I Feel About Jerky

published Jul 6, 2023
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close up shot of different types of beef jerky mix
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Vicky Wasik

Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or taking to the skies, we have ideas for making your vacation as stress-free as possible. This content is presented in partnership with Hampton by Hilton; it was created independently by our editorial team.

For a long time, I associated beef jerky and meat sticks with flame-emblazoned wrappers and mustachioed pro wrestlers from ’90s commercials. The highly portable snack didn’t appeal to me until three years ago, when I spotted the colorful packaging of Chomps Original Turkey Sticks in my local Trader Joe’s and decided to see what the hype was all about after years of avoidance. Since then, Chomps Turkey Sticks have become a staple for me — especially on .   

A good road trip snack is one that quickly and can be eaten on the go. Individually wrapped jerky checks each of those boxes, and I always make sure to stock up on Chomps Original Turkey Sticks before I hit the road. (While gas stations are quickly expanding their offerings, you shouldn’t count on always finding Chomps during your pit stop.) 

Whether you’re a jerky stan or need a starter beef stick to understand the hype, let’s dig into why you should add this savory snack to your road trip packing list. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

What’s So Great About Chomps Original Turkey Sticks?

When I recently began to focus on including products with higher protein in my snack stash, I knew I needed to expand my options — a person can only eat so many cheese sticks in a day. With Chomps free-range turkey sticks packing 10 grams of protein, and 9 grams in the beef varieties, I figured they were a good place to start. 

I was initially attracted to Chomps’ colorful packaging as I strolled TJ’s aisles, but I was fully convinced to try the jerky when I read the relatively short ingredient list that was free of added sugar. Before I tried Chomps, I always imagined jerky sticks would taste too salty and spicy, and be too tough for snacking. To my surprise, it was love at first bite. The taste reminded me of the perfect piece of pepperoni on a pizza. Every Chomps Stick I’ve eaten since that first foray into jerky has been tender (never dry), well-seasoned, and slightly smoky. 

Like most jerky, Chomps sticks are individually shrink-wrapped to keep them fresh. Because they’re shelf-stable, I can keep them in my car, purse, and pool bag for easy snacking no matter where or when hunger strikes. The Chomps Original Turkey Sticks are my favorite flavor, but for long drives I’ll add in some variety with the plain beef and jalapeño beef flavors as well. 

Find it online: Chomps Original Turkey Sticks, $24 for 10