Who doesn’t love an easy, protein-packed beef jerky snack while on the go? But did you know the food’s history goes back to the Inca Empire circa 1550?
It’s no surprise that beef jerky has maintained popularity throughout the centuries. From the range of flavors, nutritional value, and simplicity — beef jerky stands the test of time.
Despite its tastiness and popularity, one question continues to come up — what is beef jerky anyway?
So, Exactly What Is Beef Jerky?
The tasty treat of beef jerky has a complex process for a snack that seems so simple and is always delicious.
But to put it simply, beef jerky is trimmed, lean beef that has been cut into pieces and then dried to preserve it. Adding salt during the dehydrating process helps prevent the growth of bacteria.
It may also be helpful to know that the word “jerky” comes from the Quechua word “ch’arki,” which translates to “dried, salted meat.”
Most Common Questions About Beef Jerky
There are plenty of common questions about beef jerky. We’re here to set the record straight so you can feel good knowing what’s in your food!
Is Beef Jerky Cooked?
Yes! Beef jerky is a fully cooked product that takes it a step further in its dehydration process. Fully dehydrating the meat allows beef jerky to last for much longer than regularly cooked meat.
The process begins by removing fat and other impurities from the meat. Then it is cut into slices before going into the freezer. Afterward, we add a variety of spices to reach the flavor of choice. The next step is to coat the meat in honey or dark corn syrup and place it in the oven to fully dry.
Is Beef Jerky Raw?
While we don’t cook beef jerky on a grill like a steak, it is still fully cooked. The dehydration process removes moisture to give it the dry texture we all know and love.
Plus, because of the dehydration process, you can make each batch last for months by keeping it in the freezer.
What Is Beef Jerky Made Of?
There are several different types of jerky, but beef jerky is specifically beef. The range of flavors depends on the additional spices and ingredients added before dehydration begins. Common seasonings include soy sauce, apple cider, beer, garlic powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, and even honey or dark corn syrup.
However, you can also make jerky from other meats such as turkey, deer, and so on
What Part of the Cow Is Beef Jerky?
There is no specific “best” cut of meat to make beef jerky. However, the chosen cut does matter.
For starters, leaner meats are always better. Considering that part of the process requires cutting the fat off the meat, this makes preparation easier, too.
The two favorite cuts of meat for beef jerky are top round and bottom round. Moreover, sirloin tip and flank steak are very lean. However, they are typically the most expensive.
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Featured image via Pixabay