A 40-foot high billboard on I-74 called out: OVER 40 KINDS OF BEEF JERKY! NOT A GAS STATION! Lo and behold, on the shores of Lake Erie in the little town of Luna Pier, MI, Beef Jerky Unlimited offers up, indeed, more than 40 kinds of beef jerky. Patrons choose their own jerky from lidded plastic bins, selecting from thin planks of beef, beef sticks, or even pork, turkey, and exotic game versions. Flavors run the gamut from honey to mesquite to Spanish to cajun to terikayi to hickory and many, many more.
Sadly, the proprietors of Beef Jerky Unlimited aren’t camera-friendly, so I have no photos of the jerky bonanza (though the place is definitely RV-friendly–the parking lot is large enough to u-turn a land yacht). Of the six or eight varieties sampled, the Spanish and sweet/spicy were clear winners. Texturally, this jerky was chewier, drier, and less supple than the jerky found in south Louisiana. But where else are you going to find 40 different flavors? What a hallmark of American food culture: variety!