What is Beef Jerky? A Beef Jerky virgin’s guide

Even if you’re an avid meat eater, there’s a possibility that you’re yet to try Beef Jerky. Perhaps you’ve noticed it in the stores, but never really knew exactly what it was, so decided not to try, or perhaps you’ve simply never got around to it (we have busy lives you know).

At JEEERKS, we love sharing the Beef Jerky love and if you haven’t tried it yet, we want you to! So, we’ve designed a little guide for the ‘Beef Jerky Virgin’ to help you get started.

 

What is Beef Jerky?

Let’s start with the basics. 

Jerky is a lean meat (most commonly beef) which has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent any nasty spoilage. In most cases, this drying process includes the addition of salt, to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed.

According to Wikipedia, the word "jerky" is derived from the Quechua word ch'arki which means "dried, salted meat."

Contrary to popular belief, beef jerky is a healthy snack with an excellent source of protein, low in fat and calories, and has minimal carbohydrates per serving.

 

What is the history of Beef Jerky?

Jerky is nothing new.  In fact, it’s an age-old method of preserving meat, fish, and poultry and the Native Americans have long used this drying process to preserve meats and fish for winter or traveling, dating back as early as 1550. The meat was often reconstituted to create ​a hearty snack, and this concept still works.

Now, we consider jerky as a convenience food, perfect for hikers, campers, or just an easy, non-messy protein filled snack. Beef Jerky is also part of the rapidly growing meat snack market due to the healthy aspects of beef jerky such as its high protein content and low-fat level.

Beef Jerky isn’t just in Australia either. In fact, it’s a global culinary phenomenon, with dried meat and jerky in South Africa (Biltong), China (Bakkwa), Mexico (Carne Seca) and Indonesia (Dendeng).

 

How is Beef Jerky made?

Beef Jerky is usually marinated in a seasoned spice rub or liquid, and dried, dehydrated or smoked with low heat (under 70 °C/160 °F). Some manufacturers finely grind meat, mix in seasonings, and press the meat-paste into flat shapes prior to drying.

The resulting jerky is a salty and/or savoury snack that is ready-to-eat with no additional preparation required.

One of the best things about Beef Jerky, is that it can be stored for months without refrigeration. How?  Well, when the protein to moisture content ratio is correct, the resulting meat is cured, or preserved – making it the perfect on the go snack.

 

Now that you know a little more about Beef Jerky, are you ready to pop your Beef Jerky cherry?

Let JEEERKS be your first, order some to try it for yourself today!